Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home at Last...

We are home. Finally. We are so tired.

The flight from Guangzhou to San Francisco was basically a "puddle jumper." The flight attendents barely had time to get drinks out and then we were landing. No, problem, we thought. But then we only had a couple of hours and the gate attendent from Dragon Air in Guangzhou said we would have to check in once we got to Hong Kong even though our bags were checked to San Francisco.

Joseph and I gathered our gear and headed for the transfer desk. Basically, they had to check us in for the remaining two legs to Boston. And then they had to find our bags so they could check out bags to Boston, too. We would be picking them up at San Francisco to take them through customs but then putting them right back on the belt for the next flight home. We had to catch our flight and there was a long line behind us, so they said they would find the bags, and deliver the new baggage claim checks to us on the plain. Uh... Ok. Door to door, hand to hand service? Uh... Hmmm... I was dubious but true to their word, right before the door shut, the guy comes walking up the aisle with all the claim checks. Definitely NOT Logan Airport!

In Hong Kong, we had to go through Security again. It was a LONG line and there were a few hair raising moments.

The flight to San Francisco was not bad for us. JJ just played and then he finally managed to get some sleep. Welcome to jet lag, kid! You will never know what hit you tomorrow. Of course, with my luck, you will not feel a thing and be raring to go tomorrrow! It could have been worse. We didn't have to worry about a feeding schedule since JJ could feed himself, no wetting of the diaper, diaper changes, crying and screaming at take off - like the infants and toddlers in the group. Compared to the other families, our trip was a dream. So easy. And JJ made it so easy for us. What a happy go lucky kid!

We landed in San Francisco and collected our bags and went through customs. At that moment, the officers opened up the sealed packages, stamped an A-number on JJ's passport, and now he was free to travel in an out of the country as a green card alien. But I think it should also let us get him an American passport immediately since he is now considered an instant citizen. We have to apply for a birth certificate locally, and then apply for the passport. I think. Must talk to the Agency about that one. The Consulate had said that the social security card would be sent to us in about 2 months. Good. Get him used to the idea of being a fully taxable citizen! LOL!

JJ wore his Tom Brady jersey from Aunt Judy, Uncle Paul, Cousins Caroline and Luke. Everyone was giving him the high-five and shaking his hand. He was loving all the attention.

The flight from San Francisco to Boston was interesting. This is where we encountered the Nazi Stewardess. Man.... she was a miserable old bitty. It started because there were three of us seated in the back - myself, Joseph and another guy we didn't know flying on businss - who had our Blackberries and she had to yell at us to turn them off. Whatever. You would think she'd forgive and forget. Uh... Noooo... She was a bitty the whole time - yelling at everyone. "No Soup for You." "No Bathroom for you." In fact, at one point, she locked the bathroom and wouldn't let anyone go in. Now, we are all adults. If you have to get up to go to the bathroom, you weigh the risks and you do what you need to. Instead, she insisted on treating us like 2 year olds. And then later, people just ignored her. The other stewardess was nice but you could tell that she was on pins and needles the whole flight because of the old-bitty-ness of the old-bitty. PFFFT!

Regardless, we made it in once piece. There was a fair bit of turbulence from Iowa to Boston - we were flying right below the jet stream. It actually felt like the top of the plane was scraping the bottom of the jet stream instead! It was that rough. And of course, that made the old bitty happier so she could yell at everyone to take cover. Whatever.

We had a lot of carry on luggage so we waited almost until the end to dis-embark. And we made our, finally, comfortable walk to baggage claim. GOOD LORD!!! The people that were there. First, there was Ye Ye... JJ's face lit up when he saw his grandfather. They had been singing songs to each other via Skype every night. Yah. Pretty funny. :o\ And there was instant recognition. And of course, there was Aunt Judy who came in from Plymouth! It was o nice to see her enthusiastic face. And Aunt Amanda and Aunt Jenn. Amanda had stayed at our place to two weeks to take care of the house and the dog and the two cats... and a whole lot of other things, I discovered when I got home. Then up walked Yongmei and Richard and Niles. Niles is JJ's first friend. The first one friend to actually talk to JJ when he was in China and had sent along gifts with us when we left the USA. And Nicole and Jason. Oh my! And Jenn and Andy! They are tall. Like REALLY TALL. JJ just looked up the whole height of both of them, his mouth agape... the first time I've seen him with his mouth open and nothing coming out of it for the last two weeks! LOL! I think Jenn and Andy were the tallest people JJ has probably ever seen! And then Brian and Kara - good grief, they were a huge surprise!! Everyone brought JJ a gift, and hugs, and smiles, and a huge sense of love and family. He was in his element and so excited about it all.

And a shout out to our Agency and the director, Lillian. She was there. She appeared by our sides with smiles and hugs, encouraging words of support, and of course, observation. Her husband was also there. We love her dearly and all the work that she and her team at China Adoption with Love does on behalf of the families and the children. And as quietly as she came, she left. It was so special to see her.

We went home in two cars with all our stuff. And JJ finally met the 70 lb dog and the 20 kitty.

More surprises were there for us. Amanda had cleaned the house. Ummm. Actually, she had cleaned the kitchen. And my refrigerator. I have never seen it so, ummm... empty. And so clean! LOL! And it was refilled. With food! Not just spices and leftovers!

Judy had brought muffins and fruit and plates and food!! Oh. And there was beer in the fridge downstairs. So happy!

The biggest surprise was JJ's room. Ok. Call me a bad mommy but uh... I had done nothing about his room. I figured we would come home and buy stuff. Of course I didn't think about WHEN I would be able to do that. But I thought, it has a bed and a dresser. Good enough. But Judy had different ideas. The whole room was decorated. With rugs and matching spreads, and toys and all manner of things. GOOD GRIEF! Judy puts into action what I am thinking without me having to say it out loud. One less thing to worry about and I am soooo grateful. If JJ knew better, he'd be so relieved too because he'd probably have to live with paper shades for another month or two. Ok. Maybe another year. Until Daddy got tired of them.

Then we slept. And we woke up and a new day dawned.

JJ is running around and he is already a fabric of this family. It's like he has always been here, a part of us and a part of our life. Maybe it wasn't he that was waiting for a family, but it was us waiting for him. My father once told me "you are never fully human until you raise a child." I can't speak for anyone else but I can fully feel myself becoming more fully a person watching JJ, knowing that in my hands I hold the ability to shape him or ruin him, motivate him or deflate him... And it is an awe inspiring feeling - something I've never really felt before.

And with that JJ has given me a gift. The gift of completeness and comfort. The gift of a new experience and life. The gift of becoming competely human.


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