Our trip home started at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon (EST), 5 a.m. China time. We had already packed the night before and had little to do the morning we left but to set the luggage out for the bellhops to pick up and take downstairs. Our van left at 7:00 a.m. on a beautiful morning in Guangzhou.
We arrived at the Guangzhou airport, said goodbye to our wonderful CCAI guides and easily made the flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai. We arrived in Shanghai around 11:00 a.m. We had to pick up all of our luggage and transport it around the airport until 3 p.m. because the Delta flight was not scheduled to leave until 5:45 p.m. and they won’t take your luggage at the counter until a couple of hours before your flight departs.
This is a picture of our checked luggage, doesn’t include our six carryon bags.
We were able to grab a quick lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I hope to do a ‘funny food’ blog at some point with pictures but one of the annoying things about eating in China is that, for the most part, bones are left in the meat and you find yourself pulling bones out of every single bite. This meal was no different.
All my girls! 🙂 Waiting for lunch at the Shanghai airport.
Once lunch was finished, we found ourselves a spot and waited. And waited. And waited. Until we could drop our luggage, get our tickets and make our way through another inspection. At the Delta counter, they informed us that our flight had been delayed getting out of Detroit and would arrive in Shanghai an hour late. The boarding process was a zoo, it took them forever to process our passports and the girls were quite fussy. While at the Delta counter in Shanghai, I went ahead and had them switch our flight from Detroit to Louisville to the later flight. I am thankful that I did because we would not have made the flight on time and it was cancelled!
Once we got onto the plane, April and I were already using our ‘bag of tricks’ to get the girls to stay calm. We were loading them up with suckers, Cheerios and any other candy we could to get them to stay quiet. I informed those around us when we got onto the plane that we had just adopted the girls and I apologized in advance for the lack of sleep they’d be getting on the 13 hour flight. 🙂 Everyone was so gracious! April, Grace and Hope sat in the three seats ahead of me and Faith. When I sat down, a wonderful gentleman sitting in our row asked how he could help. He offered his aisle seat and took the window so that I could walk with Faith through the night as she fussed.
We wound up talking quite a bit before takeoff. He asked me where I lived and worked. He said that he had been a longtime PNC customer for both his business and personal accounts. I told him that I hoped he would still remain a client in spite of the miserable night that he was getting ready to have! Again, he was so gracious. He said that he would not be bothered with the little ones at all.
The plane was delayed again sitting at the gate. The pilots couldn’t get a push back because there were other planes ahead of us. Our original 5:45 departure was now pushed back until 7:30 p.m. and we had been at the Shanghai since 11:00 a.m. Shortly before takeoff, the stewardess came and offered my new friend and row mate a different seat. I’m sure he was quite relieved, I was too because now I would be able to put Faith down and she could stretch out if I could get her to sleep.
The flight from Shanghai could not have gone any better. April and I were most concerned about the 13 hours with the girls. It was grueling for us on the way to China without the girls. Throwing in a couple of toddlers that had only spent ten days with us, you can imagine why we were concerned. The Lord was so kind to us. I know that many had been praying particularly for this part of our trek home and the Lord gracious to hear and answer. Faith slept nine of the 13 hours, Hope eight of the 13 hours. I was able to put Faith in the two empty seats beside me and she slept like a champ. April had to hold Hope the whole time but was able to get some rest while she slept. I didn’t sleep a wink but was able to watch a movie or two. Also, Graceann did very well on the flights home so thank you for your prayers for her as well.
The moment our plane touched down in Detroit, the girls became U.S. citizens. It was so good to be on U.S. soil! We made it through immigration and customs and then had to wait at the Delta ticket counter to recheck our bags. I scanned Hope’s boarding pass at the self service kiosk and it told me that our trip had been ‘interrupted’ and printed off vouchers for the evening at a local hotel and restaurants. You can imagine the sinking feeling we had anticipating that we wouldn’t make it home for another night. Another kind Providence, it was an error.
We were able to make it home. We were greeted by our children, family and friends. It was a very sweet homecoming – the trip was so exhausting and to see loved ones faces was wonderful. Again, we thank you for the many prayers on our behalf. There was a very real sense of our being upheld before the throne of grace. I will post another blog later about how things are going since we’ve been home. Just briefly, we are struggling terribly with sleep. Faith is sick, their time clocks are in total disarray. Any prayers in that regard would be appreciated. But – we’re home.
Much love to all.
Part of the welcoming crew.
My sweet boys.
One weary mama!
Grace and Faith