Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We are Home! God Bless the U.S.A.

We are home. Praise the Lord!! Nolan and I love(d?) international travel, but I have never wanted to kiss the U.S. soil as much as when we landed last night. I thought our 12-hour flight delay (on top of an already 5-hour layover) in L.A. on our way to China might have been our biggest travel issue, but I was wrong. That was nothing compared to our trip home.

We boarded the plane on Sunday at 1:45 pm in preparation for our 2:15 pm departure. Shortly before our scheduled take-off, the pilot announced that we would have a 30-minute delay. Nearly 10-hours later, we were still sitting on the plane. ON THE RUNWAY!! Yes, nearly 10-hours sitting on a non-moving plane, full of roughly 350 other passengers and no air. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I have to say, though, that I was impressed with the dignity and grace of the Chinese passengers, but all dignity and grace went out the window at about 9:00 pm. Nolan thought there was going to be a riot in the front of the plane. At about 10:30 pm, the pilot announces they are cancelling the flight, but as we are getting ready to gather our belongings, a flight attendant tells us to wait, as the pilot may have changed his mind. Half of the passengers had already gotten off the plane only to find that they decided not to cancel it. There was tons of talking and a fair share of yelling... all in Chinese... Nolan and I didn't really know what was happening at this point. What we did know was that hours earlier we had missed our connecting flight from Guangzhou to L.A. - a flight that only takes off three days/week - meaning we were going to be stuck in China for two more days! We finally get off the plane about 11:30 pm to have dinner (dinner at nearly midnight!) and then have wait an hour+ to re-board another airplane for a 2:00 a.m. departure. We arrived safely in Guangzhou about 5:00 a.m. and checked into the Pullman Hotel around 6:00 a.m. and booked two rooms for two nights. As I settled into the most wonderful bed I have ever slept in (maybe it was just the pure exhaustion), I had 45-minutes of peaceful rest before Nolan knocks on the door and tells me he has booked us on a different airline, heading home through Tokyo and Detroit and that we need to head back to the airport ASAP. (Oh, how we hope our travel insurance picks up the cost of these flights!!) This was actually quite comical, as it took longer to check into our hotel than we were actually in our rooms.

So, after more than 30-hours on four airplanes (plus another 16+ hours spent in multiple airports), we made it HOME!!! Home to the arms of a very happy Mia. Oh, what a wonderful feeling. Kara was acting reserved around Mia at first, but it didn't take long before Mia had her wrapped around her little finger. Nolan and I were physically and mentally beat when we got home, but the girls wanted to run around the house and play. Although I wanted nothing more than my head to hit the pillow, it was a wonderful sight to see.

We had a really nice day today, although our bodies are still adjusting and four of the five of us are exhausted. Kara is doing great and just keeps saying "Whoa" to about everything. The girls played outside, went to Nolan's office, rode bikes and played Wii. Their giggling together is just wonderful.

Thank you again for all of the prayers for our safe travel. We felt them all along our journey. Our travel wasn't without incident, but it was safe, and that is what matters. And we are finally home... as a family of five.
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Todd said...

Wow, sounds like you had quite the ride coming home, you are right about getting home safely, that is all that truely matters. Looks like 3 peas in a pod. Welcome home.

Julie L. said...

Oh my!!!!! Traveling can be SO FRUSTRATING! But, it is OVER and you are HOME HOME HOME! :) I will be coming to C-bus in about 2 weeks, so I'd LOVE to get together! :)

Jules :)

Heather said...

Michelle! Oh my golly...I cannot imagine what you have been through the past few days, UGH! Praise God you had some really amazing travelers with you...yea for Leila and Kara. I LOVE the pics of your three beauties together! Congratulations to you and Nolan...you have a simply lovely family.

Our love,
Heather, et. al

Sarah said...

oh my! What a CRAZY story. I can't imagine being stuck on on a plane with NO AIR, NOT MOVING, WITH NO INFORMATION for 10 hours. And I thought ONE HOUR was bad! God bless the USA, for sure!

Love the Wii pics!

Missy said...

