Adopting Again The Trip

Thursday, March 18, 2004
Heading Home
HOORAY! Today we get to go home. The trip has been wonderful, but tiring and it will be good to finally go home. We are looking forward to Tamlyn meeting her sister and the rest of the family and to eating home cooking (Tuna Helper mostly).

BOO! Our bags had to be in the hallway at 5:00am for the bellboy to pick up and we had to be downstairs in the lobby by 6:00am. Just to make sure, Mark put in a wake-up call for 3:30am. After a double-take from the front desk, they obliged and the phone rang promptly at 3:30am.

After taking a shower and downing several cups of coffee, we were ready to leave. We checked out at 5:30am and then waited with the other weary eyed families for the bus to arrive and take us to the Guangzhou airport. The bus was right on time and so we dragged ourselves and Tamlyn onboard for the short ride to the airport. Later, we would be boarding a plane to Hong Kong (1 hr), then transferring to a flight to San Francisco (11½ hrs), then transferring again to another flight to Chicago (4 hrs).

Once at the Guangzhou Airport we dutifully got in line with all of our baggage and paperwork in hand, then patiently waited for the gate to open. Promptly at 7:30am the gate was unlocked and we filed in. (One note about waiting in line in China: Much like the traffic, waiting lines are just a mere suggestion. It is very common for others to rudely force their way in front of you. I often had to use the stroller as a barricade to keep other people from shoving their way past me.)

After 4 checkpoints, we finally made it to the boarding gate. We were sweaty from taking our bags on and off of the cart several times, but we were satisfied that we made it through immigration even with Tamlyn's "faulty" passport photo. It was very hard to look innocent as they examined our documentation, especially because we were.

The flight to Hong Kong was uneventful, although our stroller got packed into the baggage compartment by mistake and ended up on a carousel somewhere. We couldn't get it because we would have to go through immigration again, so we found an airline worker who, thankfully, retrieved it for us.

We then boarded the long flight to San Francisco. We bought a seat for Tamlyn knowing that she would need the room to stretch out and sleep. We had her situated between us with the armrests up, giving us plenty of room to move about. Additionally, we were on an aisle allowing us to easily get to the back of the plane to use the bathroom, change the baby, or simply stretch our legs.

The flight home was long.. Very long! Tamlyn slept for the first hour, but was fussy for the remaining 10. Benadryl did not help. She was not crying, but loved to talk... and talk... and talk. She was driving us crazy and I'm sure she wasn't a favorite of the people around us. Two kids in front of us seemed fascinated by her though. We often brought Tamlyn to the back of the plane where a revolving support group of parents congregated. Here we were able to share our experiences, brag about our babies, and stretch our legs. It really helped time to pass.

Upon arriving in San Francisco, we had to go through immigration. This would be our last hurdle to getting Tamlyn into the country. Everything went without a hitch and we were able to relax and enjoy America's newest citizen. The four hour flight to Chicago was a walk in the park compared to the flight from Hong Kong. Tamlyn slept through half the flight allowing Mark to watch the in-flight movies and Grace to read. We landed without incident in Chicago.

Waiting for us at the baggage claim were Mark's parents, Tamlyn's sister Stephanie, and some friends. We were so happy to see familiar faces and to let Stephanie hug her new sister for the first time. We were finally home.

Back at Home with the Family