heading home, what an adventure

What a leisurely morning it started out to be. We gave our water and extra noodles that we didn't use to Anita and Nick. (miss seeing y'all!!! - hope everything is moving along) I spent the morning packing, John spent the morning searching for a bungee cord to tie up our stroller with. I don't know why any company would ever make a stroller without something to lock it together with. Kind of dumb. Bungee cord is found down one of the little side streets. And he found these very cool silver coins about 3" in diameter, it's called a Tael. Looks like they are worth a lot more than the $3 he paid for it. It's made out of different precious metals, weighs 1.3 oz, and Of course we wish we would have bought more of several things, this included.

I finished packing with about 2 hours to spare. John wasn't feeling too good so we were just praying for the medicine to work and for God to have mercy on him during this long trip home. I've been really sick on a flight before and it is noooo fun. Our driver from our agency, Danny, showed up about 15min early so we loaded the car and kids, and John checked us out.

Danny even came in and helped us get checked in and talk with Jace more. He was quite upset because he realized the plane would take him to America. Danny waited with for about an hour I guess. Our plane was running about 30min late. Going thru security was easy, except that John forgot to take out the camera that we had sent to Jovi. We're not sure what will be on it, or what will come out, we'll just hope for the best. It is a really nice airport, just like Laura said. After hoofing over to our gate, we learned our plane was going to be even later. So we just sat and let the boys watch the planes. During our sit a woman came up and asked if we minded if she prayed in the corner behind us. I said no, but it was curious to watch the boys. Jace of course slid over on the window seat (not really a seat, but they sat on it) and watched her then started talking to her in Chinese, asking her questions. My guess was that she didn't speak Chinese. After she finished, another lady came, older. She had something white in her hand and I thought it was a prayer list, but it turned out to be white paper that she put on the floor and then would bow down on. Very interesting to see. After awhile John went to ask something and we learned that the real waiting room for gate 5 was actually 1 floor down. Yes, there was an elevator, but ugh, we had to turn the stroller sideways to get it in. I panicked at first thinking I wouldn't be able to get it back out since only me and the stroller with boys fit, but then realized the other side opened too. Duh. But it was a very. small. elevator!

And when the doors opened, holy smokes! There was the waiting room filled with a lot of people. A lot. And they all wanted on our plane. So we got in line where all the other people were with kids. Did you know that American flights no longer let people with kids pre-board. Nope, they make you wait right along with everyone else. Anyway, while we were standing and waiting, they announced another delay. Would you believe that by the time we got on the plane it was 2 hours late!!! We were so unsure what would be waiting for us in California! As it was we only had a 3 1/2 hour layover until our flight back home! Once we got on the plane just shortly after take off they brought the bassinet for Jovi to sleep in. I had heard that only 20lbs and 12 mos could use the bassinet, and I told the stewardess I thought he would be too heavy. It said on the outside 16kg for the weight limit, so at 24lbs he was good to go. Within about 30min of takeoff or maybe 45 both boys were fast asleep! I didn't know how well Jace Levi was going to sleep since he was in the seat, but we piled pillows around him and he did ok. Jovi's feet hung outside of the bassinet and thankfully he slept away too! But John and I didn't fare so well. How do you sleep when you're so uncomfortable and you have 2 little kids that you have to keep an eye on? You just don't. John said that when he noticed I was asleep he stayed awake, as best as he could. But I only slept about 4 hours. Both Jovi and Jace Levi woke up about 1.5 hours before the plane landed and thankfully both were in good moods! It took us about 30 minutes to feed them but after that they both sort of watched the kid shows on the EVA tv. No need for our own videos.

BTW, it was interesting. We loaded videos and music on our ipod, but I think John watched 2 movies, and other than that we never used them. Maybe because it isn't part of our daily life habits? I don't know but it was nice to have them if we wanted them.

