45 hours from Guangzhou to Dothan. Almost two full days with basically no sleep. During that time period, EB probably slept 6 hours and Jeremy, mama and I much less than that. Sleep deprivation and jet lag are two of the main reasons I haven’t posted before today. I had no idea how bad jet lag was going to kick my rear end! Saturday and Sunday were the worst and we are thankful that each day seems to be better than the last. I wasn’t as bad off as this fellow LL mom, but I did almost fall asleep in the shower and while standing over EB’s crib. During our adoption training last summer, we learned that one day’s adjustment is needed for each hour of time change. So for us, that means almost two weeks before we are completely adjusted sleep wise. We acclimated much better in China and overall, I have recuperated much better than Jeremy. We have both been quite shocked by this, considering I require at least eight hours of sleep every night in order to properly function. Not to mention how I love to sleep late on Saturdays, holidays, summers and take 3-4 hour Sunday afternoon naps. Anyway, Jeremy and EB are both currently napping, so I’m hoping to get this post written before they wake up.
My last post was written during our flight from Korea to Atlanta. Once we landed, we all got to experience a first. Homeland Security came on board and escorted a passenger off. He was an elderly Asian gentlemen and we sure wish we knew what he had done! Going through customs and immigrations was surprisingly pretty quick and simple. We were directed to a special adoption officer and were glad we didn’t have to wait in line. Thanks to LL and our guides in China, her paperwork was perfect and EB was granted permission to enter the US as an American Citizen!
After claiming our baggage, Jeremy sweet-talked the Delta Sky Lounge employees to grant mama access to come in with us. He explained how long we had been traveling and why and they were happy to let us all in. We were excited to have room to stretch out because our gate was quite full. Plus, I get pretty pumped about the free snacks. And clean bathrooms. (thank you American Express card for these nice perks!) EB took a quick cat nap which she very much needed. We wanted her to get as much rest as possible so she would hopefully be in a good mood at the airport. After she woke up, we dressed her in the cutest outfit. That ham knew she looked adorable too because she walked around grinning from ear to ear.
We then proceeded to make our way back to the gate. Jeremy had joked several times that we would probably get delayed going into Dothan. Mama and I didn’t find it the slightest bit funny, but I knew that it didn’t take much for flights to be delayed or cancelled coming into the Circle City. Well, we hadn’t been at the gate long before an announcement was made that our flight had been delayed. The plane we were waiting on had been delayed in Fayetteville, NC due to weather. You all know how this is going to end and it definitely wasn’t what we had planned. We continued to get delayed until the flight was finally cancelled altogether. Before the cancellation was announced, EB started getting very fussy. We attempted to feed her a Gerber fruit squeeze pouch. She grabbed it at the same time Jeremy squeezed it and fruit puree came spewing out and landed all over her beautiful dress and me. That should have been my sign that things were going to get much worse. At this point we were all on edge anyway and the fruit explosion just about caused Jeremy and me to have a breakdown. Somehow we managed to keep it together. EB refused all the food we offered to her. We knew she wasn’t hungry and was only crying and ill because she was sleep deprived. She was fine as long as we let her walk around, but the airport was so crowded we had to keep that to a minimum.
A little while later, Jeremy took her back to the Sky Lounge to change her diaper and that’s what the awful announcement was made. Mama and I didn’t even say a word to each other. Nothing we could say was going to solve our problem and I was too tired and upset to even acknowledge what I had just heard. Jeremy missed the announcement so I had to break the bad news to him. He then had to stand in a forever long line to hear what our travel options were. I had EB with me and once again, she was crying. Nothing was comforting her and I didn’t think Jeremy was ever coming back! Finally he came walking up, but didn’t have anything positive to report. The Delta rep wasn’t very helpful (however the Delta employee Jeremy spoke with on the phone was much nicer and didn’t seem to be too pleased with how our situation was handled) and said that we might or might not get reimbursed for a hotel, plane tickets or rental car. Jeremy couldn’t ever get a straight answer as to why our flight was cancelled. It had been rescheduled for 10:30 Saturday morning and Jeremy wanted no part of that. Even though we chose not to take the Saturday flight, our luggage still had to. What in the world?! Thanks for nothing Delta. Jeremy then got on the horn with our travel insurance company and made arrangements for a rental car. ( sidebar: Always buy travel insurance! It typically doesn’t cost that much and our expenses at Avis were completely covered. My travel agent always recommends insurance to his customers. 🙂 ) I had zero desire to drive home with an exhausted, fussy baby. Besides, we were completely worn out too and I wasn’t sure if Jeremy needed to drive, didn’t know if we would encounter bad weather, and I didn’t want EB’s first ride in a car seat to be almost a four hour one! Jeremy was not going to be persuaded to stay in a hotel and now that we are on the other side of the situation, I am glad he made the decision to come on home.
We made the long trek via the plane train (which I do love to ride) and some other train outside of the airport to the rental car facility. The Avis representative told us there would be a car seat in the vehicle. We made the dumb assumption that meant already installed. Not so much. As if he wasn’t frustrated enough, Jeremy had to fool with putting in the car seat and that’s one thing he absolutely hates to do. EB had finally gone to asleep in the Ergo but we had no choice but to strap her in. I sat in the back with her in case she woke up. We rode in silence for quite some time. I think we were all too emotional and tired to speak. EB slept until the Newnan exit and when she woke up, it was not pretty. She screamed and cried and nothing I tried consoled her. Eventually she fell back asleep and we stopped in Phoenix City to get her some supper. It was a relief to me to take her out of the car seat. I felt like she was traumatized by it, but Jeremy and mama said it was sheer exhaustion more than anything. EB ate about two bites of hamburger and wouldn’t drink anything. I put her back in the seat and she proceeded to wail again. The child cried almost non-stop the entire way home. Y’all can only imagine how shot our nerves were. I think it was around Eufaula that I finally broke down and cried. I am not one to cry, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’m not sure that Jeremy and mama even knew I did. It was absolutely breaking my heart that I couldn’t do anything to console my baby and help her calm down. I was so afraid all she wanted was me to hold her and by not taking her out I was breaking the trust she had established with me. Around 10 p.m., we finally arrived at our house and y’all cannot know the relief I felt. Our original itinerary had us arriving in Dothan at 4 p.m.
We were all upset that we didn’t get to fly home as scheduled. Selfishly, I wanted the big airport moment, with our family and friends there to welcome us home. I wanted to have the special photographs and memories. But God had a reason for us not to have the airport moment. Even though EB is making strides each day, (I’ll do a separate post on adjustment later) we fully believe she would not have done well with a big crowd and who knows what negative impacts that could have had on her. We do feel that in a few weeks she will be adjusted enough to have a welcome home reception though.
We want to say thank you once again to all our family and friends who did come to the airport or had planned to, for the gifts left for EB, for a warm meal that we didn’t get to eat (but I hope somebody did!), yard decorations, groceries in our cabinet and a mowed front yard! These kind gestures meant the world to us. We also appreciate all the messages, emails, texts, and comments we received while in China and since we have been home. If we didn’t respond or acknowledge your sweet words, please know that it wasn’t intentional. We have tried to keep up with everything, but it’s been just about impossible!
We also appreciate the numerous offers we had to drive to Atlanta and bring us home and to pick us up from the airport and stay at their home for the night.
Thank you too for those who actually read this entirely long post! Maybe I’ll be back before another week has passed to let you all know how we are doing.