The morning started similar to all the other mornings in China. Get up, get dressed, and eat a huge breakfast. Again. Although today was a little different in that we had to pack up our belongings as well because today is the day WE GO HOME. I wasn't too excited to get home to my non-filtered fast Internet, potable water, or our own washer and dryer. Nope, not one bit. (cue my daughter saying "Sarcastic")
At 10:30 Friday morning in Guangzhou we packed into a van and took an hour long trip to the airport. I'm convinced we took the most obscure way to get there as I'm certain the driver was doing a wide figure 8 through town before finally getting to the airport. We made it, and after correcting our guide as to our flight and airline we found our counter and received our tickets to Beijing. We were a little surprised that our guide thought we were on the 1:35 flight on China Air when in fact we were the 1:00 flight on China Southern. She kept her cool but I think she too was worried about us making the flight. On the bright side, if you are reading this it is obvious we made it. We got through security, raced to our gate, and only had to wait 15 minutes before boarding the bus. I took a picture of our bus to show you all how bad Southwest really could be.
With the exception of Kristi being selected for a first class seat the flight from Guangzhou to Beijing was as expected. Busy with a first time flier and otherwise boring. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow Ms. Lady Flyer had met Mr. Right but he was in coach and she was in first class. She offered up her first class seat to anyone willing to give her a seat next to Mr. Right. We managed to get the three boys in a row and Kristi took the first class cabin and felt woefully out of place, and guilty. She shouldn't have, she deserved at least a few minutes of peace. As for Ms. Flyer and Mr. Right... not sure why they were in different cabins. Perhaps he had had enough and needed some alone time, maybe we didn't do him a favor after all. Maybe... but napping on each other's shoulders suggest otherwise.
Upon landing in Beijing we bussed from the plane to the terminal where we met our "angel" for the afternoon. A China Southern employee holding a sign "Delta Flight 188 - Detroit". With 90 minutes to get from plane to plane it was a relief to get some hand holding. It was still a bit of a rush but with his help we (and 10 others) made the connecting flight from Beijing to Detroit. At this point we could all breathe easily as we knew we were at least getting into the country. During the flight I won a round of Texas Hold'em ($2,700 fake dollars!), watched Batman vs. Superman (like this blog a poorly developed script), and listened to Steven Tyler's Country album which I'd rate as the Gigli of country albums.
Detroit brought customs and immigration which we were a little worried about. If things were going to go wrong here it meant 14 hours in the air back to China to get things straightened out and another 14 hours home. Thankfully all of our paper work was in order and we sailed through fairly quickly. After passing through a final security check we hopped on the escalators and ascended to the Detroit Sauna. It seems as though no one anticipated a bright 70 degree day in Detroit and thus the airport terminal was pushing the 75-80 degree mark (Again, 82% of numbers are made up on the Internet) and we were smoking. We made our obligatory stop at Chick-Fil-A, sent out annoying "look at us" Facebook posts and generally were just glad to be back in the US and A. Finally, 24 hours after leaving the hotel we hopped on a plane from Detroit to Chicago where we landed to this:
Our parents met us in Chicago with the kids and we were met with hugs and a short hotel stay. We had made it.
As I am writing this on Monday evening it has been about 96 hours since we left Guangzhou and I think I remember about three of the hours. Joshua has been doing incredibly well in our home and with our daughters. I'm sure there are technical terms that I should have learned long ago, but the boy seems to be attaching well, eating well, evacuating just fine, burping like a boy to perfection, and fighting bed time like a champ. For all the worries, what ifs, and uncertainties we found a boy 6,000+ miles away who is going to fit into this family just fine. I like to think that his birth mom wanted to keep him, but for some reason just simply couldn't. I hope that someday she discovers what a cool kid her son is and that despite his tough beginnings he's a happy boy who is full of energy.
The quote I shared at the top of the post was shared during a sermon last April. Along with that quote Pastor Brad shared that "our greatest stories happen in the unknown". At some point during that sermon I became clearly aware that we were going to adopt a child. We were going to trust a known God to help us with our big unknown of adoption and He provided at every turn. Our gate agent angel, funds when we needed them, straight down to the personality of our Joshua He has provided. Hopefully we can share more stories about our family of six as we figure this all out. So far Josh has spent more time at fancy hotels with big buffets than he has with us, but by Sunday that will all have changed and life will start to look like a pattern to him (I Hope). For now though, thanks for following and enjoy a few more photos.