Travel recap and extra photos

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

As promised, I said I would recap our travel. It was quite an adventure getting from one place to the next. We left our hotel in Guang*zhou at 5pm on Friday. It took about an hour to get to the airport. We traveled with another family from our agency, Julie and Derek. So we had great company. When we arrived at the airport, it was mayhem. We couldn't believe the winding line to check in. Thankfully, our guide Helen was with us and convinced the folks at Ch*in@ Southern to open up a special check-in line. That resulted in every other adoptive family following us. LOL. The line to get through security was also unbelievable. By a miraculous act of God, a security officer just picked us out of the line and put us at the front of another. The line through customs wasn't as bad. But by the time we finally made it through and on our way to our gate, Jin Bei had an extremely full load in her diaper that Patrick was itching to dispose of.

By the time we got to the gate, we were extremely hot and sweaty. Patrick found some dinner for us that we wolfed down. Our flight ended up being delayed by an hour. That made us nervous because we only had 2.5 hours to get through customs and make our connection in LA.

We boarded the plane and found out our seats were 4 across instead of 2 in front/behind each other. Fortunately, the man sitting next to Patrick graciously gave up his seat so that Patrick and I could have aisle seats next to each other and not have to rely on exaggerated hand signals to communicate during the 13.5 hour flight. Jin Bei did awesome on the flight. We ate our dinner, she rubbed her eyes and proceeded to sleep for 8 hours. Thank goodness! And the squeaky shoes she was wearing helped me to know if she was about to fall out of her seat, which she "tried" to do several times. Caleb did well sleeping too. We had NO crying, which was a huge surprise and relief. It really was a great flight.

Once we got to LAX, we knew we would have to hussle to make our connection. Thankfully, since we flew premium economy, we were able to get off the plane first. We had to run to catch the bus that would take us to the terminal. Again, we got a great spot right near the doors. All the while, we were cheering my cyber friend Shelley, whose had less than an hour to make her connection. (Thankfully, she made it!) Anyway, we were one of the first through immigration and, thankfully, one of the first ones to get our luggage. With Caleb's adoption, we waited over an hour for our luggage. It was a nightmare. There was no way we could have a repeat. And, thankfully, we didn't. After leaving the Thomas Bradley international terminal, we had to get to Terminal 7 for our United flight home. This man who greeted us outside said to just keep walking....well, he didn't tell us that terminal 7 was on the complete OPPOSITE side of the airport. Well, we hussled all the way there. All the while, Caleb rode on the luggage cart (toting our carryons), and I carried Jin Bei in the carrier. Boy, she was loving the breeze in her hair. This girl is a thrill seeker, for sure!

When we finally managed to get to the United check-in, we were disappointed that the flight was full. We would've loved to upgrade to First class but that was not an option. We had less than an hour, at that point, to get through security and to our gate. So again, we had to hussle. We got to our gate in time to grab some water and candy and do one last diaper change for Jin Bei....and then I realized I packed all the extra diapers in my checked luggage. Yep, we had no more diapers for the flight home at that point. Lovely.

Well, we took our places at the back of the plane. Unfortunately, Patrick and Caleb were in the last row with seats that didn't recline. Jin Bei spilled water all over her dress. So she sat in her diaper for a while until Patrick could hurdle over the guy sleeping in the aisle seat in his row to get the change of clothes I packed for Jin Bei. Even then, I was afraid to put her bottoms on for fear of a leaky diaper. And that that point, she refused to use the potty on the plane because I mistakenly flushed the toliet with her in there after we left Guang*zhou. Thankfully, she was quite tired from all her travels, and she ended up napping for 3 hours on the 5 hour flight.

When we landed in Orlando, my sister, Deb, BIL Andy and niece, Leah, greeted us all. Leah was holding Caleb's precious stuffed lamb that Auntie Deb babysat for him while he was away. As soon as he caught sight of lamb, he made a made dash for her. It was so precious. We had some hugs and kisses, got our luggage and then had to head off because Patrick had to work.....yes, welcome home and get ready to work. Nice, eh?

Well, we knew when we put Jin Bei in her carseat that she would cry, and she did not disappoint. Fortunately, when she saw ge ge sitting in his booster seat, she stopped crying and realized it was okay. Once we got home, Caleb was anxious to show his sister her room. As soon as she saw her little toddler bed, she shook her head and backed away. I immediately scooped her up and showed her the rest of the house. She loved all the toys in the computer room/classroom, which is a good thing because she'll be spending lots of time in there. LOL.

I made everybody lay down for a little nap in the afternoon. Both kidlets were NOT interested in napping (Jin Bei cried especially hard), but there was no way I was going to let them go without because I knew by 4-5pm, they would be down for the count with no chance of waking up. We all slept for about 3 hours, and we all managed to wake up with no problem. We decided to try going to sleep around 10pm, which proved successful. Again, Jin Bei cried for a little while. But we were able to transition her from the big girl bed to her toddler bed with no problem. By 4am, though, both kidlets had had enough sleep. So we began our day. Jin Bei woke up with no tears. So it was great to start where we left off in Ch*in@ on that one!

Sunday went the same as Saturday with respect to sleeping and overall adjustment. Jin Bei is doing really well. She is getting used to the house rules (like only eating in the kitchen, and bubble blowing is only for outside, unlike Ch*in@). She still likes to show her attitude when we've had to correct her about something or she doesn't get her way. But even that is getting better! And she is even using manners by signing and/or saying them! It's pretty cute to watch her sign. I taught her how to blow a kiss when we were in Ch*in@. So when she signs "thank you," it's almost like a kiss; it's pretty cute. The other night, we attempted a bath. And at first, she cried pretty hard. But then she saw ge ge in the tub with all the toys, and the laughter began. It was a huge step for her! And we are so thankful for it.

Caleb has been wonderful playing with Jin Bei and overall just being a great ge ge. But he is having a really hard time adjusting to her being here. He cried pretty hard yesterday. But that being said, he is soooo good with her. He's so helpful and makes her laugh all the time. So despite the fact that he doesn't want a sister right now, his behavior doesn't reflect it at all.

Well, here are the photos I said I would share that were taken with our iphones. I know you will enjoy them. Thanks again, for following our journey. I will be sure to keep up the blogging now that we are home. But I can't make any promises as to how often that will be now that I have two little munchkins under my feet. LOL.

Waiting at the Wuhan train station, as we dropped off the Drewes

Eating noodle soup at the airport in Wuhan

Pringles, what kept Jin Bei quiet on the tarmac, as we waited 2.5 hours to take off from Wuhan

Big scorpions

Little scorpions and beetles

I tried the itty bitty scorpion

Yes, Patrick really did eat this gigantic scorpion

Getting ready to eat a yummy beetle


Dining on pigeon in Guang*zhou

Finalizing Jin Bei's citizenship papers in LA


Patty 8/03/2010  

Yay! So glad to hear you are all adjusting well! Caleb sounds like a wonderful big brother! And I have to chuckle at all the scorpion photos---one of the memories our daughter that we brought home last year (the teenager) will tell me about is when she was little she would catch scorpions with chopsticks and take them to a market to sell! She said she wondered what they'd do with the scorpions....I'll have to show her the photos! ha!

Deb 8/03/2010  

Thanks for your latest update. Love you tons... and those scorpions! Ack!

Fliss and Mike Adventures 8/03/2010  

Ahhh the Immigration lounge... I remember that well... did you have that crabby guy? I just think he was really tired :) Welcome home and cannot wait to meet you Miss Jin Bei... will have to set up a little playdate for sure... I am sure Shauna will have a blast playing :)

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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