We are home! We made it into Detroit Tuesday about 6:30 and boy were we tired. I can say without hesitation that the journey home was the most difficult, even traumatic part of our trip. Shall I give you a rundown? Oh, why not. We arrived at the airport around 10 for our 12:30 flight. By the time we made it to passport control I think we had already shown our passports 5 times to various people along the way. Sounds simple enough, but with a 3-year old and various carry-ons, it gets tiresome digging in your purse so often.
At passport control the lines are long, as expected. V. is doing great at first, then of course, she gets fussy the longer we wait. Then it gets interesting. We see 2 men casually walking up to the line, the front of the line, like where we're at. They actually edge in front of us. Excuse me! We've got a fussy little one here and we're in front of you. Well, if I've learned nothing from my time here, it's you've got to be a little pushy sometimes and this was one of those times. So, like a protective mama, I emphatically said 'nyet, nyet' and pushed our stroller ahead of them. That was not gonna happen. As V's cries got louder the nice lady in the booth called us to come up ahead of a few people, for which we were thankful.
Then through security and we're done. Now we wait. The thing about being here that, even though I was warned about, I still wasn't prepared for was being the focus of attention wherever we went. Because V. has Down's syndrome, people felt very free to stare at us/her. And I mean stare, not a brief look, but a prolonged stare. This was especially noticeable in the airport as we waited for our flight. I guess since people had nothing better to do, they focused on us. I got to where I would stare back until they met my eyes, then I would smile. But you know what was behind my smile - a momma-bear instinct that says 'stop staring at my kid!'
Finally it was time to board our flight. V. actually did great for about the first half or so. She played quietly in her seat and appeared to enjoy it, especially the take-off.
Then things got quite difficult for a while. There's nothing like trying to soothe an exhausted, tired-of-sitting child who doesn't speak your language, and is not completely comfortable with you in a confined space surrounded by strangers. I have such bad memories of that trip that I don't even care to go into much more detail than that here.
Finally we touched down in D.C. Yay! we're back on American soil, and people aren't staring anymore - but we're not home yet. We got out as quickly as we could because last trip we missed our connecting flight and we really wanted to get home. But, immigration was much longer than last time. Things were not looking good. Probably 45-60 minutes later we made it to the front. We gave the officer the necessary papers then sprinted to pick up our bags.
We found them but hold up, we're stopped by another officer. 'Are these your bags?' 'Uh, yeah.' 'Our dogs sniffed something on your bags. What do you have in there?' 'Uh, clothes.' 'Anything else, got any fruit?' 'I don't think so, just normal stuff.' He questions us a little further until I guess he's satisfied that we're not some kind of smugglers. Then when he finds out we're going to Detroit, he wants to talk about the Lions! We're trying to be nice, but inside we're thinking, 'Holy cow! We're going to miss our plane.'
He finally lets us go and we sprint to security. Thankfully the line there is not too enormous and we're soon at the front when another person tries to cut in front of us! My normally extra-accomodating, super-courteous husband flatly refuses. We're moving at lightning-speed throwing our stuff in the bins. We're through - the officer tells us 'Good job.' I just love the words of affirmation after they run you through the wringer.
Now we're literally running to our gate and hear them paging us. They will shut the doors in one minute. We make it just in time. Oh my goodness! We're tired and so stressed and my muscles are shaking from the exertion. Gabe even drops his passport going down the walkway to the plane. Thankfully, the United agent brings it to us.
We find our seats and settle in for the quick flight home. Gabe makes the comment, 'I feel something warm. I sure hope her diaper holds.' He checks. He's, ahem, damp. We both just start laughing hysterically. A fitting ending to a not-so-pleasant trip. So, I, at least enjoyed the last leg of our trip when V. slept soundly half of the way.
So, I say all that to say, everything you've heard about the post-adoption trip home is true. Of course, we thought we were somehow going to have the best trip ever. We had prayed, after all. But sometimes in adoption and life you just have to tough it out and wait for things to be over. And if you can laugh about some of the bad things that happen, you'll be much better off.