Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2006 HOME!

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Ruth 1:16

Well, here we are on Dec. 20, 2006. It's about midnight here in China and we leave for the USA today!!! I probably won't have a chance to post in the morning, so this is my post for the day. We are leaving at 6AM for the airport. We go from Guangzhou to Beijing, Beijing to Newark, and Newark to HOME!!! We land at 10:48PM! If anyone is still awake then... we'd love to see you at the airport!

Thank you for following on our journey. It’s been quite the journey, filled with ups and downs. But we have our baby girl, and we couldn’t be more pleased. She is absolutely perfect for our family and I can’t imagine life without her! The plane ride should be interesting. Hopefully AC will sleep and maybe I can get some in too…………. But after undergoing a total of 30 hours of traveling (we leave at 6AM today and get home at 12PM on the 21, China time) our girl will be in our house sleeping in HER crib, which is in HER room. She’ll be an American citizen and can do anything she wants. She’ll be an American girl, and a sweet one she’ll be!

I'm not so ready to be home, but it sure will feel good!

Love you all and can't wait for all of you to meet our sweet angel!!!!!! Come see us at the airport!

Love to all and thank you again for being a part of our journey to AnnaClaire. Next posts will be in HOME UPDATES!!! See you there!

and the rest of us

Flight info:
Continental Flight 3070, arrives home at 10:48PM

Thank you Jesus for bringing us home safe and sound!

