Sunday, September 28, 2008

The LONG journey home!

Ellie enjoying her first meal with her new family at home. It felt so good to be back together again- all 8 of us! Thank you Father for safe travel and for reuniting our family.

First night at home and ready for bed. Thankfully Ellie slept all night in a pack n play in our room.

The journey home was long and mostly uneventful other than a huge problem at the very beginning in Guangzhou. Our travel agency instructed us to have our seats assigned when we checked in on the day of our departure. We almost missed our flight out of China because it was not an easy or quick task for the Northwest agent to assign all 5 of our seats on all 4 flights back to the US. We stood at the counter for over an hour and prayed. I was so afraid we were going to miss our flight. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity and after watching all the other adoptive families head towards the gate, we had our seats assigned and could proceed through customs and security. We asked two Chinese gentlemen who were ahead of us in the security line if we could go in front of them. Thankfully, they both agreed which probably saved us from spending another day in China. Fulton, the girls, and I ran ahead of David who was still trying to get through security. We made it to the gate after everyone else had boarded. A very kind Northwest agent who knew what we had just endured told me it was ok and that they would wait on my husband who had all of our boarding passes. I was almost in tears at that point. David finally made it and then we boarded and had only 3 seats rather than the 5 we had paid for because only 2 seats were together, and we certainly could not let Ellie or Lilly seat alone . Several kind passengers offerred to help by switching seats. The flight attendants could not believe the situation we were in and were very kind and compassionate. They said it was unacceptable, and they wrote up a report and instructed us to file a complaint and request a refund. Eventually, they worked it out so that we had 2 pairs of seats, but we were still one seat short for Ellie so she rode on my lap to Japan. Moral of the story: Do NOT postpone making your seat assignments. Make sure it is done in advance of the day of departure. After all of that drama, the rest of the trip was very smooth. Thank you Lord!
Ellie was a little overwhelmed when we arrived at home. This was the first picture in her new house although she was less than thrilled at this point.

Thank you Sharon and family for the decorations on our gate. We felt so loved and missed! Thank you to Hayley and her mom too for the balloons. That was SO sweet of you!

Our Ethan had been fighting the stomach bug for a day or two so he is looking a little pale here. He was so happy to see us and to meet Ellie. Hopefully, the worse was over before we arrived home as I can not imagine dealing w/ a stomach virus sweeping its way through our new family of 8 while we are still recovering from jet lag!
Our family was so happy to see Lilly again too. They really missed her as well as Fulton.

Shelby taking some pictures of her newest (and last - per her father:) ) younger sibling!

Supper on the run in Memphis. I was feeling very ill at this point so I skipped dinner. David enjoyed the BBQ which Memphis is famous for. I had to sit away from them or else I would have been in the bathroom. Thankfully, my stomach settled down before we landed back at home.

Lilly started sleeping in the seat and then squirmed her little self onto the floor. She slept so well until a flight attendant came by and said it was unsafe. Thankfully it was almost time to land by the time we had to wake her to get her back in the seat.

Ellie fought sleep for hours until I finally pulled out the Benadryl and held her in my lap. She cried because she did not want to give in, but after 5 minutes or so of pretty loud fussing she was sound asleep! Here she is having breakfast with Dad before landing in San Francisco and becoming a US citizen!


Cyndi said...

Welcome Home!!!! So glad everything went so well and you were all able to enjoy this trip. I will let things settle down then call you and come out to see you guys.

Hayley said...

Hey Bryants,
Since I didn't make it to the airport, my mom and I put the smiley face and welcome home balloons on your gate. WELCOME HOME!!!!!

Elaine said...

We're so excited you're home with sweet Ellie!! Sarah Mei looks at the photos of Lilly and Ellie, each day, on the blog and says "Meet Ellie and then shouts...LILLY" We were out of town this weekend, otherwise we would have loved to meet you at the airport. We'll pray for a smooth recovery from jet lag:)

Cousin Sheri said...

Ok-Aunt Lulu and I are waiting for a phone call this week.
Sorry Ethan got sick! Glad I left that Pac n play downstairs because I knew you would need it!

Bobby and Jennifer Barbee and family said...

Welcome home Bryant family, welcome home!!! We tried to work it out to come to the airport, but we couldn't get it together. So glad to see Ellie HOME! Hope the stomach bug didn't get all of you.

Danny and Rebecca said...

Welcome home!! Was great to get to finally meat Ellie in person! Try to rest before the week gets more hectic with doctor appointments. It was fun to meet your sister and be with your family waiting for your arrival. Your support and the love your family showered on Ellie and Lilly was touching to witness!
love, Rebecca and Danny

Sharon said...

We are so very glad that all of you are home! Bailey was so excited about meeting Ellie yesterday. Brinley just wanted to know why she didn't get to go and visit Ethan. I told her that we will all get together again soon and they can play for a long time. That made her very happy!
Call me if you need me to help out with babysitting as you take Ellie to all of her appointments.


P.S. Tell Fulton we hope he feels better and that the tummy bug will be gone soon!

Leslie said...

Hi! We have a Kunming daughter too! I just got caught up on your trip! Lilly is precious and looks to be fitting in well! I just wanted to say your post about giving your guide the Bible is so inspiring. We had some amazing conversations with one of our guides and have been praying so hard for her. She WORKED SO HARD for our family to be able to get our Susannah home and I just pray everyday that she sees God in Susannah's story as He was so evident. I think she did, but she said she just has a hard time believing like we do. So sad but your post inspires me to not give up and to just keep on praying for our guide. Glad your trip to Kunming was "eventfully normal" unlike ours! :) Leslie