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
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.
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".
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
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.