Sunday, January 31, 2010

You have to really really want it

Here we are in Nanjing. It's 2:30pm on Sunday, local time in China. Let's recap the last 32 hours.

2:30pm Friday in Detroit. Leave for the airport.

3:00pm Haggle with the Delta folk, who for some reason have lost our reservation.

3:05pm Breathe a sigh of relief when the suspicious looking dudes next to us, who have passports from Yemen, are granted tickets to some other airport.

3:10pm Close the deal with Delta, and move on to security.

5:30pm Wheels up, headed for Los Angeles

10:30pm (Detroit time) Arrive at LAX. This place looks familiar. We just need to gather our 12,000lbs of luggage and walk to the International Terminal. We did this back in May when we got Cassie. Sonny is CERTAIN that we just collect our luggage, walk outside, turn right, and hoof it about 1/4 mile to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Except for one problem. When we flew in May, we flew Northwest. This time we flew Delta. The punchline is that Delta is on the other side of the loop at LAX, which means we need to make a LEFT, not a right. But we took a right, and hoofed for well over the 1/4 mile we expected, before we asked for directions. So hoof it about 1/3 mile back to where we started, and then another 1/4 mile to the Tom Bradley terminal. All while carrying 12,000lbs (approximately, give or take two Sherman tanks). Thanks Sonny. (Full disclosure - Sonny is writing this post while Sherry unpacks in the room).

1:45am Saturday (Detroit time) Depart LAX for Guangzhou China. This is to be a 14-1/2 hour pleasure cruise (give or take two bulging discs, a headache, two trick knees, and a sour stomach). There's no good way to do 14-1/2 hours in a confined space with a toddler. But there are several WORSE ways. We avoided most of those by flying China Southern. China Southern has a concept of Premium Economy. Most experienced international travelers would recognize this as "Business Class". It's not the best of the best as Business Class goes, but it's a lot more than just a wide seat. The real hidden gem here is that NOBODY seems to be onto it. The price of Premium Economy, relative to plain old Economy, is nowhere near the difference between Business and Economy on most international flights. Both times we've gone to China, we've gone this way, and both times, it's been less than 50% full. What does that mean? It means we pay for two seats, and get 3. And it means we have nobody sitting behind us, or next to us. And it means we get great service. But at the end of the day, it's still a 14-1/2 hour trip with a toddler, who clearly was tortured by having to remain confined for so long. Poor baby. That sort of thing is hard on adults. I can't imagine what it must be like for her.

5:30pm Saturday (Detroit time) Arrive in Guangzhou. Clear customs. Run into some folks in the same boat as us - flying to China to adopt a child. But for them this is the first time. So they hook up with us right after customs and utter the following words "We'll follow you, since you've done this before and seem to know what you're doing." 30 seconds later, following Sonny's lead, two families make a wrong turn inside Guangzhou international airport. That's two for two now for Sonny. Apparently Mr. Magoo was not available, so these two families chose the world's second most incompetent Sherpa for this mission. Recovery was a breeze, and within 10 minutes, we were all back on track, headed to our connecting flights to our final destinations.

Shortly thereafter began the story of the 3 cursed juice bottles. Our first juice bottle made its appearance at airport security in Guangzhou. Not satisfied that a baby's bottle packed in a carry on filled with Cheerios and diapers was actually orange juice, the security agent made Sonny drink the entire bottle. This is why we adopted, by the way, so that there would never be a need for Sonny to drink bonafide breast milk in an airport. But lukewarm OJ with baby-spit backwash is its own special kind of gross.

After clearing security, we bought a bottle of OJ from a machine, so we could refill the newly empty bottle, and unwittingly set the stage for the 2nd cursed juice bottle.

9:10pm Saturday (Detroit time) Board a bus to take us to the plane which will ferry us to Nanjing. A few moments after boarding the plane, a crowded sardine can full of humanity that defies the known laws of physics each time it leaves the ground, Sonny has a mishap with the recently filled juice bottle. Unlike the plane, this bottle does not defy any laws of physics as it plummets to the floor, and springs a leak, all while the cattle-call of boarding is in progress. Sherry is quick with a new liner, and we salvage some of the OJ, but none of Sonny's pride, as angry passengers look onward at the spectacle standing between them and their seat.

