Day 18 – Traveling Home

Sorry for the delayed blog post. Traveling for 26 hours from door to door will do that to you. We have been jet lagged and reconnecting with our other kids and figuring out what it looks like to be a family of six.

We started out our morning early, eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel at 9am and then heading to the airport. We were taking the same flight as four other families that we had been with, so that was nice. At the airport we went through “security” which was a bit of a fiasco again. I think Jess and I were the first of our group of 5 families to go into security and the last to leave. I guess the “security” in China just really likes us.

After a bit of frustration at “security” we had to go through another line, I think it was something about nationalization or something for traveling internationally (I don’t remember). We got through that line and then hit another “security” point (lots of checks for some reason), and then we were finally at the terminal.

The first leg of our flight was from Guangzhou, China to Seoul, South Korea, it was about three and a half hours, a nice warm up flight. One of the funniest things on this flight was that Samuel apparently decided that he needed to flirt with the ladies on board, specifically the flight attendants. Up to this point we had tried many times to get him to say “Ni Hao” (hello) to various people, but he wound never say it. But, on this flight, he started hanged his head out in the aisle to look for a flight attendant and then would catch their eye and say “Ni Hao!”. This boy is a ham and a half.

We had a good flight, Samuel did well and then we got to wait for a little less than two hours for the long flight home. In the airport in Seoul there was a playground, so we took Samuel (and the other families took there kids) there. Samuel didn’t so much play on the playground equipment as he just watched the other kids. There was a lot going on and he seemed to be nervous about engaging and getting out there. He did get about 20 yards away from us, which is the farthest away from us that he had ever been at the time, but that was about it. He just sat on the side and watched and sort of took it all in in his own independent sort of way.

The next leg of the flight was to Atlanta and it was just under fourteen hours. Samuel did great. He slept for more than half of the flight either laying on Jessica or sprawled out in the seat between us. He ate each meal well, slept well, watched a little cartoon or two (not much because he wouldn’t keep on the headphones to hear the cartoon, and really, how fun is watching a cartoon that you can’t hear) and played. Jess and I got very little sleep, but did manage to watch some movies to pass the time.

Then we landed and immediately got on our phones to let our family and friends know that we were on the ground. We got off and went through customs, got our bags, and headed out to see our family and friends. There was a huge group of people waiting for us!

As we walked out of the final security check point we could see the group waiting for us and I immediately looked for the other kids. They were off to the right and waiting patiently and then someone told them to run to us. Ruthie broke into a run first and we knelt down to give her a hug hug. I’m not sure if she was more happy to see us or baby brother, but she was certainly excited (and we were too). Then Ethan and Sara Kate run up and we got lots of big family hugs in. It was really a special moment.

Samuel was very excited to see his brother and sisters and there were excited to see him. As we visited with our friends and family at the terminal exit the kids would come up and see Samuel and hug him and kiss him and he loved the attention. At one point he let his big sister Sara Kate hold him and carry him around a bit, and then at another point I held Samuel and Ruthie and they just loved being together.

We headed home, and as we expected, Samuel hated the car seat. We had foreseen this as kids in China don’t ride in carseats, they ride in laps, and most two year olds hate to be confined. We had even warned the kids that Samuel might scream the whole ride home because we knew he would hate the car seat. As it turns out, we were right, he hated it, and screamed the entire 40 minute ride home. That was fun. Welcome home Walkers!

Now we are home, getting over jet lag and figuring out what it looks like for us to be a family of six. Yesterday was tough for me, but I think today is looking to be much better. All of the kids are doing well. Samuel is having a hard time here and there and is grieving a bit this morning, which is to be expected. All in all I think things are going pretty smoothly. More updates will come soon.

Adam

Don’t have a lot of photos yet, but we did have an awesome professional photographer at the airport to greet us. She has posts some preliminary photos on her blog here: http://tincanphotography.blogspot.com/2013/06/walker-adoption-homecoming.html