WE ARE HOME, and boy does it feel nice! At 5AM this morning, we got up. We got boxed breakfasts and our group left at 6 on the dot. We got to the airport soon after and said goodbyes to our wonderful travel group. We've already planned a reunion! 2 families are staying longer, so 9 of us were at the airport. 6 flew to Hong Kong and 3 to Beijing. Our flight was at 9:35 along with a family in our TG, the Cox'. The Dagenbachs had an earlier flight to Beijing because their flight out of Beijing was earlier. Ours wasn't until 5PM! All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR THE COX' and... THANK GOODNESS FOR FONTANA! I don't know how we would've done it without them! Fontana flew with us to Beijing because she lives there. It was so nice having a guide guide us through we were to go! We sat at the gate for awhile. AnnaClaire was very sweet and really liked playing with Fontana! Our flight was on time, which was nice. It was pretty crowded 3 hour flight. AnnaClaire did well. (I think. I can't remember, it seems so long ago!) We arrived in Beijing and Fontana brought us where we were to go next. She had to stay behind there, but luckily we had the Cox' to be with! We found where Continental was but no one was working there! There was a very friendly young American man there and he told us the Continental office didn't open until 2! How annoying! And, we were trapped! If we left the Continental place for food and stuff, we would have to fill out paperwork to come back in! So we waited and waited. We talked to the man and he had been in China for 16 months! He teaches English at a school there. He was so sweet with AnnaClaire and Sara Beth. He asked where AnnaClaire was from and it turns out he has friends working in Chenzhou City! He was very into the adoptions and told us he really wanted to teach English in an orphanage, but he wasn't allowed! Finally at 2:00 exactly (don't you get so annoyed when the workers are standing there but don't open until the exact time?) they started checking bags. Dad was very near the front of the line, so we got through fairly quickly. We met some more people in the airport and they were all so excited about AnnaClaire and Sarabeth. We then got in the long security lines. Security was terrible there! It was very easy for Will and I, but the Cox', Mom, Dad, and AnnaClaire were in different lines and had a terrible time! The workers were just mean! They were pushing poor Sara Beth through the security thing and almost confiscated AnnaClaire's bottles that didn't even have anything in them! I was surprised they didn't take away our 4oz bottle of benedryl! We got to our gate around 3:45 so what was a 5 hour layover was now 1 hour and 15 minutes to get food. We went across the street to an American/Chinese/Japanese/Korean cafeteria type thing. It was pretty bad. It's called Bisun or something?! They had a Starbucks next door, but for some reason even though there were frappichinos on the menu, they wouldn't let me get one. By now, AnnaClaire was in her last diaper. Greatttt... Dad hunted and hunted and finally asked. In the entire airport, there were no diapers. How annoying! The Mrs. Cox lent us a pull up and we just hoped AnnaClaire would not go to the bathroom much. We met a lady VERY interested in adoption. I mean VERY interested as in asking Dad for an AWAA business card! She had been thinking about it for awhile and after seeing AC, was ready to start the process! I thought that was so neat! After security came to our gate and rechecked all our carry ons, we finally got to board. Praise God it was an empty flight! We had rows 41 and 43. No one was sitting in the middle seats of either of our rows. Oh my gosh, it was so nice being able to spread out! Most of the rows only had 2 people and some only 1! A very empty flight compared to our over crowded one on the way to China! Right as we were about to take off, the captain got on the intercom and said that the Chinese officials hadn't approved the plane to go to the US yet and we would have to wait. They said they didn't know how long it would take and would let us know. We were all worried that we'd miss our connecting flight. Needless to say, 5 or 6 minutes later, we were taking off~no explanation. At first, Mom and I sat together and Will, Dad, and AC were behind us. But shortly after, Will and Mom switched. I listened to my ipod and stuff and slept for 2 or so hours, woke up and watched a movie and slept for the next 6! When I woke up, there was 1 hour and 33 minutes left! What a treat! Wow the ride home went so much faster than the ride here! Mom and Dad said they had a tough time with AnnaClaire. I think she only slept 3 hours! Luckily for us, Mom found another family with a baby who lent us diapers. Good thing, because AnnaClaire had bad poo on the plane! For part of the plane ride, we had a baby party! There was a little area in the plane and I went over there to play with AnnaClaire. A father with his daughter from China (who we actually saw at Lucy's once and at our swearing in ceremony!) joined AnnaClaire and then a mother with her 7 month old (from China) came over as well! We had a little "party" and the girls had fun together. The party ended when the missy had a poopy diaper. Then they made us fasten our seatbelts! That was before I fell asleep, so you know how the rest of the flight went already. We landed in Newark around 5:45 and went to the immigration place. We had been told that after getting her passport stamped, AnnaClaire would become a US citizen... A woman got us out of the LONGGGGGG line and starting helping us. She asked how many adoptive families were on our flight (7) and pulled every one of them to the front of the line! How nice! She stamped AC's passport but told us that she was only a US resident, not yet a citizen... Hmm, I've read it on lots of websites that they are citizens when they touch US soil AND at our swearing in ceremony, we were told the same thing. So, I'm not sure if AC is a US citizen yet or not. The lady told us we should get a paper in 45 days telling us she is a US citizen. We then went on to get our luggage. It all made it! WOOHOO! We rechecked it which was a very easy process and then proceeded to our gate. We found diapers, thankfully because AC was now in the last one we had been lent! So we changed her and then were on our way to find pizza! There was a place that served UNO right by our gate, so we went there. Oh, how good REAL AMERICAN pizza tastes!!! It was delicious. Danny's Bagel's pizza is nothing compared to that! We went to our gate and took AnnaClaire out of the Ergo. She was so cute and got tons of "SHE IS ADORABLE!"s from the other people waiting. Our flight was delayed about 30 minutes and we finally boarded around 9:15. We got on the plane and they quickly boarded us so we could get going and maybe be on time! We taxied around and then the captain got on the intercom and told us we were 28th in line for take off and it would take another 45 or so minutes!!!! UGH! We were SOOOOOO ready to get home at this point. There was a friendly man sitting next to us who was actually on our Beijing flight. We talked with him and about 30 minutes later, the captain got on again and told us that we were 5th in line for take off and would take off shortly. About 10:05, we took off for HOME! We had called Drew and told him we were delayed and it was looking like an 11:40 landing. The flight was okay. AnnaClaire slept the whole time (in the Ergo) and I dozed on and off. I don't think Dad or Mom slept and Will took a few naps. About 20 minutes before we landed, AnnaClaire woke up. We looked out the window, which she loved. The flight attendant kept coming over and admiring her. She is just so cute! We landed at just about 11:40 but then had to wait for a ramp! We got off the plane and went to the bathroom to change AnnaClaire into her Chinese outfit for "coming home"! I proudly held her and when we got to an area just outside of baggage claim, I was stunned!!!!! Drew and his best friend, Laura, our neighbors-the Pughs, Mrs. Schwarz, Mrs. Towery, Mrs. Kallander, and friends Mrs. Huber and Mrs. Edmisten (also adopting from China) were all there waving balloons, signs, and flags! I was honestly just expecting Drew. I also knew the Pughs were coming because one car wasn't enough with all of us and all the luggage! I am so amazed at the kindness of these dear friends to come greet us so late! We stayed at the airport until 12:40 just talking and showing off our newest family member. All our luggage made it which was another blessing. We packed it all up and got in cars to come home. We didn't even try AnnaClaire in the car seat. We knew she would just scream the whole time! We'll do the car seat the next time we go out when it is day time and it's not such an overwhelming time. We got home just after 1 and there were more blessings! Our yard is COVERED in pink ribbon. There are balloons and an "IT'S A GIRL!" sign. (THANK YOU HUTTS AND PUGHS!) Our refrigerator was stocked with food, and there was deserts waiting on the counter. We are so blessed with the most amazing friends. Our precious friends went all out to make our homecoming special. I have always dreamed of our "coming home with AnnaClaire", but I had never dreamed of it to be this awesome. The neighbors stayed for a little and then left. We gave AnnaClaire her first bath at home and she didn't want to get out! We changed her and Mom rocked her to sleep with a bottle. We talked with Drew for awhile. It is so nice to be home as a family of 6! Now we just need our dog, Maggie, home! I'm not so sure how AnnaClaire will react to that. Or maybe I'm more worried about how Maggie will react to AnnaClaire. It is now 3:40AM. Of course the time I am used to, it is 4:40PM! I'm not really even tired but I'm going to try to get some sleep. I think my camera is downstairs and I don't want to wake AnnaClaire, so I'll add pictures tomorrow. I miss China and I really love it, but it is nice to be home. It has been a really long day with over 31 hours of airports/flying, but WE ARE HOME!!! I'm going to go brush my teeth with tap water..........

