Jeana and I were up until 2:00 am this morning doing some last minute work for some adoptive families back home. We have accumulated quite the list of contacts in Moscow and wanted to use every last resource we could while still there to help those behind us. We are very encouraged by what is going on and I continue to believe that those families who would like to finish their adoptions will be able to. Yay for hope!
We finally slept for about five hours and just like clockwork the boy was up at six-thirty. I gave him a bath first thing, which was a happy surprise for him. I can't get over how much he loves the bath. He giggles and shouts and is just purely joyful in the tub. Unfortunately, you can guess how he feels about getting out! He is getting better about it though, not completely falling apart or trying to hit me anymore :-). This little guy has some serious emotions; this next year and beyond will be spent deeply involved in teaching him to trust in his family to be his soft place to land. He wants love and then he wants to push you away almost in the next instant sometimes. However, I'm thinking that much if this has to do with the fact that he's had to spend the past seven days cooped up in a small hotel room with his mama always right there. Even though we've kept busy and ventured out some, it would make me a little moody too.
Anyway, after his bath my next adventure would be to finish packing. I had packed most of my bags the night before, making a pile of non-essentials that could be left behind if necessary. I still needed to borrow a vacuum from the hotel for my space bags. And I needed another miracle for those suctioned space bags to fit in the two pieces of luggage I had with me, plus two small carry-on shoulder bags (yikes!). At first it seemed impossible, but after a bit of finagling I finally squeezed the last things in. I ended up leaving behind some diapers, one glove (the other gotten eaten by the second hotel in which we'd stayed), some toys I'd brought from home, two neon belts (don't ask), and some hand-warmers. Whew! The housekeeping staff probably got a good laugh out if that pile.
I had to use some shopping bags for carry-ons for Gabe to get the last things packed, but we did it, amazingly.
We got everything piled by the door and went down to breakfast. By this point in time, Gabe had become an expert on the breakfast buffet. When you arrive you have to sign a little card with your name and room number on it. Well, the past two days he's grabbed a pen and signed his own little card so seriously and official-like. He's finally won over the staff in the breakfast area, after a less-than-stellar first performance our first day there, poor kid. He saw his familiar chef again and motioned for him to come over and give him his chefs hat, which the chef lovingly did. When we left I thanked this kind man for being so sweet to my son and making our breakfast experience so much easier.
Okay! We went back upstairs, gathered our luggage and checked out. Hooray! Igor picked us up and by some uncanny ability managed to get all of our luggage in his small car. It was a bit like Jenga, but he did it.
The drive to the airport was full of traffic (no surprise), but we had given ourselves plenty of time to get there.
I had forgotten to email Brian before we left, so I called him to tell him we were on our way to the airport. Before I hung up I told him the next time I would probably talk to him would be in Los Angeles, and I surprised myself by getting all choked up just thinking about it! My emotions are at the surface these days, my defenses coming down a bit since moving out of "fight mode."
Checking in at the airport was quite the ordeal. Igor was so kind and helped us with all the luggage. When we hoisted my big bag onto the scales at check-in, the attendant immediately told me in Russian that my bag was too heavy. By twenty pounds!! I gave her a pathetic look and explained I didn't have anywhere to put twenty pounds of luggage! She took pity on me and my boy laying in the floor and let it slide. But when Jeana's luggage hit the scales, her eyes got huge and she seemed so exasperated! Jeana's was only a hundred pounds over :-). But again, she seemed to just want to get rid of us and passed her luggage through anyway. What a blessing! Can you imagine us unloading all this luggage in the middle of the airport, deciding what clothes to throw away? We are so glad we didn't have to do that.
Even with our big bags checked, we had two carry-ons for us and our kids, so it was quite a time getting ourselves to our gate. On the way there, we stopped to use the restroom and that's when we saw it: the departures screen that showed us our flight had been delayed by THREE HOURS. Are you kidding me? Seriously, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This meant we would miss our connection to Salt Lake in Los Angeles.
At this point Jeana was having a really hard time because she has a daughter at home who was just admitted to the hospital with RSV and pneumonia, and she NEEDS to get home to her baby. Also, we had arrived at our gate an hour early already, so now we had four hours to kill in the airport with these two. We had planned on them napping soon after we boarded the plane, but I guess that plan was too perfect to be.
Jeana got on the phone with her husband, at about 2:00 am Utah time, and told him our situation. He said he'd get right on it and call Delta to figure out what to do about our missed connection. We had hoped we'd be able to just take a later flight to SLC tonight. That didn't work out with how much time we needed at LAX to go through immigration with our kids. So we ended up with the current plan of staying the night in L.A. And heading out in the morning.
We had to buy lunch, so I left the kids with Jeana and found a place and bought two large sandwiches, four waters and a few potato logs. Price tag? $48.00!!!! Ouch. We had found a nice corner at our terminal that was lined with windows so the kids could watch the planes and all the goings-on outside while we ate. The rest of our hours there were spent walking up and down the terminal, coloring, singing, eating snacks, trying to nap (no success for Gabe), and just trying to stay sane!
Finally it was time to board. As I held Gabe's little hand while we walked onto the plane and down the long isles, I could feel him slowing down, wondering what on earth we were doing. But he wasn't afraid, in fact he settled right in to the seat where I buckled him and got him comfy with some pillows. He was as glad as I about finally getting this show on the road. We got all excited talking to the kids about going home to see their Papa's and meet their siblings. They were so cute, showing off their new "thumbs up" skills.
So here we are, halfway into the eleven hour flight to Los Angeles. Gabe is finally asleep, after much convincing and protesting. I am praying he'll sleep at least a couple more hours because I'm starting to wonder how I'll keep this busy boy happy for five more hours! He has been struggling on the plane, I'm sure feeling as cramped as ever. I cannot wait until we are finally in our home, with all that room to walk, explore, and just be! It will be such a relief for both of us.