Saturday, June 11, 2011

We're home

Other appropriate subtitles for this post are:  "Oh, the Horror."  Or "The Trip That Nearly Killed Me."  Or perhaps the most positive one I can offer, "Thank You, Jesus."

We got to the Guangzhou airport in plenty of time and checked in at the counter, only to learn that the agent had no record of our tickets.  He could not find us anywhere in the system.  We stood there nearly an hour, in sheer panic, and then opened our suitcases to search frantically for the boarding passes for our first Chicago to Beijing flight.  It's a wonder we saved them, and an even bigger wonder that I found them where I did.  So the agent found our tickets and we literally ran to our gate to board the plane. 

The flight to Beijing was pleasant and uneventful.  We had a short layover there, and left for Chicago on time.  Jiushu did very well on our long flight to Chicago.  No complaints!  We did not get a bassinet, but he slept across our laps, albeit fitfully, so Vince and I got almost no sleep on the flight home.  I did get to watch two entire movies, though!

We got to Chicago around 4:30 p.m. and went through immigration.  Jiushu became a U.S. citizen there and then!  Our flight to Des Moines* was to leave at 8:40 p.m., but kept getting delayed.  We finally boarded the plane at 11: 15 p.m.  I fell asleep draped across my seat tray and woke to hear Vince telling me we had flown half way to Des Moines, but the plane was turning around and flying back to Chicago due to weather.  We got back to Chicago after midnight and stood in line, tears running down my face, to speak to the ticketing agents.  There was no flight going to Des Moines until Friday evening, so Vince booked us on a flight to Kansas City leaving at 9:30 Friday morning.  We had no choice but to spend the night at O'Hare airport.  We tried in vain to find a quiet place to sleep.  You haven't lived until you've lain on the floor at an airport with a newly adopted 13 month old, trying desperately to sleep even an hour.  No luck.  Between Jiushu's screaming, the terminal's being freezing cold, the seats having armrests so we couldn't stretch out, the intermittent announcements, glaring lights, and CNN that couldn't be turned down, Vince and I got no sleep for the second night in a row.  Jiushu finally succumbed to sleep around 2 a.m. and woke up at 5 screaming bloody murder.  

*If you're wondering why I said Des Moines instead of Kansas City, it's because our original flight to Chicago (at the beginning of our trip) got canceled.  In order not to miss our orientation and sight seeing in Beijing, we drove three hours, at 2:00 a.m., to catch a flight to Chicago, something we would not have done if we had it to do again.  We left our car in long-term parking, so had to have our return flight re-routed to pass through Des Moines.  When our flight back to Des Moines got canceled, we accepted a flight to Kansas City, knowing we'd have to drive up to Des Moines at some point to retrieve our car. 

I don't think I'd ever in my life felt so desolate and drained.  And I'm being very transparent when I say there was not much affection for Jiushu at that point.  There was nothing in me to draw upon but the commitment we had made.  Nothing but a clenched jaw and sheer determination to survive this unpleasant situation, to somehow make it home, to start fresh from there. 

We threw around the idea of renting a car, and made a few phone calls, though we questioned the wisdom of driving in our sleepless condition.  By 6 a.m. we decided it was our best option, reserved a car with Hertz, and left Chicago by 7:00.  After we'd driven a while, I called the airline to cancel our return flight and to set up a refund.  The agent told me that our 9:30 a.m. flight (to Kansas City) had been canceled, so we were elated to have made the decision to drive ourselves to Des Moines.  There wasn't another KC flight until Friday evening, so we would have been stuck at O'Hare another full day.  We drove about six hours to Des Moines, dropped off our rental at the airport, and walked straight in to find our luggage waiting for us!  Believe me, I was praising God for that small blessing!  We got our car from long-term parking and drove home to Kansas City, pulling into our driveway around 5:30 p.m., almost 24 hours after we were supposed to have arrived home.  I will add here that my amazing husband drove all but a half hour of our drive because I could not keep my eyes open, and was scared of killing us all.  He's great. 

Jiushu went to bed at 7:45 p.m. and slept about 13 hours.  I slept 11.  Being with my other three kids today was heaven!  Having them here has already been so helpful in easing Jiushu into the family.  They're a distraction, if nothing else, and I think he is amused by them.  That is, when he's not mad.  It's beneficial for me to already have an established routine to fit Jiushu into.  He has so much to learn, and I continue to be saddened by all that he has never been taught--things that a 13 month old ought to have learned many months ago, like how to feed himself Cheerios, how to crawl, how to bear weight on his legs without throwing a tantrum.

It's now evening and all the kids are in bed.  It's been a rough day.  Our 23 month old daughter spent most of the day in an out-of-character furious rage, mad that we left her, I think.  And Jiushu cried.  All. Day. Long.  My intent in this post is not to gripe, but to paint a realistic picture.  Adoption is not glamorous.  It's not romantic.  I truly believe things will get better.  But right now, it's just raw and ugly and not much fun.  I read this blog post several weeks before we traveled, and reread it just now.  Take a look if you have time.  Lynne expresses so perfectly what I am feeling right now, and it's a huge relief to know that I am not alone.  I hesitate to quote DC Talk, but seriously, love is a verb; it's not an emotion.  Not yet. 

18 comments:

Jolene and Dan Powell said...

I wish I could give you a big hug! I saw your blog on the WAGI site. You are very sleep deprived, and give yourself permission to just get adjusted to US time again, get some rest, and things will work out. When we got home from China, I was in a daze for days. Hang in there!

Jolene

Jolene and Dan Powell said...

And on a side note, Denise was our guide in Nanjing as well. :)
Jolene

2girlpadgetts said...