First and foremost, WELCOME HOME!!! Adoption (travel) isn't for the faint of heart, huh? After you get rested up, maybe you can have a little laugh. Life is short and you are living it to the fullest.
I have prayed for your precious family and am sooo happy that God's will was done. Nothing makes me happier than seeing your three beautiful girls together. Rest my friend! So happy for you all!

Alyson & Ford said...

What a terrible flight experience. Enjoy being home and catch up on your sleep!

Alyzabeth's Mommy for Nine Months

Faye said...

Hi Michelle,

I have been checking the blog numerous times a day hoping to hear you were home. I figured something was up. I am so happy you are safe and sound and everyone is going well. I will never again complain about my China flight. Yours just trumped it all. God Bless You!!!!
Get some well deserved rest my friend and when you come back to the land of no jet lag let us know because WE MISS YOU. Alex wants to see Mia's sister Da Xin Kara and has been asking about her every day. She can't wait to see Mia and Leila too. What can I say, my daughter and I have great taste in friends.
I miss you and love you, my friend. Can't wait to see you all.


Felicia said...

Bless your heart you had it going and coming back home. I know it was super frustrating but glad you are safe and at home.

Love the pics of your 3 cuties together.

Sherri and Todd said...

All of that just to get home, how frustrating that can be. Thank God you were traveling with good children. I'm not sure how I would handle such a thing.

But WELCOME HOME!! the pictures are adorable girls all dressed alike. I hope that you get plenty of rest. And i'm looking forward to following even more and all the new things that come your way.

GOD BLESS you and your beautiful family.


Steffie B. said...

Just got caught up on all your adventures......the way home.....OH.MY.GAWD.MICHELLE!!! You poor thing....all of you.....I pray that the next 2 weeks that you can re-adjust and get back to feeling normal......and that K begins to feel at home and you all bond as family!


Stacy said...

Hey Michelle- WELCOME HOME!!!
I am so sorry for all the trouble with flights. I think I would have lost it the 10 hours on a runway! Get some rest and when you are up to it, we'd love to meet up and meet Kara. So glad you are home safely!

Norah said...

That was hard to follow! Wow. I'm very happy you are home and safe. I hope you feel well rested ASAP!

Julia said...

Oh good gawsh Michelle, I can't even imagine how horrible that must have been on the plane for 10 hours - what a trip! SO happy to see the photos of all three of your girls, and hope by now you and your pillow have had a happy reunion. :-)

Gail said...

Welcome home my friend...so happy to see your post. What a trip home, thankfully it's over and you are back safely. The pics of your 3are precious! Take it easy and catch up on your sleep when you can.


Jewels of My Heart said...

Welcome Home!
What a traveling adventure that was!
Makes you appreciate home that much more I am sure.
The girls are so beautiful and those smiles outshine the sun.
God bless you,

Tanya said...

Welcome Home to you all! How wonderful to finally all be together in the comfort of home. Thanks for sharing your journey!
Tanya Molitor Zubryd

Dawn said...

WELCOME HOME!! Where do you ever find all of these great matching outfits, especially including the big girls and Mia?

Loren said...
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Rebecca said...

Oh my WORD! Well, that puts my travel incidents in their place. :) Your story tops them all Michelle. Wow! I'm glad you all are home safe - you've been in my prayers - and how delightful to see the pics of the three girls together!!! Have you been getting lots of monkey hugs??? :)


Marla said...

So glad your home safe and sound and a family of 5. We have to plan a get together soon, I cant wait to meet your lovely family.

Tisha said...


My,oh, my!!!!!! It may be a LONG time before you can look back on all of that and laugh. At least, you will have bragging rights to one of the worst travel experiences in history. ;) You poor things!!!!

Like everyone has said, at least you are HOME! The pictures of your three daughters are so endearing. What was once a dream is now reality! Congratulations! Mia must be over the moon to have her family back home with her. Thanks for the update. Get some rest and we will look forward to hearing from you again. We'll keep the prayers coming as you settle into your new normal as a family of five!


Anonymous said...

A family of five!!!! But, oh my how that travel must have been umm - not sure i have the word ;)

How great to see pictures of your THREE DAUGHTERS!!!

