Thursday, July 3, 2008

Whew, Glad That's Over

Doc's back in the land of the living after 48 hours in the twilight zone. It's been a blur since we woke up at 4:15am Wednesday in Guangzhou, checked out of the White Swan Hotel, and headed for the airport. We ran the usual security gauntlet after checking our bags and getting our boarding passes, then waited for an hour or so before boarding a plane bound for Tokyo.

The plane was full of Caucasian families with newly adopted Chinese babies and children. We had run into most of them along the way in Guangzhou, either in the playroom at the hotel, or on the street shopping among the many tourist-oriented shops on Shamian Island. It was fun to compare notes with each family regarding how long they waited, how old their child was, and where they're from. I always enjoy hearing peoples' stories.

The plane left at 8:30am and landed in Tokyo at 2:30 (but we gained an hour going west, so the trip actually lasted 5 hours). We said goodbye to the Peters and Ottenbreits, two of the three families we've been traveling with for the past 11 days. Gordon and Haruyo Wright and their little daughter Sumi continued on with us to Minneapolis.

Their last day in Guangzhou was spent fruitlessly trying to convince some evil bureauocrat at the Japanese embassy to grant Sumi a visa that would allow them to stay in Tokyo for a week to visit Haruyo's elderly mother. Gordon and Haruyo already had a visa in advance, but needed one for little Sumi. Alas, the E.B. said they would have to wait the usual 4 business days, which would have required that they sit around Guangzhou for 6 days before going to Tokyo. They decided to postpone that trip until Christmas and headed home with us.

Katie was an angel for nearly the entire trip, alternately sleeping like a baby (obviously) and playing with us. She didn't get cranky, even when mommy and daddy did. Once in a while she needed a walk up and down the aisles to keep her from fussing, but I guess that's reasonable, since we made several trips to the W.C. during the flight.

We cleared customs in Minneapolis, and when we came off the elevator and exited the blast doors from customs, the paraparazzi were in full force waiting for us (thanks to Kari Ottenbreit for the tip on using Picasa's slide show feature instead of uploading all these photos one at a time):

There to greet us at the airport were: Grandpa and Grandma, Auntie Sue and Uncle Jeff, Cousins Jenny and Joshua, Rev. Ed and Becky Tedeschi (Soulmate's pastor growing up who supplied all the photos--thanks a million, Becky!), Rev. Mike and Mona Shields (Soulmate's youth pastor growing up--both pastors are considered "family"), and Kathryn Bauermeister, our adoption coordinator and her three adopted Chinese daughters Emily, Lulu, and Zoe. Wow, what a reception!

We hit McDonald's for a late lunch, then stopped by Grandma and Grandpa's place to pick up our truck and a bunch of stuff, then headed up the freeway for home. I don't remember any of this, because my McD's chocolate shake put me to sleep in the back of the van immediately, and evidently Katie and I slept the rest of the 90 minute trip home.

I wish I could say it all ended happily ever after, but unfortunately, our first night home wasn't exactly what I had scripted. Soon after Grandpa and Grandma left, Katie became uncharacteristically fussy. We figured she was just cranky from the long flight and all the attention (mommy and daddy certainly were), but as the evening wore on and she didn't respond to any of the items on our short checklist (hungry? wet diaper? dirty diaper? sleepy? daddy's watch poking you in the back of the head?), Soulmate suggested I check her ears.

"Pishposh" said I, "I checked her ears before we left, and she didn't fuss at all with any of the airplane descents, so she couldn't possibly have an ear infection!" I guess I forgot what I often tell parents who come in to discuss tubes for their child's recurring ear infections: it takes less than 8 hours to go from perfectly normal ears to a full-blown ear infection with a bulging eardrum.

Doc ate crow again as he looked in Katie's right ear and saw a red, bulging eardrum. Fortunately I had begged the pharmacist to give me 2 bottles of amoxicillin powder to take on the trip. Having had no reason to use them on Katie or the other children, I was able to mix up a batch and dose her up. Since it takes at least 4 hours for the antibiotic to begin working, I knew we still had a battle to fight, and sure enough, she fussed pretty badly until 3am.

Doc doesn't sleep on airplanes, and Soulmate only slept a little while when I made her--she was worried that Katie would fall off the seat onto the floor, so I informed her that I was on duty for the duration. I held her in my lap and she (mostly) slept through "27 dresses", "Horton Hears a Who", "Definitely Maybe" (which Doc wished fervently that he could have slept through as well), and assorted episodes of "Cash Cab", as well as airline instructions on how to keep from getting leg vein clots. In short, by the time we dosed Katie with Amoxicillin, we had been up for about 33 hours straight.

Soulmate and I took turns rocking her in the "magic chair" (a little re-upholstered swivel rocker that Grandma used to rock Soulmate when she was a little tyke) until she finally went to sleep at 3am. I put her in bed between us, and we all 3 slept fitfully until around 10am. Soulmate couldn't sleep because she had caught the cold that Katie and I had, and she was coughing up a lung all night long. So she got up and unpacked most of the suitcases.

This morning Katie was much better, and has had 2 naps, the second of which continues now. Soulmate is also sleeping, so I’m not sure if they’ll both be up most of the night with time zone insomnia or what. I’ve had 3 single espressos throughout the day today to keep me going, so I think I’ll be able to crash when the time comes this evening.

We had a pleasant if short visit this afternoon from cousin Kristi, her husband Raul, his mom, and their 3 kids Ann Marie, Sabrina, and 3 month old Noah. They are on their way from Rochester to the farm up north, and stopped by for a first visit to the princess. Ann Marie has been very excited to meet her new “cousin” and give her a poster she made last week. Unfortunately, they left the poster behind when they left, so Katie will have to wait for the present until next visit.

There being nothing further to report, a motion is made and carried to post this blog and wait for the princess to awaken. Thanks to all of you who have been following our little voyage; I hope to continue regular updates as events or as least cute pictures present themselves. We appreciate your prayers and thoughts, and we can feel the love.


Dan Cleary said...

Welcome back my friend. Can't wait to sneak a peek when I'm up there in St. Cloud.

BTW, JBell invited me out with Mean Dawg on the Tues night ride. Worked me over pretty good but we had a good laugh thinking about your first ride back. Ha. Hope I can witness it.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Beth, Steve, and Baby Katie! We are so excited that Katie has joined the family! We know that God had Katie picked out for you and you for her long ago and His timing is always right. Thanks for taking us along on your trip with all the pictures and info. We feel like we already know Katie a little and it's obvious that you three are already used to belonging together. We love you and hope to see you soon!
Love, Sue, Jeff, Jenny, Joshua

Doc said...


Thanks for the welcome--back to MN and into fatherhood. You are invited to have an audience with the princess any time you wish.

Got out with Big Jim yesterday (hard) and today ("easy"). Recovery in order Sun and Mon, so I'm ready for the Tuesday ride. See you there?

Doc said...

Uncle Jeff, Aunt Sue, and cousins,

We have one more July birthday in the family, so a mass birthday party is certainly in order soon. Thanks for being part of the greeting committee on Wed.

Anonymous said...



Doc said...

Aunt and Uncle,
Thanks for your great support during our big trip. We are pleased to make our addition to the family tree.

Blessings to you and yours.