Louanne on Mar 22nd 2014
Here is the video I put together of Dani’s Gotcha Day. It was such a different (and more relaxing) experience to have her brought to our hotel room.
Louanne on Mar 17th 2014
Nadia loved this art Robot in the lobby.
We woke up with the end of our trip in sight! We got up and made sure that our bags were packed, and we headed downstairs for the buffet. After breakfast we checked out and waited around in the Hyatt lobby for the bus to take us back to the airport.
Nadia said she was the queen in this seat in the back of the bus.
The family bathroom in the Seoul airport even had a tiny toilet for little kids.
Once arriving at the airport we went to the Korean Air counter to check our seat situation and the woman said that 10 people bought tickets overnight, but the middle seats were still open with 2 hours to go. We got through security and let the girls play in one of the play areas inside the airport. We boarded the plane first with the other parents of small children and waited to see if anyone would take the seats in between us. They didn’t, so I did a little Snoopy dance in my seat! Our flight took off at 11:35 am on Friday the 14th.
Ready to get home.
Dani happily sat in the seat next to me for the entire flight. She only wanted me to hold her one time, but for the bulk of the flight she was content to sit and play. She slept for about an hour and enjoyed all the meals, snacks and juice that was offered by the flight attendants. She had three small crying fits/tantrums – two when I went to the bathroom and one when I didn’t cut up her tomato fast enough to feed it to her. Amelie sat in the row behind us with Mike and watched movies, colored and slept. Nadia sat on the other side of Dani and watched “Frozen” 6.5 times. She didn’t sleep at all We landed in DFW at 9:27 am on Friday the 14th, about two hours before we took off. We explained to Nadia about the time change one more time, but I would have rather just said the airplane was like the TARDIS. We got in the immigration line and after half an hour made it to an officer. He scanned our passports, took our brown envelope, from the consulate, and took us over to a waiting room. In the end it took us 2 hours to get through immigration because there were so many people who flew in around the same time as us.
This is what Dani thought of the wait after only having 1 hour sleep.
We were so happy to see Roger and Paula at the airport. They brought our car so we could drive right home.
First time in the car seat. She was asleep before we got 3 miles down the road.
We got home and the girls were thrilled to see all their stuff and their rooms. We took Dani into our room and just laid her down on a blanket by the bed. We didn’t want her to wake up in her room in a new crib and not know where we were. Then the rest of us changed into our PJ’s and took a nap too since it had been a really long day.
After naps we all went into the backyard to enjoy the sun. My friend Sarah and her girls showed up with fresh veggies, fruit and milk and had a little playdate for the big girls. Once they were gone we took Dani into the house to see her room and play in there for a while so she could get used to it. She was really cute checking out all the new stuff in her room to play with.
We had dinner and got everyone to bed. Dani screamed quite a bit in her sleep and jet lag woke us up so we brought her down with us to play for a bit. She quickly found the Radio Flyer car and had a blast giggling and laughing as she played. Then at around 3 am we tried to get back to sleep at least for a little while.
As always, I was SO HAPPY to be home. I was thrilled we made it through the trip with no one getting sick (a first for us on an adoption trip) and it was so nice to be able to sleep on our nice, soft beds. The girls were happy they didn’t have to worry about the tap water any more, which made me laugh and agree with them. To quote Mary Poppins, this trip was practically perfect in every way. We are so grateful for those who have followed along and offered prayers on our behalf.
Louanne on Mar 16th 2014
Goodbye China! Our last morning at the Garden.
We got up on Thursday morning and made sure everything was packed except the final stuff in our carry-on bags. We were amazed to see the sun trying to peek out from the clouds so we went down for breakfast and took the camera to try and get some outside shots. I told the girls to eat as much as they possibly could because we wouldn’t have time to eat again until we were on the flight to Seoul.
Dani wanted no part of this photo because sitting down was not her idea.
The Garden has two cool waterfalls and it was nice that we could see one of them from our room.
After taking some more photos of the Garden with the sun shining we headed back to the room to finish packing. Our guide Lily was waiting for us in the lobby to finish checking out and load up in the van. The girls had been asking for photos by the statues at the entrance and I almost forgot so the three of us ran back in while the driver loaded our luggage.
We got to the airport pretty quickly and said goodbye to the driver. He was really kind throughout the week and even though he didn’t seem to speak English he seemed happy all the time which was nice. Lily helped us get all checked in and walked us all the way to security. At the Korean Air counter we asked about the long flight home and getting two rows if possible. They told us there were open seats so they went ahead and booked us in the aisle and window again on two rows. They told us that we just needed to hope that no one bought the seats in between by tomorrow. I told them thanks over and over and that we totally understood, and we were on our way. We checked our bags through all the way to DFW so we wouldn’t have to touch them in Korea during our 16 hour layover.