Once we landed at LAX it was a mad dash. One I will NEVER forget. We knew we had about an hour to get thru immigration, get the luggage, then customs, then to terminal 4 to get our AA flight home. Have you been to LAX? Have you come in on an international flight? We knew we weren't going to make it. Our plan (my plan but John went with it) was for John to get off the plane and get to immigration as fast as he could. When I finally got off the plane with the boys there was no elevator. Well, there was, but it wasn't working. My choice was the steps. An entire flight of a lot of steps, with me, a diaper bag, a stroller, a backpack and 2 boys. Then an LAX lady came by with someone in a wheel chair. I asked her what to do and she said she didn't know. But another mom had 1 child in a stroller too. So we followed her. She put her card in a door (it and the windows, all glass, we could see her) and she and the wheelchair and person went thru it and she slammed it in our faces! We hollered at her and told she couldn't just leave us there and needed to help her. Of course now as I write this days later I'm thinking about the ADA law and that it was the responsibility of LAX to get us thru there. No we weren't disabled but seriously, who would leave 2 moms loaded down with stuff and kids stuck. About right now I'm seriously starting to panic because John has our passports and the adoption stuff, and I have the boys and no passports. Squat that says who we are. Mental note: never separate like this again! So she came back, swiped her card, and then let us thru and told us to hurry up before the alarms sounded because she wasn't supposed to be doing this and she could get fired and blah blah blah. I had no pity for her at all. maybe I should have but she did slam the door in my face. We were in a sort of office place with no one in it. Then she went thru another door, put herself thru it, then opened it again for us, because now she couldn't leave us in the sealed office, right? Thru that office, past 3 other guards that could have cared less, and to an elevator. And the whole time she's seriously trying to get away from us. And our kids aren't crying, we're all 5 quiet. We get to this elevator and she tells us to hurry up before the alarm sounds cause she's going to get in trouble blah blah blah. There was no alarm on the elevator, it was just a regular elevator, she just pushed a button. When we went down 1 floor it opened into the room where immigration was. We turned the corner and I started scanning for John. I think my face showed what panic I was feeling. A lady came up and asked if she could help so I told her what I needed and that John was here. I finally found him and bless his heart he was almost at the front of the line. I had to call him out of line and over to the correct line where adoptions are processed. We were the only family!

When we came home with Jani it took the immigration 1 hour to do our paperwork. The other trip we came in thru the Delta terminal and they took maybe 30 minutes to process us. It wasn't long. There were 4 guys there and we were just standing there, they were eating, and just ignored us. So I asked "is this where we're supposed to wait?" and he said "yes, just a minute and someone will call you." Apparently they didn't process adoptions. So as I relayed my hunt for John to John (and cried from exhaustion and fear) a 5th guy called us to come forward. We found John's cell phone and called my brother to relay the bad news that we most likely weren't going to make our flight home and would have to spend the night in LA. Not something we looked forward to at all. While talking to him, the immigration guy said "Ms. Smith, Jeri Smith" and I said 'yes', and he said "you're all done, welcome to America, have a great life". Can you believe that! It had been less than 5 minutes. Hallelujah! God was really listening. Oh, btw, we had also been praying without the other one knowing that people would help us get to our plane or that our flight home would be delayed. Both happened! Seriously. =)

While I was waiting with the boys they let John go past so he could get our luggage. I ran over to him, we consolidated the luggage to 1 cart and away we went! We flew right thru customs and asked a lady which way to American Airlines. Out the door and the left she assured me. WRONG! No AA in terminal 3, so we had to go back past the international terminal and then to #4. I was dead tired at that point. Pushing luggage was easier than pushing the stroller o' boys. When we finally got inside I remembered that if your luggage was tagged you could just check it in with TSA. YES! Score 1 for Jeri! Woohoo! We found a departure board and learned that our next flight was now running a full 40 minutes late!!!! Thank you to everyone that happened to be praying for us on Friday! We didn't have time to eat at Chili's and I could only look at it and remembered my trips (I hate Chili's and we only eat there when we're at LAX). We did grab chicken nuggets at Burger King. And a bag of mini teddy grahams at a store. And we sat for maybe 10-15min before boarding our flight.

Jovi slept on the flight home, Jace Levi whined all the way. It was fun. You should have been there. When we landed we were the last ones off the plane, but we were also towards the back. I bet my brother and Jani and Adam thought we were never coming. But then, there they were. Man, my kids never looked so good. I hate leaving them, but will always do what I need to do to complete our family. It was about 1am by the time we left the airport. And we were hungry. So what else do you do at 1am, you find a place to eat. IHOP or Denny's...we chose Denny's. It was 4:30am by the time we crawled in bed. We were exhausted.

I'm sure we have some pictures, but I don't know where they are currently. But at least now you know about our flights. See, I can't make this up!

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

wow how crazy does that all sound. i bet you were soooooooooo wore out. I am glad you guys made it back safely. Jeanie