Love you all!
Thank you to all of those who made our homecoming so special. We are blessed so much with you all!

Kisses from CHARLOTTE,
P.S. sorry if there are any spelling errors... I’m kind of out of it…

UPDATE: last night went great! AnnaClaire slept in her crib and woke up at 3:30AM. She fell right back asleep and Dad said she woke up again at 9:15AM. Will got her out of her crib and brought her in his room and she fell asleep. Dad put her back in the crib and she woke up at 1PM! I woke up at 1:15, Drew at 1:40, I don't know it Will even went to bed. Mom is STILL sleeping. Dad and I played with AnnaClaire and fed her some egg and she fell back asleep at 1:50 and Dad put her in the crib. She is sleeping there now. I enjoyed some donuts that were left in our fully stocked refrigerator. YUM! We are all exhausted. Enjoy the pictures!!! There are more, but I didn't snap pictures at our homecoming, so I'll have to get the rest off of our greeter's cameras!

Love to all!

Oh did I tell you, THE HAIRBRUSH HAS BEEN FOUND!!! In China, we searching and searched through ever suitcase. Well, I was going in AC's suitcase to get out some pjs, and the brush was in it!!!!!!!! yahoooooo
All day I kept thinking, "It's been a year." AnnaClaire has officially been home for a year. It really does shock me. How is it that it's been a year. For a year she has been an American citizen, for a year she has been HOME. December 20, 2006 at 11:40PM, AnnaClaire came HOME. We woke up early and ate breakfasts on the bus. It was really sad being with our TG for the last time, heading to the Beijing airport. We said goodbyes right when we got there, because us and another family flew back to Beijing, while everyone else flew to Hong Kong. It was really nice being with Sarah Beth and family. We had the same flight to Beijing and the same flight to Newark, so that was fun. We had more fees and waiting before we got to our gate. I remember eating the delicious Chinese mandarin oranges at our gate. We talked to Sarah Beth's family and compared stories of our gotcha days. We were also on the same flight as Fontana (one of our guides), who was extremely helpful. It wasn't long before we got on the plane and flew to Beijing. We had anothe rlong wait there, but thankfully we had Sarah Beth's family. This is when the infamous diaper story happened. Of course, I've told it so many times I'm sure you've heard it. We had yummy starbucks and lunch. I also remember talking for awhile to a lady who was so interested in adoption. We gave her AWAA cards and she told us how she was going to call right when she got back. It was awesome telling someone. She was soooo interested, too. After a long wait, we got on the flight to Newark, the long one. While this was a great flight in my opinion (slept the entire time with 2 seats to myself and watched movies) it was not so great for Mom and Dad. It was nice that the flight was empty so we had 6 seats. AnnaClaire didn't sleep at all though. There were about 4 other adopting families on our flight and we had a little party and all talked for awhile. That was fun. AnnaClaire and Mom did laps around the airport for a lot of it too. Over 14 hours later, we finally landed in Newark. Right upon landing, we knew we were in America. The smell. We waited in a line and got passports and stuff stamped. We got diapers and ate at California Pizza Kitchen. We also waited in the longest security line. It was insane. Finally we arrived at our gate... but just our luck, our flight was delayed. So we sat at our gate for 1.5-2 hours waiting. AnnaClaire did love going up and down the escalator. Finally we got on our plane and the Bu slept the whole time. We waited a long time taxing, because we were 27th in line. That was harsh. Finally we arrived home to all our friends waving signs. We landed just before midnight. Out friends our so good to us. AnnaClaire was home. God is SO good!!

AnnaClaire, officially one year ago, you came home. We went on "the big airplane up in sky" as you would say... and we came home. We landed to all our friends, our support, by our side rejoicing that you were home. It was the best feeling ever, to see that crowd of people there for us. Big signs, American flags, and all. You, Will, and I rode home with the Ps and our neighbors came to our house, where we were greeted with a huge "ITS A GIRL" sign and pink streamers.... all for you. We walked inside and our house was packed with food. Our friends are so good to us! You explored the house while we all chatted and then you took your first bath at home. We were finally home. It would be awhile before you were on a schedule... but you were home. I can't believe it's been a year. Sweet, precious girl... what would I do without you in my life? I love you more than words can describe. ~Sissy


Robin said...

happy one year together horner family :-)

Holly said...

Great post. I enjoyed your China recap. Home Sweet Home! No better place to be!

Elise said...

Can't believe it has been a whole year already. Some days the waiting seems to be so long but then when I think about was just yesterday that your beautiful angel joined your family. Have and amazing Christmas and before you know it your sweet Kate will be with you all!!! Thanks for the Christmas card, I just got mine out this morning so you might get ours after Christmas, sorry;)...I am just catching up:)