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.