Waiting to board our flight to Korea. I went into the gift shop to see how much the airport charged for Amelie’s Panda vest. We paid 70 yuan on the island (about $11 USD). They had it for 300 yuan (about $49 USD)! They also had a guy there making name chops while you wait. They were charging 380 yuan (about $62 USD) for the size we bought Dani on the island for 50 yuan (about $8 USD). Made me feel good about my haggling skills and I know the people on the island still made money
We boarded the plane and had 4 seats together in one row. Dani did fine sitting on Mike’s lap most of the flight. The only issues she had were if he moved her an inch or two to the left or right. The girls were excited to find Frozen on the in flight entertainment and they immediately plugged in their headsets. Korean Air gave all 3 girls a toy and we had lunch on the plane. Once arriving in Seoul we headed to wait in line for immigration.
The girls decided to chill out while waiting in line which made the other passengers laugh.
Once we got to the window and handed over the passports the woman was acting like she wouldn’t let Dani through on her Chinese passport even though we knew she could. Then Mike realized that I didn’t say we were “In Transit” – that was the key phrase to get us through. Whew. I was nervous there for a second. We went through customs after that with our carry on bags and worked our way over the the Korean Air customer service desk to find out about our hotel night. They had all of our documents prepared and the man at the desk said, “Here are your room vouchers and we also arranged for you to have dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.” I nearly started crying it was such a surprise. We loaded up on the shuttle for the Hyatt and once we got to registration they told us they had two rooms for us so everyone could have a bed. I was once again surprised and then she said she could give us adjoining rooms and that they would send a baby bed up. After they brought the bed for Dani we headed down to eat at the buffet which was delicious. They even had a cake and gelato bar which we went back to three times.
We went back to the room and got ready for bed since we had PJ’s in our carry on and the girls were just so excited that they had their “own” room. I was SO thrilled that we had a hotel room to sleep in to break up the travel home and wish we had been able to do something like this on prior trips. I was so excited to think that we would just have one flight and it would go straight into our home airport.
Louanne on Mar 13th 2014
Before Jaime and Chris left we tried the group shot one more time and Dani looked at the camera. Yeah!
Today started like all the rest – with the breakfast buffet. Nadia told me, “I am really going to miss the buffet when we go home. At home I just have to order from you.” HA! We wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens like we did on Amelie’s trip, but the weather just didn’t cooperate this trip. It was foggy and misting rain all day long. After breakfast we took the girls exploring around the Garden Hotel and took a lot of photos which I am going to put up as a separate blog post. It’s a really cool hotel with nifty decorations.
The girls pretending to take reservations at one of the Garden restuarants.
Our suite had a shower and bath set up that is one big area that you can close off with a door so I put them in the room with Playdoh and let them have at it. The big girls had a blast and Dani was going between looking through the window at them and coming back over to wherever Mike or I happened to be. I started looking at what we needed to pack and googled the cost of overweight baggage on Korean Air and knew we needed to buy another bag. We walked over to Subway for lunch and then I haggled with a street vendor to get us a new bag. We ended up with hot pink which thrilled Amelie and she asked if I bought it for her.
I love Dani getting in the mix here with her sisters. I asked them to try and get all the plastic off our new bag.
First shot of them all looking at the camera (sort of).
After the girls had a long nap they got up and we decided to brave giving Dani a bath in the sink. Our first 2 tries were a major fail because she was hysterical. Even just washing her hair was an ordeal. But we pushed through this time and by the end she calmed down a bit. A little while later I put both big sisters in the tub and she watched them through the window laughing, but didn’t want to watch when they were getting their hair washed. It’s one of the hard parts of being an adoptive parent – you just don’t know what they have been through in their short lives and why things freak them out. But we just keep on loving and trying to help their sweet little hearts.
I went over to the Trust Mart before dinner because I didn’t think we had enough diapers to make it home. What an adventure that was! Complete with a family of beggars desperately trying to get me to give them money saying, “Baby hungry. Baby hungry.” Sure, as if I am going to open my wallet in the middle of a busy China street. The craziest thing at the Trust Mart was that a pint of Hagen Das was $13 USD!!!!! Once back from my trek in the misty rain I heated up water and we had noodles and other food in the room and I set to work packing the bags with Dani’s help. Then it was time for bed on our last night in China.