May 19th – 25th: Home at Last
Our journey home started at 5:30 AM on Thursday May 19th. As we were getting on the bus, we were informed that we were getting an early start because the first flight of the trip had been cancelled! What?? We were hoping to get another flight to Tokyo, but there might not be enough available seats. We all had pits in our stomachs as we envisioned having to spend an extra day in China, at some unknown hotel, without interpreters. Luckily we all were able to arrange a flight through other airlines, and we all made our connections in Tokyo to make it home. Sadly we did not get to personally say good bye to a number of families that we had traveled with for those past two weeks. We seemed to get scattered with all the re-booking and the few that remained with us, got scattered again when we arrived in Tokyo as many of us had different connections. Additional screening delays made the 2 hour layover vanish and our flight back to the US was boarding as we arrived at the gate.
By the time we reached Philadelphia, we had been up for 28 hours. Amanda had generally slept on the planes, and had been awake at the airports. She was coughing fairly frequently and had a diarrhea episode just as she was to became a citizen of the United States. We think the smell of the diaper may have expedited her paper work and getting her out of the immigration office.
In Philadelphia, we stayed at a hotel with plans to drive the four hours home in the morning. As we put Amanda into the crib and turned out the lights, we looked forward to 8 hours of deep sleep on the soft mattress. But an hour later, Amanda awoke screaming, hot, with a high fever. Anytime we tried to put her down, she screamed. We took turns sitting up through the night, holding her. Her cough had worsened, and she was irritable. We thank God that she hadn’t become this ill while in China, because we would have been required to stay in China until she was improved. In the morning she was in a little better spirits. We had been concerned about how she would handle the car seat, but she accepted it just fine and promptly fell asleep.
Family members greeted us upon our arrival home. Amanda was tired and irritable, but finally became her usual chipper self later that evening. With nighttime, though, she had to be held to sleep, or she would cough and scream. Over the next couple days she slept a lot and had irritable times as well as very active pleasant times. Her long times sleeping do seem to have helped her adjust to the current time zone, and her irritability is improving as her bronchitis has improved. We’re seeing more of our happy little girl.
Our four cats are usually quite suspicious and scared of any visitors. But maybe the two weeks without us have changed them a little. They’ve all been hanging around, observing this new little creature who seems to be settling in. A couple of the cats have been willing to lie close to her and let her pet them. Amanda squeals with delight when she sees the cats, and enjoys “chasing” them as she hangs onto our hands and walks. The cats seem to like the squeaky shoes, being able to tell when she’s coming after them. So far she’s rather harmless, since the cats definitely are faster than she is. Just wait until she can walk and run on her own!
The first afternoon when Amanda was feeling a little better, we took her outside to experience grass (for the first time?) and see the horses. She enjoyed walking in the yard, plopping down occasionally to sit and feel the grass. She was both intrigued and scared of the horses, especially Boots who sniffed her as his long whiskers tickled her legs. She would pat his nose, then laugh and curl up against me. Baron, the other horse, was scared of this new little creature! He hasn’t yet let her pet him, but he seems to observe her with intrigue. Some day when the weather is better, we’ll have her riding Boots with me. She’s accepted everything else so well, that she’ll probably just add riding to her list of experiences.
Our new life begins……
Again, we’ll post a few more pictures of her with her new surroundings and reaction to the critters when she is feeling better and the weather is nicer. Of course feel free to contact us.
When we checked into our hotel room that first night in Beijing, we were given a gift of flowers and with it a card with this verse of scripture. We thought it would be a fitting closing.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”