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The Long Ride Home
Home Our Adoption from China Family Photo Album Jaclyn's Adoption Story

The Start
A Flurry of Paperwork
The Long Wait
The Referral
The Second Referral
The Incident
On to Beijing
Tour of Beijing
The Day Everything Changed
The Adoption
Shopping Nanjing
Touring Nanjing
Leaving Nanjing
The Long Ride Home


The Long Ride Home

We were on the bus the next morning, Christmas Day, before dawn and breakfast.  We went to the airport, passed through immigration and on to our plane.  The group would be splitting up here, but most of the group would be traveling with us to Tokyo. Amanda took a brief nap on the four hour flight to Tokyo. When we arrived, we again had to go through metal detectors before we could go to the lounge.  Our layover was about an hour an a half long. The snack bar did accept American currency, but change was made in Yen. The beer was reported to be good, I had a hot dog, it didn't taste bad, but it was more like a polish sausage.

We boarded our flight to Detroit, found our seats and asked about the bassinet. The flight attendant told us that our baby was too big, that it would only hold babies to 15 lbs. Ginger, politely but firmly told her that she had checked that out and that the weight limit was 35 lbs.  Thankfully, the attendant went and checked her manual and came back with the bassinet.  Although Amanda did not really sleep in it, it got her off of Ginger's lap for awhile.  A couple of hours into the flight, Amanda started to cry. She was tired, but would not go to sleep.  The activity on the plane and the sounds made it impossible for her to sleep. After several hours and several attempts by different people, she finally went to sleep for about an hour. She woke up fresh and bright, and climbed from the bassinet to Ginger's lap and back for over two hours, annoying the people behind us that wanted to watch the movie.  I was just thankful that she was no longer crying.  We played with toys, with books, paper. We took walks around the airplane. It was an incredibly long flight.

We arrived in Detroit a little late. We claimed our bags and went past the agriculture inspector, then to the customs inspector.  He took our declaration form and asked why we had been abroad, I answered "To adopt our daughter." he smiled and said, "I thought as much, Merry Christmas!" and waved us through. Next stop was Immigration.  We got into the immigrant line. A lady noticed us and ask if we were "An adoption", we said yes and she had us go into an office.  We presented our packet of information to an Immigration Officer, we chatted briefly and he typed into his computer, moments later he stamped Amanda's Chinese passport, wrote in her "A" number and wished us Merry Christmas.

K6B.JPG (58328 bytes)As we left the security area, we were greeted by our friends from Detroit.  They had a banner welcoming Amanda, balloons, and a stuffed Santa Claus.  We sat and talked, took pictures and relaxed a bit.  From here, I could drive home if I needed to.  We were back in the United States with our daughter.

After we visited a while, we said goodbye, our flight should be leaving in a while and we didn't want to miss it.  We rechecked our bags and started for our gate.  We noticed that our flight was not on the monitors.  When we got to the gate area, Ginger asked a gate attendant. "Oh, that flight was changed, it now leaves at 5."  We had several hours to wait for the flight. We took turns watching Amanda while exploring the airport. I eventually laid down on the floor, using the diaper bag as a pillow and fell asleep. My body and Ginger's penning Amanda in a human play pen. I was rudely awaken by a foot stepping on my arm. A guy in a hurry to get around the crowd at a gate walked right over me.

Eventually, the plane for Columbus was boarded. It wasn't a full flight so we could sit Amanda on a seat. Ginger changed Amanda's clothes into a red Christmas outfit.  We knew our relatives would be at the gate to meet us.  As we walked off the Jetway, my mom ran up to me, hugged me, and whispered in my ear that news crews were there, so I could be "ready". We Welcome_home.jpg (14436 bytes)were not expecting the 2 TV news crews. Our arrival was carried live on the six o'clock news.  After hugging Mom, Dad and the in-laws, I gave interviews with both stations.  After 26 hours traveling, I couldn't even spell Amanda's Chinese name. Amanda was very tired and wouldn't let anyone else hold her but Ginger.  We not only had family there, but coworkers and their families were also there.  Ginger's father had made a banner welcoming Amanda.  One of the news crews followed us to the baggage claim area and caught Amanda smiling and giggling as Ginger carried her. Making a long day even longer, the airline was short handed. We had to wait for an airplane to be deiced before they unloaded our baggage. Finally an hour after we arrived, we had our bags and were on the way to our home.

Ginger's parents had prepared a Christmas dinner and our families sat down and enjoyed the food.  By then it was 8 o'clock and the day, for us, was 33 hours old. I opened the suitcases and fished out a couple of our prizes as well as some of the photos that we had developed at the White Swan.  We adjourned to the living room and Amanda opened a few of the presents waiting for her. We called several relatives and a few neighbors stopped over to visit briefly. A close friend had sent a welcome video, so we watch that, then put Amanda to bed. My family left for their homes and Ginger's parents stayed the night.  We were the top story on the 11 o'clock news and went to bed after our story aired.



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Copyright 2001 by George Keller. All Rights Reserved.