We arrived in Grayson, KY around 2am EST on May 2, 2016. We started the journey in Hong Kong on May 1 at 8:30am, local time. My brain can’t even do the math on how many hours we ACTUALLY traveled, and what it FELT like with the time changes. We basically did Sunday twice because of crossing the International Date Line.
The journey went: Hong Kong to Seattle to Atlanta to Lexington, then driving home to Grayson. Yes, we live in a small town. No, there are NEVER direct flights anywhere. We are used to this, but our poor Mia was just worn out!
We were first concerned with the initial 11-hour flight to Seattle, especially when Mia fell asleep in the airport before we even took off. We were armed with baby melatonin, just in case. We had heard about other families enduring the airsickness fun, so we brought along extra clothes for everyone in the carry-on backpack. Thankfully, Mia was pretty well-behaved for quite a while. When we did finally give her some melatonin, she slept for about 3 hours, giving this mama some needed rest as well. Daddy watched a lot of movies.
After she awoke, we had to find ways to entertain her. Her orphanage did have a tv and would show movies on occasion, but not often enough that they hold her interest at all. Bummer. She also did not like listening through earphones, so #doublefail. We brought along books and got her a Princess Sofia coloring book/market set. She loves to color and draw and that would be awesome, however, she drops things like any two-year-old does, and then became very upset when they fell, got lost, etc. She also has the attention span of a newborn puppy. Round two of melatonin was soon on its way. We could only give her 3 tablets in 24 hours, so we really needed this one to work as well as the first. Mom and Dad were getting pretty tired and needed to rest, too. It took MUCH longer for her to go to sleep this time, and only for about 1.5-2 hours. The biggest thing is that this kid sleeps HARD, but fidgets. She will spaz out while totally asleep and we would have to move her back so she wouldn’t fall off the seat. Mia no likey. All in all, she did VERY well on that first, super long, flight. I got about 3 hours of sleep total and John made it his goal to stay up and endure the long travel day and adjust at home later.
Welcome to America. Customs and immigration were just ridiculous. At first, we were told that we could go in the US line, because John and I had US passports and Mia had Chinese. When we got up to the check-in area, it was all automated through machines and I figured this was NOT going to work. Yup, we had waited in the wrong line. John was thrilled. We had to go around to the Visitor area and cater to our little one bearing the Chinese passport. Thank God that the workers spoke English! We were never more happy to be on US soil and not have to charade our way through the process.
Next, we went up to the holding tank to get Mia’s papers stamped with approval to make her an “official” U.S. citizen! I would have remember the name of this area if my brain wasn’t already completely gone with lack of sleep jet lag craziness. Anyways, the people there were SUPER nice and very excited about our adoption. Mia was happy for snacks. The paperwork went through in minutes and they congratulated us and off we went to baggage claim and re-entry by TSA for domestic travel. Joy of joys…the lines.
We were starting to wonder if the 3-hour window was enough time to get through and make our next flight. It seriously took FOREVER. We got through security and almost lost John’s phone (thank you, kind sir for the heads up), and tried to navigate through the large airport to our gate. Once we got to the gate. we had limited time. I took Mia to the bathroom, and we had a bit of an “accident.” Those big people toilet seats do not allow for little legs to stay closed very well. Yup, she peed on her pants WHILE on the toilet. I’m pretty sure she is a genius for making that even possible. Note to mama: make sure her legs stay CLOSED on the potty. Sheesh. Good thing we had our emergency puke clothes on hand. Back to the gate to get the clothes. Back to the bathroom for a baby wipe bath and change of pants. I was more than grateful her socks and shoes were saved. I washed out her pants and went to a duty-free store to ask for a plastic bag. I think they felt sorry for me. And of course…the stares. Yes, I called her my daughter. Yes, she is Chinese. One thing remains, whether you are in HER country or OURS, there is ALWAYS the staring. Good thing she is incredibly adorable!
The second flight was the hardest one. Seattle to Atlanta. It was five hours long and Mia was NOT at all wanting to be buckled. Oh, the horrors! We bribed with lollipops and Chinese bread, like any good parents do, and got through the long take-off and landing with crazy levels of anxiety, never knowing how much she would scream at even the THOUGHT of being under the constraints of that buckle. She slept about an hour out of the five and our entertaining ideas were growing slim, as we were exhausted as much as she was. But–we made it.
Flight number 3 was the best. She slept. Praise God. Honestly, I can’t complain too much about the whole day. She never threw up, she WAS entertained some by that darn coloring book set, and mostly we just couldn’t get her to sit down because she was smiling and waving at all the passengers around us. I’m pretty sure the University of Kentucky baseball team was on this flight. GO CATS!
We are always forever grateful for our friends, Mark and Sandra Deakins, who were our airport shuttle going and coming. They stayed up till midnight to bring us our car, and did everything with a hug and a smile. God is good!
The drive home was uneventful. I was already awake with my body having NO clue what time it REALLY was. Mia was so sleepy she did not fight the five-point harness! John’s brother was awake for some odd reason, and offered to talk me on the phone through the drive home and keep me alert. Thanks, bro.
