Once we landed in Beijing, we had to get our luggage and take everything to a different part of the airport to re-check in, re-check our luggage and pass through customs again for the international flight home. The airport was a mad house. We waited in line for an hour for one elevator. By the time we got to our gate, we had only thirty minutes wait before they started boarding. So much for the six hour layover!
The flight home was thirteen hours. We left at 7pm Beijing time and landed about 8pm Washington DC time. It was glorious. I didn’t realize how much I missed America until I nestled into my padded blue seat, buckled up and saw the unavoidable TV screen 18 inches from my face. Once I got a diet coke in my hand, I was home free! (Note to the reader: there was coke in China, but no diet coke—only in Beijing. Considering the body mass of most Chinese, the diet version is unnecessary.)
We landed at 8pm, but by the time we got through customs and drove home, it was well after 11pm USA time. This was 11am China time, so rather than force the issue, we let the kids all bundle together in the living room and watch movies until they fell asleep. NO one slept much. I was so glad to be home, it was all I could to not to lay on the carpet and roll in it like a dog. Thank you God, for my home! I love it here!
People often ask how we can handle having a houseful of kids with special needs and not go crazy. One of the answers to this is that we have great friends and family who help us out all the time. Our refrigerator was gloriously stocked with food on our arrival and we had a steady stream of meals coming from our church, bible study, neighbors and friends for almost a month. Another friend of ours mowed our lawn, built an awesome set of bunk beds for the girls room while we were gone, painted them and set them up for our arrival. We have four girls in one bedroom at the moment and without those beds, it would have been really tight.
We also have babysitters that our kids LOVE and are able and willing to come at a moment’s notice. The same Cindy who picked us up at the airport had been living at our house with Ruslan and Will for the past month. I don’t know what we would do without her. She is so much fun to be around, I don’t think Ruslan and Will missed us at all. She also cleaned our house from top to bottom, waxed the floors, washed every bit of cotton fiber in the house (including the doll clothes), and repaired things I didn’t even know were broken. I don’t think my home has been this clean since the last time we traveled and had a house sitter. Some people talk about moving every few years to ensure proper purging. I need to adopt every few years so that my house gets a good cleaning.
So, you may have noticed that it’s been a few weeks/months since my last posting. This is because we have had a rough time settling in. It’s not as bad as those first few weeks with Ruslan and Will, but it has been busy. We all spent the first week in the throes of jet lag. We had 13 hours to shake off, so it took a few days. We also had a stomach bug make its way through the family. This was somewhat of an irony, since we’d just spent a virus/bacteria free month in CHINA, but overall, I’m grateful we were sick in the states, with a washer and dryer handy, rather than in China, where I was doing laundry in the bathtub. Another complication was that both QingBei and ZiXuan regressed in their potty training. I know this was typical, but that knowledge didn’t make it any less annoying. All in all, it’s safe to say I spent the month of June swimming in a river of my kids bodily fluids. I think my couch cushions have been on the back porch as many days as they have been in the living room.
A final complication was that Bill has been travelling a good bit since we got back. He had a few triathlons. The first was on June 8 (yes, our first day back), which made me happy, because I get to call him a lunatic over this. He also had a bunch of business trips/classes that he had to attend so he was gone for about half of June, with triathlons on the weekends. It’s better this way. There is always a few months of insanity when we first adopt and he doesn’t really deal well with chaos. He is a wonderful, amazing man and I am lucky to be married to him, but there are some situations that he just needs to bypass entirely. On the flight home, I was able to watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory that I’d heard so much about. Of course, they were rated “G” episodes, since this was a plane. I found out later that the show is not all I had hoped for. However, if you have ever watched it, I can explain the situation fully using their handy visual aide: I married Sheldon.
Things are quieting down now. The girls have settled into our routine and we are deep in a maze of medical/dental/physical therapy appointments. Laura has an CAT scan on August 2. After that, we’ll start scheduling the surgeries. I should post again in about a month.