Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Between jet lag and the virus the Littles shared with me I don't have much energy, but I wanted to post that we made it home safely and are settling into our new normal.
The journey was looooong but uneventful. After picking up Sprout's visa on Thursday afternoon we said our goodbyes to Guangzhou and headed to the the train station. We took the early evening train to Hong Kong which was actually quite nice. We were seated with several other adoptive families so the two hours passed quickly. The next morning we woke up bright and early and headed to the airport. Anxiety started to quick in as we made it to our terminal. Sprout is a happy little girl and pretty easy to please, but she is in a constant state of motion. Even when she is sleeping her body is moving non-stop. So the thought of trying to keep her calm and happy on a 14 hour flight started to make my heart race. I was relieved to see three other adoptive families were on our flight. It helps just a little bit to know that there would be others that would understand what we were going through. Stu, Sprout and I had the three seats in the middle and Chipmunk had the entire three seats in the aisle across from us. Lucky boy! As we were waiting to push from the gate I was feeling pretty confident that it would be okay. We were in the back with lots of empty seats around us and Sprout was tired so surely she would sleep for some of the flight. Within minutes she started throwing her Cheerios and when I told her no, she started whining. Immediately the old guy in seated in front of us stands up and very loudly says, "Oh God! It's starting already. I can't believe I have to sit through this for the entire plane ride...." He ranted for a full minute but I was in shock to hear much of what he said. Stu and I sat there with our mouths wide open. I mean I know it's not idea for anybody to have a toddler on a 14-hour flight, but it's not like we had any choice. I don't even remember what I said to him. I think it was something like "I'm sorry but we have to get her home and this is the only option." What I really wanted to tell him wouldn't be appropriate for Chipmunk's ears. I could feel my blood boiling as the guy stalked away. Thankfully, the guy sitting behind us jumped up and was incredulous about what the old man said. The girl sitting across from us also said not to worry about it. This was going to be a long flight.
Chipmunk quickly zoned out, watching movies on tv in his seat. He could choose from about 50 movies and he took full advantage of that. He watched movies nonstop for 12 hours; didn't even sleep until the last hour of the flight.
Sprout wasn't so easy. She actually did remarkably well but would not sleep. At all. We could tell she was getting tired about four hours in but she fought it with every ounce of her body. We tried to lay her down in the middle seat and she would have none of that. We walked the aisles a lot. She had an embarrassing amount of suckers. The flight attendants fell in love with her and brought her crackers and bread. A young Chinese woman came and picked her up out of my arms and took her to her seat several rows back (while I'm used to the fact that random people off the street would pick up my child, I was a little freaked out to watch this woman and her husband play with my child like she was theirs - I made Stu go rescue her after a few minutes). We let her destroy most of the magazines in her seat. My favorite game was to let her "accidentally" kick old man's seat in front of us (yes, I am that evil). She finally slept for the last three hours of the flight.
The minutes ticked by slowly but looking back on it she did really good. Only cried maybe 20 minutes total of the flight. And many of the people around us actually complimented her on their way out.
By the time we landed in Detroit, we were all exhausted and wanted to be home. By the time we passed through customs and immigration we only had a couple of hours to wait for our final flight. Stu and Chipmunk made lots of laps with Sprout in her stroller while I caught a little catnap.
The next flight was only about 50 minutes and was a piece of cake. I wanted to cry tears of joy when we arrived and were greeted by so many of our friends and family. Monkey, HD and Pudding ran and almost tackled me to the ground. It was such a relief to finally have all five of my children in my arms! Sprout immediately showed off her goofball personality and was soon laughing and running with all of the kiddos. I'm sure we looked like a three-ring circus but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
The car ride home wasn't fun as Sprout was not a fan of the carseat and screamed for most of the 45 minutes home - to which HD proclaimed, "She is NOT my sister." Ha!
Everyone seems to be settling into our new roles. Sprout and HD managed to overcome jetlag within a day. It is taking Stu and me a bit longer. Monkey is in love with his new sister; HD is indifferent; Pudding seems to be having the most trouble, which I expected. He is my shadow and is always in my lap, holding my hand, etc. He is trying to share me with Sprout but it's hard. Sprout is doing great. She thinks her new siblings are hilarious and is slowly warming up to her dad. I thought she would be rather clingy to me for the first few days but she is pretty independent and has explored most of the house. We are still working on some sleep issues and right now she is sleeping in bed with me. It is also going to take her awhile to get used to the way the kiddos "share" their food (as in, the second your head is turned, they grab whatever is available off your plate). Honestly though, this has been the easiest transition so far. I'm sure we will have many more bumps to cross but so far, so good. As I was snuggling with all of my children on the couch tonight, I just kept thinking that I might just be the luckiest mom in the world.

One last snack

My little packing helper

Saying goodbye to our guide/friend, Aron

Ready to jump on the plane

A very tired mommy and Sprout

Happy to be home!


JennStar said...

Yea!! So glad you made it home safely! And I remember that anxioty over our flights home, especially because we used points to upgrade our long flight to 1st class (while I was petrified we'd cause a horrible flight for a unch of people who paid out the nose for their tickets!). Sunshine did well, so it wasn't an issue, but there will always be a few in the bunch that are just sour and don't have much grace for this kind of thing. I'd let her kick the seat, too! ;oP

Becky said...

Welcome home baby girl!

Shannon said...

So glad you guys made it. Oh, that flight home.....I still have a little PTSD about Esen's trip! BUT, you're all home, safe and sound and it seems everyone is settling in nicely. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see your whole family all together - the kids are all gorgeous and look so happy!

Lisa said...

Sprout is just beautiful!!! Looks like she hasn't missed a beat and she's been in your family forever!! Wishing your family all the love in the world:) P.S. Just discovered your blog!

God bless,
Lisa Murphy

Hilary Marquis said...

Welcome home, sweet girl :)

Margaret and Tom said...

What a wonderful family!
I am so happy for you!