Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Our journey home....And Life in London, Ky. USA

Our journey home from China was quite an adventure. It started out a little rocky, as Emmie became very upset when we told our Chinese guide and another family in our travel group "bye" at the airport. It was like she knew she was leaving China and everything familiar to her. She cried for quite a while at the Beijing airport, and we received many looks and stares, but we pressed on. A couple of suckers later and some reassurance and she was okay (dum-dum suckers are her favorite). We found our gate for our 12 hour flight, and luckily it had a huge window with a great view of planes taking off. Emmie loved looking out the window, and for the rest of our time in the airport did great. When it was time to board, we were able to board first, along with other adoptive families and children. It was very nice, as this was a huge flight-almost 300 people.

We found our seats, and at first it seemed as though the flight was going to be quite empty- then we learned that another flight had just arrived with many passengers who were supposed to be on our flight, so we waited, and the plane filled up. We thought we were ready to take off, but noticed that we were past departure time. That is when the speaker in the plane came on and we heard a friendly flight attendant tell us that due to some weather issues our departure would be delayed....to  make a long story short, our departure was delayed for almost two hours! Not only was this not good because a child gets restless in an airplane that does not move for two hours, but we also knew we only had one hour to catch our connecting flight in Detroit once we landed. Uh oh!

Emmie really did great despite the delay, and once we did get up in the air, she had a great time. After we had been in the air about 3 hours, she pretty much let us know she wanted to go to sleep, and she did. She slept for about 5 hours, which was great. Our plane left around 6:30pm, so it was perfect timing for her to be able to sleep. We did the best we could to make her comfortable on the airplane- it involved a lot of twisting and turning, and the bottom half of my body going numb often :)

Once we got near Detroit (a full 12 hours after leaving Beijing, and we had already been on a 3 hour plane ride from Guangzhou!) we found out that the weather again was going to cause some delays in our landing. We flew around the airport for about thirty minutes in some turbulent air. I don't care much for turbulence, but Emmie thought it was fun. Once we landed we knew we had to pass through customs, then claim our baggage. Customs takes a little longer for adoptive families. You have to go into a special room, they take the brown envelope from you (it is very secretive- every time we have adopted all they tell us is don't open the brown envelope and give it to the customs people once you land), look at all your paperwork, then tell you are free and clear!

It really didn't take that long to go through customs and claim our baggage, maybe 30 minutes, but by the time we had, we had missed our flight home by ten minutes. I wanted to start crying, but Emmie continued to be a trooper, and we prayed that we could get another flight home that night. Otherwise it was going to be a night's stay in Detroit. Boo. That is what made me want to cry!

Praise Jesus, there were seats on a 9pm flight to Lexington. We had a few minutes to get something to eat and I was never more excited to see a Wendy's! It tasted delicious!! I was also so excited to use a bathroom in the good ole' USA. If you have ever used a squattie pottie, you know why!

Before we knew it we were on the plane to Lexington, Kentucky!! The plane ride was only one hour, but was quite turbulent and by this time we had been on 8 different planes in 14 days. I was done with flying, and so was Zack and Emmie.

 We arrived in Lexington at almost 11pm. We were greeted joyfully by my parents, our precious boys, Zack's mom, sisters, and close friend of the family, Aunt Nancy :)  Emmie clung to me at first, but then started putting on the smiles. She did well until it was time to get into the van and head home. Of course at this point she had been traveling for over 20 hours, and I can only imagine what she was thinking. There was also the car seat to deal with- she wasn't too happy about it. She cried and screamed for about 15 minutes in the car, then calmed down. She stayed awake the entire ride home. By the time we got home it was 1am. We introduced her to her new room, and basically the entire house. Yes, at 1am. But remember, this was really like 1pm to her (and us :). We gave her a bath, read a book, and did everything as close as we could to what we did in China to try and keep a consistent routine. When bedtime came however, she was not a happy camper. Lots of crying and unhappiness. It ended up being after 3am when she finally went to sleep. She woke on and off throughout the night, but the last couple of hours slept soundly.

The next day went very well. She loved getting to know her brothers, and continues to love getting to know them. They play very well together and enjoy many of the same activities together. We could not be more proud of the boys. They are the best big brothers! I could not imagine them being any better with Emmie. They are very patient, kind, sweet and of course fun!! It is a joy to watch them together. You can tell they feel so proud when they help their "sis" around the house.

The big issue since we have been home has been.....sleep, well, lack thereof :) Here is how the sleeping went- we would put Emmie to bed around 8:30, she would go to sleep for about 2 hours, then wake up screaming and crying, almost as if she was having a terrible nightmare. We could not console her because she would not allow us to. It was very difficult to watch.  Heart wrenching. A couple of nights there was lots of kicking, throwing pillows, sheets, whatever she could get her hands on. And loud, loud, crying. The worst night involved non-stop screaming and crying from about 4am to 6:30am. That night I cried, also. We didn't know what to do, as we had never experienced this before. We knew her schedule had to be way off, but she played happily all day long every day, which was great, but also meant no rest. As of Sunday I had about 7-8 hours of sleep over the last 72 hours, and that is no joke. I knew this couldn't go on much longer. I  remembered a fellow adoptive parent who had success with melatonin, so I inquired of her for more info. She put me on the right track and our sweet and wonderful pharmacist friend ordered some for us and we had it the next morning. We gave it to her about twenty minutes before bedtime and PRAISE THE LORD she slept all night long. That was last night. Hoping for the same result tonight. Don't get me wrong- we don't want to look over any significant issues she may have with sleep like nightmares, night terrors, etc. but from what we experienced the biggest issue was that Emmie didn't want to be in bed (her internal schedule told her it wasn't time) and she was going to let us know one way or another. Thankfully we had each other to get through the nights, and it didn't last too long. There are sure to be more bumps in the road, but for now, all is well, and we are very thankful.

Emmie's attachment to us is going well also. Today she wanted me to hold her several times, and she ran to me and hugged me a couple times as well. This was initiated by her, which is amazing. She also let Zack kiss and hug her, which is also amazing, as she had been very resistant to him up to this point ( a very normal reaction). We are excited and joyful, but not naive enough to think that our bonding and attachment won't take work. It will, and we are doing the best we can to prepare ourselves for any setbacks that we may face. We also are being very guarded on where we go, what we do, etc. Yesterday we left the house for the first time only to go to Kroger to get the magical melatonin. Today we made a short trip to the library to return some books. She did well both trips. We hope to be able to go to church Sunday, but we are not sure at this point. We are just taking it day by day and trying to go off of her cues.

The last two plus weeks have been quite a journey- probably the most intense journey of our lives, much different than our previous two adoptions. One thing that has been wonderful is the time that Zack and I were able to spend together. With kids, and now especially with three kids, that kind of quality time doesn't happen often. We learned to lean on one another, but most importantly on the grace of God- without His grace and the prayers of his people, there is no way we could have made it. I have never felt the prayers of the saints as much as I have over these last few weeks.

So, that is all for now. Not sure when the next update will be :)  We can't thank you enough for all your prayers- they have been felt over and over, we promise!

Attached are some pictures and video- Emmie still a little camera shy, but we are working on it ;)

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