Thursday, August 30, 2007

Looking Back at our Last Day in China

I just love the way her hand was hanging on to me and wrapped in my bracelet.
Evie is not so sure about sharing her stroller, or maybe just jelous of the bow? ha!
Todd enjoying the pigeon, we enjoyed the other parts of the pigeon!
Dreaming of home!

August 30th,2006
Romans 8 :28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
Taking a while, but I am finally going back to update this last page of my travel journal, our final day in China.
We woke and went to our last breakfast at the buffet. Mark said we should eat light, since we were planning to eat lunch with some of our friends. But I felt the need to overflow my plate, I would never get that yummy French toast again! It was so weird, knowing we would never eat at this hotel overlooking the Pearl River again.
Right after breakfast we began to make our rounds to the shops who we had ordered things from. Sadly, no one had our things ready. Lesson number 100. Order your things early, and tell them you are leaving the day before you actually do leave. Granted, I ordered a lot. But we were panicked. We headed back to the room to finish up packing. I left lots of things behind. Our suitcases were overflowing. For lunch we ate at a Cantonese Restaurant in the White Swan, with Jennifer & Todd, Lori and Vinnie. We tried Pigeon, and it was really good. Despite the head on the plate! I think we got a good shot of Todd acting as if he is going to try that part! Fried Green Beans were wonderful, all the food there was really good. Sage slept through lunch, in my arms.
Mark went out and picked up the rest of our orders, only one jacket out of 18 custom made outfits was not finished. Jennifer offered to pick it up for me and ship it to me from the states. No other options, we had to go.
They picked up all our luggage(one great thing, every hotel, they pick up your luggage at your room and get it to where it needs to go) and we loaded the bus for the US Consulate Appointment. It was about a 45 minute drive. Sabrina gave a speech on the way over, which did not help my already weepy emotions. Yes, I was excited to get home, but so sad to leave all these new friends I had met. Much less to leave China, Sages birthcountry. One thing she said that really struck my heart. She said, these mothers do not want to give up their babies. And while we have no idea why Sage was given up, I do want to believe that she was loved, and that her birthmother made a choice to give her up in hopes of a better future for her. There were other options that her mother could have taken, and so we are forever thankful that she chose this road for her baby, our daughter.
We were not allowed to take photo’s in the Consulate. We were also not allowed to take in any liquids so some of our group lost their thermos full of water for formula. We had to go through security to get in. Then we were ushered up to a window, they checked to make sure that Sage matched the picture on her visa. We took an oath as a group, swearing to take care of these babies,which was so moving to me. There were about 50 plus families in the room with us all different agencies. Looking around and seeing all these mommy’s and daddy’s, and all these new babies, some screaming, some sleeping, some laughing, it was just amazing. These parents who have been through exactly what we have been through to get our babies… We were then given Sage’s visa and we left. We did not realize that we were going to be leaving our group right there to go to the airport. We jumped back on our bus, presented Sabrina with a parting group gift. We collected almost $600 we donated in her name to one of the CHI foundations, that helps kids in need get much needed surgeries. And then we had to say goodbye. It was so hard. These families who we have been with for 2 weeks. The ones who watched us become parents to Sage, and who we watched become families. They were our support through each day in China. We might never see them again. It was a quick goodbye, but full of sweet memories that will stay on my heart forever.
We headed to the airport and stood in line forever to get checked in. If the line was a sign of our flight, it was going to be full. We had to go through customs and we had these papers we had to fill out and hand over. Well we hand him Sage’s and he said, you should have filled this out in Chinese, this time I will help you, but next time, Chinese. What? Ok, next time, I will practice up my Chinese handwriting and do that. We had a “western” dinner while waiting, but I got a chicken sandwich which was very spicy and very chewy. I am ready for American normal chicken! The wait was short and soon we were boarding the plane. We did have 6 CHI couples on our flight. 4 Hunan Families along w/ the cutie from our flight in, Lillie and her new sister! We settled in on the plane and we were off. It was a very full flight this time, and we did not receive ANY special treatment this time as before. In fact, we did not see much of the flight attendants on this flight. They served dinner right away, which was rice and some sort of spicy meat. Sage fell asleep pretty quickly. Our seats were the 2 on the side. We had hoped for bulkhead, in that area sometimes you can get a bassinet. But it was fine, Sage fell asleep on my lap, and slept for most of the entire flight. I actually slept a little bit myself. Though we had terrible turbulence on that flight, which surprised me, the way over was so smooth. Being on a Chinese airline, the movies were bad. We could find nothing in English! With only about 2 hours to go, they finally served breakfast. And that is when Sage decided to wake up, and have a bad, I mean REALLY bad diaper blow out. Less than 2 minutes after they set down my tray, might I add, WITH the food cart in the aisle. Thankfully one of the bathrooms in our area was a wheelchair accessible, so it was larger. Of course getting out of my seat covered in, well, just covered, getting around the breakfast cart, all the while the flight attendants trying to ignore me and the stench I think, then waiting in line for that one bathroom which happened to be occupied FOREVER!! Thank goodness I had packed clothes for me and Sage both in our carry on. I quickly lost my appetite at that point! And that little incident did help to pass the last part of the flight pretty quickly! We landed in Los Angeles at 7:30PM. Have I mentioned that the Chinese pilots land differently than US pilots? They are rough, I don’t know why, but we both noticed that they land so much harder! It did go through my head, we saw how they drive, and we actually trust them to fly us!? Good thing I flew China Southern before I rode in a chinese taxi! We rushed off the plane as quickly as we could, we were told to hurry and get in line for US immigrations. There was some man there who had us get in one line, then tried to make us get into another line, which we all refused to budge. When we asked why, he said “Because that is the way it is”. And you know me, that just ticked me off and I thought, you want me to move, and stand in a longer line, AFTER waiting in this line, you will have to pick me up and move me. This is America, I know my rights and I have been on a plane for 15 hours. Thankfully we did not get hauled off to the police station, we stayed in our spot and we made it through. It was so nuts that we did not get to say goodbye to all our friends as we would have liked, but it was good to be on US soil for sure! We gathered our luggage and jumped on the shuttle to our hotel for the night.
By 8:30 we were checking into our room at the Sheraton. We paid $150.00 to stay at this hotel, and I guess we were so spoiled from China hotels, but it felt like a dump! I guess I should not go that far, but it was not the White Swan! Except of course for the heavenly beds! They were well worth the $! We dumped our luggage into the room, and went downstairs for our first American Meal. We both had steak, mashed potatoes, it was good! No pointing at the menu to order, we did not have to ask them to leave out the spice or ice from our drinks! But our dinner was so quiet. This was the first time we had been alone and it was strange! Sage had no friends, we had no one, our trip was really coming to an end.
Mark and I were exhausted, but not our little angel who had slept almost the entire flight, she was ready to go! So it was a very short night in our soft beds! At least they were comfy to lay on awake. By 4am we gave up and got ready for the airport. Mark took a hike down the road to get diapers, we were out. We took the shuttle to the airport and guess what, Sage fell asleep and continued to sleep for most of the day. Mark and I were both so anxious now. Home, we are coming home!

1 comment:

the gove family said...

evie is still jealous of sage's bows :)

it is such fun reading these posts from last year--what a great idea!, and since we were home and getting used to life with evie, I never even read these final posts of your first days home. They are wonderful!