Around 2am, we finally got in and got Mia into her own bed. She was SUPER excited about everything in her room and I thought she might want to play with that dollhouse for longer than I could handle. I coaxed her into bed and left a nightlight on. I stayed in there until she fell asleep and then left her room and our room doors open with nightlights, so she could see we were right there. Around 3:30am I woke up to hear her playing with the dollhouse! She wasn’t upset, so I just listened and stayed quiet, hoping she would go back to sleep. She did and we found her sleeping on the floor right by that dollhouse this morning.
John and I got up around 6:45 so that we could catch the boys before their alarm went off at 7am. We didn’t want them charging into her room with hugs and kisses and excitement that would make her cry in the corner. Owen got up first and came to us, quiet as a mouse, SUPER excited to see us and meet his sister. It literally felt like Christmas morning. We let him go in and he kept his distance and whispered and waved to her. We all kinda whispered for a while as she woke up. Camden came in and respectfully did the same. I am so proud of both of the boys for being so kind and gentle with her and letting her lead the pace. The dollhouse was still her favorite, but she came out of her shell when the boys showed her that the van played music. Camden started dancing to the beat and she laughed that awesome belly laugh we love. It was pure joy watching our children interact.
She still had only seen two rooms of the house! We took the morning very slowly and played for a long time before even getting breakfast. John’s mom was still here and we talked with her about the trip and Mia warmed up to her at the very end before Patty left. By mid-morning, all three kids were playing like best friends. It was truly awesome to see. The boys are so kind with her and really try to help her and gently correct her as needed. We could tell right away that Camden and Mia would be the two that will fight, with their similar personalities, but that, too, is almost entertaining to watch.
I worked out and then we got ready for the day. We were invited to a Facetime call with people from Show Hope and we were told through that video chat that we are going to be awarded a $5,000.00 grant for our adoption costs! They expressed their gratitude to our family for participating in the 20/20 campaign and said that their financial goal was met! While we have already come home, of course, the final costs for the trip were taken from our personal savings and pretty much every penny we had. This grant is a God-thing that will give us that emergency fund that we had depleted. It definitely requires a step of faith to drain your accounts for this process, but we knew God would provide, we just didn’t know how. What a blessing!
After that call, I put Mia down for a nap and got a few bills paid and things caught up since we had been gone for so long. I got the boys ready and headed to karate. We never thought anything about it. Halfway through Owen’s class I got a call from John with Mia screaming in the background. She was NOT a happy camper. Apparently, she thought mama had left her forever. I was honestly surprised that she was inconsolable with John, because he had been the favorite in our Hong Kong stay. John tried everything we could think of with no luck. At that point, she had been screaming for over an hour straight. I grabbed Owen out of class and headed home. Her tears finally went away when the three of us arrived home. It broke my heart.
During and after dinner, Mia was thoroughly entertained by her brothers and later led them around by the hand and giggled and laughed and tickled each other. It’s hard to believe this is real. PURE JOY. She has already hugged both of her brothers and given them kisses.
Bedtime was interesting because we were trying to keep the boys separate from Mia for shower/bath/changing, etc. Never having separate genders, this is our first go-around. The problem is they all want to be around each other and not separated. So, we had some naked kids running around as we tried to get jammies on them ASAP. And more giggles. Bedtime routine was good and Mia is excited to fold her hands for prayer, but usually doesn’t stay quiet for long. Apparently, she had taken to Camden’s Spiderman slippers and HAD to have them. Problem was, Camden wanted them, too. Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!! We tried to reason with the 5-year-old that he didn’t want to hear his baby sister scream and cry, right? Yeah, he didn’t care. Wasn’t giving in. I tried to put Mia to bed without the slippers, and Camden even offered Scooby Doo ones as a peace offering with no acceptance of such an offering. Cue wailing. I was trying to calm down the Spiderman lover in room 1, while Daddy tried to work some magic in room 2. I have no idea what happened, but Camden caved. Thank you, Jesus. I hate to make one kid give up what is rightfully his to give in to another kid, but…jet lag…remember the jet lag. Just go to sleep kids. Whatever it takes. As of now, they are all peaceful and donning their respective slippers in their respective rooms. I wouldn’t be surprised if Camden stealthily sneaks out of his bunk to try to retrieve his prize possession in the middle of the night. We shall see.
So ends Day 1 in the Harvey household. Tomorrow, we will attempt to have the boys attend school and see if the princess will allow her prince brothers to be educated away from her royal castle. Yes, it is a long post. No, this will not become a daily thing. Life resumes, and I just don’t have the time. I do hope to update as we go through this crazy adjustment period because if it helps just one other family, it’s worth it.
Prayers appreciated as we continue to adjust. I cannot tell you the power of prayer on our family’s life. I have truly felt God’s hand in every single step. We have been spared many uncomfortable and difficult trials because of God’s mercy. We are so so blessed. Thank you for joining us and supporting us on this great adventure.