Tuesday, July 6, 2010


It took over 31 hours door to door, but finally, the girls are home! All by herself, my wife navigated an international trip that included 5 airports. With Lily in tow, she had to retrieve her luggage several times due to customs and security, handle a stroller, a backpack, and go through immigration at JFK in New York in order to handle Lily's citizenship.

Additionally, since Lily is under two, we only purchased a lap fare for her because, you guessed it, the price was only $350 vs $1300 for full fare.  The travel agent tried to warn us that a 14 hour (one way)  airplane flight with a child in your lap would be horrendous. I haughtily assured her that we weren't first time parents, that this was not our first rodeo,  and that we were fully capable of deciding whether or not Susan could handle a two year old in her lap.

 Of course that was BEFORE Susan and I, who haven't traveled any further than Orlando in the past 15 years, were squashed into the pea  sized economy seats of the Air China 747.  It was after about an hour on Flight 982 that I realized the lap fare thing was a huge mistake. I knew Susan and I could tolerate it, but I began to worry about Susan and Lily on the return trip. I decided to put my foot down. After all, as a Christian husband, I know my role.  Provider, protector, and IN CHARGE! I told Susan that I was not taking no for an answer.  We were going to pay the extra fare and get a seat for Lily on the flight coming back!  Well, those of you who know us best, know how that went over.  Guess I'll have to settle for provider and protector. We were still "discussing" it when we landed in Beijing over 7 hours late. Because of the excessive delay we missed our connecting flight.  Air China was supposed to have a bus waiting at the Beijing airport to take all of us to a "hotel very wonderful" to await our rescheduled flight the following morning.  It was already 1 a.m.  Susan and I were exhausted.  After waiting about two hours for the promised bus, I noticed a Chinese gentleman banging his fist on the counter and screaming in Chinese at the Air China representative.  Since I had seen the same gentleman speaking English earlier, I asked him what he was saying to the clerk.  He told me that with this particular airline it did not matter what you said, but if you banged your fist on the counter, they would give you what you want.  The bus arrived in moments!

Fast forward. After I got home I still worried a lot about Susan traveling back such a distance with Lily in her lap.  I thought several times about upgrading the fare and facing the consequences.  I told a friend of mine about how concerned I was. He gave me something to think about and it helped a great deal.  He said that "behind her slight frame and gentle demeanor is a formidable force who has handled you for the past 29 years plus 4 kids.  She will be FINE! "  Last Thursday morning, the folks at Air China got to see that formidable side that I am so familiar with.  I received the following text message from Susan just minutes before she and Lily were scheduled to leave Beijing. "Everything is wonderful here. Banged my fist on the counter, got a free seat for Lily."  BAM!  That's my girl.

Lily slept 7 hours on the Beijing to JKF flight and Susan 4. For two hours Susan stood in the aisle so Lily could sleep across both seats.  And while Lily wasn't exactly an angel  while she was awake, the down time was extremely helpful to Susan.  They arrived in Montgomery at about 10:45 p.m,  I don't think I have ever seen Susan look better. Emily and Daniel were thrilled to see their mom and to meet Lily.  Daniel said it was the best moment of his entire life.  Pretty strong statement from a 13 year old boy. It was Emily who actually first brought up the idea of international adoption to us,  so it was an exceptional time for her as well.

We are settling in to our new normal and everything is going very well. There is no way we can adequately thank you all for the prayers, and phone calls and gifts and food... especially the food.

Prayer request. Lily is terrified by our 9lb little dog Rocket.  Makes things kind of difficult to have to keep the two separated.  Rocket actually seems a bit terrified himself.  Pray they will get comfortable with each other.

Thanks for reading.  More later.


1 comment:

Mike-n-Kerri said...

We love you guys. I hope you know what a true inspiration you are to both Kerri and me. Let us know when you have settled in and we can come by and see your new little girl.