It has been so wonderful to see your family grow and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I continue to keep you in my thoughts, especially for Kara's attachment and transition to her new, wonderful life:)

With JOY, Ashley

JG said...

So happy for you! Those are three beautiful little girls you have there!

Courtney said...

Wow, what a trip. So glad you are home. Love the pictures of all three girls!

Kim said...

Welcome home Michelle - wow, I've got to hand it to you...I would have completely lost it on the plane on the runway for 10 hours in July in China with NO AIR. Ya'll were probably praying the whole time! The girls all look so precious together...
Can't wait to hear what Kara thought of her new home and that gorgeous room you created for her.
Get lots of sleep and concentrate on doing nothing for the next week!

mommy24treasures said...

so glad to hear you made it home. Praying you feel strong and back to yourself quickly. I know it was so good to hug that little Monkey of yours:) Love

Joe and Jane said...

Oh I LOVE seeing all the girls together!!! Glad you are finally home. What an ordeal!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I will never, EVER complain about the two hours we sat on the runway in Tokyo on the way home with the Tongginator. (Security issue - two passengers sitting in the row in front of us were finally escorted off the plane.) I'm so sorry about your experience - sounds horrible.

And how very wonderful to see all three of your girls together!!!!!

Donna said...

Next time I start to complain about internation travel snafus, I'm going to think of you and count my blessings. Seriously, I can't imagine 10 hours on the runway. I hyperventilate just thinking about it!

The kids are beautiful! Love the matching dresses!

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

OH MY WORD....what a goings on to get back home!! I am glad you are all home safe and sound.....and what a wonderful sight...your three beautiful girls playing W*ii in their matching PJs.....almost brings tears to my eyes!!!

Get some rest and enjoy your family:)


Amie@WildOlive said...

WOW!! SOOOOO glad you are home. So thankful for safe travel even if it was crazy. And THAT WAS CRAZY! But glad you are safe and sound and all together. PTL! Can't wait to hear more aobut What M thinks of K and what K thinks of M. and what she thinks of her room. Can't wait to hear it all.

Welcome home dear friend!

Lots of Love to you and your gang!

Kris said...

WOW, what an ORDEAL!!! Travel insurance SHOULD cover that for sure, hope they do!! SO glad you are home safe- love love love those pics with all 3 girls in matching dresses and having FUN together! Adorable!! Bet Mia was thrilled to pieces to have you all home!!!

Amy in Arizona said...

Wow!! What a trip!! We had an almost riot on an airplane in China too, but luckily ours was only delayed 3 hours. But I am glad you are HOME!!! I have loved following your journey and am so in hopes that in a few years we can also adopt an older girl in China. They really pull at my heartstrings. I can't wait to read more about her adjustment!! WELCOME HOME!!!!

Somewhere In The Sun said...

Okay, you certainly have won the award for the worst flights to and from China!! I'm so glad you are finally home safely. I hope you can get some rest too!


Crystal said...

I read this the day you posted but was at work and couldn't comment!

Wow, so sorry to hear about the horrible traveling experience but so glad you are hope with your beautiful new daughter!

Hope things are continuing to go well and looking forward to hearing how it's going!

P.S. LOVE the pictures of all 3 of your daughters together!!

Sarah said...

I love the pictures of your beautiful girls and i'm glad you are finally home safe.

Leila is tall for her age, isn't she?

Can't wait to read more!
Greetings from Germany :)

Shirlee McCoy said...

I'm glad you arrived home safely! We actually met your family in Guangzhou. Our daughter was the busy little blonde sitting in front of you at Lucy's.

Your girls look like they are having a blast together!

Terry said...

Welcoome Home to your family of five! Sorry to hear about your travel, but glad to see everyone safe and sound! What a story ~ absolutely loved all the pictures!
Your daughters are beautiful!!!

Jill said...

Oh Michelle! What touching pics of the 3 of them together!
Hugs, Jill

Colleen said...

oh my goodness what a horrible trip home : ( I bet you are still exhausted!!!
The picture of the girls is just adorable!!! Are they playing Mario kart? My girls love that game!!!
I love that they are all getting along!!!
Thank you for allowing me to follow on your journey I loved it!!