11pm Saturday (Detroit time) Wheels on the ground in Nanjing.

11:20pm Saturday (Detroit time) - Sonny remarks to Sherry, using a fecal word, that he left the juice bottle on the plane. That bottle was poorly behaved, and I say we are better off without it.

12am Sunday (Detroit time) Arrive at the hotel which will be our home for the next 5 days.

All this brings us back to the subject of this post. To go through all of this, you have to really really want it. To be in the midst of this odyssey and not question the sanity of the choices you've made to bring you to this exact moment in your life, you have to really really want it. And we do.

Tomorrow at 10:30am, Chloe will meet her big sister, and her mama and dada. Mama and Dada are excited. Cassie is clueless. Wish us luck.


Lynn said...

Sonny, that is brilliant! Thanks for sharing and helping us relive those special moments!

Dana said...

You hit the nail on the head with that one! That needs to be the official motto, "International Adoption- you have to really, really want it!". I hope things are smooth for you guys from here on out. I can't wait to see the pictures of your new family of four:)

DiJo said...

You made it.... And you are right, it will be soooo worth it!!! Thanks for the heads up at LAX!!! Hoping we don't make the same wrong turn in a few weeks!! Can't wait to see Chloe in your arms!!!


Susan said...

Love your posts Sonny! And, we can't wait to see tomorrow's post when you have your family complete! You are all in our thoughts and prayers and will remain there until you are safely home.

Peggy said...

Too Funny....even though it's true I couldn't help but laugh! Don't worry, I am sure that you will be able to laugh at the crazy things that happen to us on our journey! Praying for you all!
You are right....WE REALLY WANT IT!!!
Hugs & Blessings,

Deb B said...

Sonny - you should really publish a "how to" for international adoptive dads...Steve could help you...he had the Chinese version of Montezuma's revenge on our first trip...
Have a wonderful, magical time - you are four of the luckiest people in the world!
Deb, Steve, Sophia and Huan Huan

Melissa said...

That had me laughing so hard and there couldn't be truer words. You do have to really want it. Especially after you have done it once and know what a nightmare the travel part can be. You guys are almost there! Can't wait to see Chloe with you! Tons of prayers and hugs.

Pam said...

Well, I just about peed myself reading that post. Sonny, you had us all right there with you through your use of choice words and stunning visual imagery. Rest up. Tomorrow is a big day. Can't wait to hear (and see) more!

Drea said...

Wow! Okay, from this end it sounds really funny just by the way you tell it, but that must have been PAINFUL! I'm glad you are there safe and sound though!

groovy mama said...

BTDT and more..Blessed be the day!

HUgs and all your way!

Love the post and the pure bluntness that comes with our love for our children of is NO EASY task but so worth it in the END!!!!

So excited this DAY has came!!!!and that you can post to blogger!


M & M said...

Great Post!! Counting the hours till we meet Chloe!! Glad you arrived safely. Love you guys.

3peas1pod said...

And so begins another adventure!

Amy, Jeff, & Ashton said...

hilarious post - thanks for the smiles and you add in the other excellent point in IA:
1) you have to really want it and
2) you have to find humor in it wherever you can to keep yourself sane to get there...
can't wait to see photos of the girls together! CONGRATS!

Lesa said...

Sonny, I had a feeling it was you all along who was writing the post. lol Sounds very similar to the last one in May.
You guys kill me.

Can you believe while I'm writing this you are getting ready to get Chloe!!! I'm just so excited for you!!

Heather Hale said...

I've been eagerly checking your page for updates, and was so excited to finally know you made it!! Look at it this way, if nothing exciting happened it wouldn't make as good of a story! I realize as I write this that you may be on your way to Chloe right now! It's 10:00 PM here, so it's 11:00 AM there. Good luck! Take care! Can't wait to read more.

Shawn, Shelley, Emily, Sarah, Lauren, AnnaGrace and Avery said...

Sherry, It is now 11:13AM where you are and I know you must have your precious girl in your arms!! I am soooo excited for you and can't wait to see pictures when I wake up.