I have to say that your trip home would be the worst one that I have ever heard--so sorry . . . My heart and emotions as well as my stamina weep for you! Physical and mental exhaustion, together, are rough. I would say, though, that it cannot get any worse than this, look up, my friend and keep your eyes on the Lord, from this point on, I do believe it will get better. Be filled with the Lord's supernatural peace, strength, mercy, compassion, wisdom, and joy.

Sincerely,
Jeff and Jen Padgett (A.K.A.--part of the "Evangel College" crew!)

petiteblogger said...

Oh my goodness, Jerusha- what a journey! This makes our trip home pale in comparison. We almost missed our flight home from LAX and would have had to take the later flight- an hour later- and that put me over the edge. I can only imagine what you went through.
I am so glad you are home, finally, and with your other kids. I'm sure your 23 month old just couldn't understand what in the world you were doing. I will pray for a quick recovery for her sweet spirit.
I hope everyone gets lots of sleep tonight & tomorrow is uneventful and quiet!
~amber

Sara said...

Wow, that is a horrible way to come home and start your life in the US with your newest addition! Praying that is the worst of it all...that your love for J will grow and grow now and nothing that bad will happen again!

Lindsay said...

I am SO sorry, Jerusha. I can't even imagine the desperation to get home and the sheer exhaustion you must have felt. I pray that you all get the rest you need, and find the patience to survive the coming days. I read that post too, and I know exactly what the author means. It will get better. I've realized (better late than never) that I just have to put the work in now (whether I "feel it" or not), and the results will hopefully come later. And I remember that when I want to throw my hands up. Things are REALLY good with us, and I still feel frustrated and tired a lot. So happy you're home safe and sound and with your other kids. Thinking of you.
Lindsay

Katie said...

Oh goodness!!! I am so sorry that your trip ended that way! Whoever said adoption is less painful that childbirth had no idea! You needed an epidural for sure!!!! Glad you're home now! Praying for a smooth transition for all and sleep for you!!

We got TA while you were having your horrible day traveling home. Feel free to pass on any tips!

Sherry said...

I'm SO glad you're all home safe. Your return trip sounds about like ours in 2009. We made it to Newark, NJ just fine. Then our flight home to Norfolk kept getting delayed. Due to lack of sleep, I had a massive panic attack and airport security had to call the paramedics. We finally got on the last flight of the night and there was major turbulence the entire way and the lady in front of me puked the whole way home. I wasn't sure we were going to make it home!!

Please keep posting about he reality of being home. It's not always easy and it's good for people to see the true reality of it all. Again, sounds like our transition home. Our 2 year old son was NOT happy we had left him. The rest of us were jetlagged in a big way. It took a while for us to find our groove. But we did and it was all worth it because we're doing it again!!!

Jennifer said...

I am praying for you and the days of transition! God be with this precious family!

M. said...

I pray that as each day passes, your journey among the thickets smooths to become laden with a fresh joy and peace that only God himself can provide. You have had a grueling start - take it easy and accept help from wherever it comes. It does get BETTER!!!!
Maureen

Gena said...

Dear Sister,
I'm glad you shared this honest post. Oh, I wish the last part of your journey hadn't been so awful. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS! I was so delighted to meet Jiushu yesterday. He is so precious. After I left your house, I couldn't stop thinking that I wished I could have been or done more for you before I left. I think I felt the heaviness of your fatigue....and still do perhaps. SO, I AM INTERCEDING FOR YOU GUYS! LORD, SEND WINDS OF REFRESHING! BRING STRENGTH AND JOY TO THIS ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD! SATURATE THEM IN YOUR COMFORT AND PEACE. BIND THEIR HEARTS TOGETHER IN LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER. SEND YOUR GRACE AND MERCY. The Lord will be faithful to you, I know it. You have an amazing family.
Much love.

meg said...

Oh dear. So glad you are home now. Let family and friends love on you and help you.
Praying for you to get some good rest for your mind and heart.

Jeska said...

While your trip sounds nightmarish, thank you for sharing some of the complex and real emotions you experienced. Adoption is a journey and I hope you have a great time establishing a bond with little Jiushu. I will travel in a few months and its posts like this one that help to normalize the spectrum of emotions I could experience. Hope you get some much needed rest!

ali_moran said...

Oh Jerusha! I am so sorry you have had such a hard time getting home! I have been thinking of you almost every second! I know things will get better! It takes some time. You are in my prayers! (And I had to laugh...I remember listening to that "Love is a Verb" song!!) BTW..you are so much better than me! I still haven't posted on my blog after we got home...maybe I'll have to do that soon!

Beth G said...

Oh girl...what a story you have and testimony of love for your new son! Wear it like a badge of honor! So glad you FINALLY made it home! Thank you for sharing the reality of adoption. Love is indeed a verb, and your feelings are so very similar to what my sister-in-law has described to me of their experience too. Keep pressing on sister! 1 Cor 15:58

Nicole said...

Ohhhhhh Jerusha, I am SO sorry for that nightmare! I have been waiting and waiting to see that you made it home, wondering why it was taking so long. Now I know. It sounds like you did well, especially considering what you had to work with. Ugh.

We leave on Wednesday morning at 8:30am and will be flying for about 24 hours, assuming no issues. I can't wait to go home and hold my other babies but also am dreading all of the flying.

Brooklyn is in the same boat physically as Jiushu - no standing, crawling or rolling over. She is a happy child though, and we are praising God for that! I know our little ones will blossom once home.

I'll continue to watch your blog, please keep it updated! With 2 other little ones at home, I am nervous about the transition that is about to take place in our family, especially because we have been gone for so long. I guess the best thing to do is pray!

Krissy said...

you are precious in HIS sight!

Cedar said...

Oh my! I can feel your exhaustion! So thankful you made it home and can start getting some sleep. Praying for rest and the transition to go as smoothly as it can.