Thursday, December 15, 2005

Our welcoming crew! Posted by Picasa

Julia checking out all of the people that came to see her at the airport Posted by Picasa

Home Update: Our Bittersweet Return

Well, here it is. The last post about our journey to Julia. It’s not the end of my blog, but it’s the last entry about our trip and a few thoughts now that we are home.
Leaving China was easy. Wayne and I both wanted to get home to see Cameron and Anna, get back to some sense of normalcy. God had another plan. We left our hotel in Guangzhou at 5:45 with our guide, Wayne. We had a conversation about he thought was important for Julia to know about her birth country and culture. He would like to see her lean to speak Mandarin. I would love for her to keep up on her Chinese, but in Ludington, I’m not sure that can happen too easily. Once at the airport Wayne saw us off through security and immigration. I really enjoyed my time in Guangzhou.

We landed in Hong Kong a little while later and had a very nice man named Dieter invite us into United’s Red Carpet Lounge. It’s nice! Free food, free drinks...God was looking down on us. Julia did great flying from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. It’s the flight to San Francisco that I was worried about!

Nearly 12 hours later we land back in the US!!! HEEYYYY!!! Normal food, normal money, people that speak English! Julia did really well on the long flight. She never had a huge meltdown as I thought she went pretty smooth. This is where our happy story takes a turn. Wayne and I both knew that we had been out of contact with his family for too long and that we needed to get an update on Wayne’s dad, George. Wayne thought he heard his name paged (I never heard it!). This is when we started frantically looking for a phone. My cell was dead and so finding a payphone was a must. We got to a phone and Wayne dialed the hospital. My heart starts to sink as I hear that there are no Wagner family members in the waiting area. This is not a good sign. Wayne tries to call Jeff, again...there is no one there. He then call John/Dad’s house. John answers. He tells Wayne that Dad has passed away Saturday afternoon. It’s totally devastating. This is not the news that we wanted to hear. We were hoping to get to him before he left. Apparently God needed him sooner.

After hanging up the phone we called my parents and they already knew. No one had told Cameron and Anna. We wanted to be the ones to tell him. Mom gave a few more details and we said goodbye. %#@* !!!! This isn’t real. Grandpa George couldn’t be gone. Wayne and I walked to the next gate in a daze...totally lost. Once over the initial shock we started thinking how happy Dad is now that he’s back with Wayne’s mom and seeing all his family that had passed before him. Those thoughts are hardly comforting, but we needed to not fall apart as we had 2 more flights before making to Grand Rapids.

Lucky for us Julia slept the entire flight from San Francisco to Chicago. Phew! One more leg. We stopped and got something to eat for Julia, she was still in good spirits after all that we had gone through in the past 20-some hours. Flying from Chicago to Grand Rapids is a short 35 minute flight, but it seemed to last eternity. We just want to get home!

We landed in Grand Rapids at 9:12pm. I could see the kids waving out the window with Aunt Pam and my sisters. Finally, we made it. I couldn’t be happier. We walked down the gateway and there they were. Cam, Anna, my parents, my sisters and Tyler, my grandparents, Aunt Pam and Wayne’s brothers, Marc and Jeff. Wayne and I both went to the kids, we knew that they would want to see Julia. In classic Anna and Cam style they started to argue over who would push Julia in the stroller. Glad to see some things never change!

Wayne made it over to very bleary eyed Marc and Jeff. The sadness in their eyes was heartbreaking. They were the ones that chose to meet us and try to comfort Wayne. Jeff had been ready to drive to Chicago to pick us up to get us home sooner. No family should ever to have go through what those boys have.

Since arriving home, we have not had one day of normalcy. Monday was spent at Dad’s house seeing everyone. Tuesday we were at the funeral home all day. Julia did wonderful there. Yesterday was the funeral. I had wanted the kids to go back to school today, but maybe tomorrow. Julia was managed to fit in and win the hearts of all her extended family. Cam and Anna seem to really like having a little sister.

Now, the un-sugar coated truth: It’s hard. For all of the tolerance that Julia has shown for being able to adapt to any situation, her meltdowns have reared their heads along the way. When she is tired, she cries. Not simple cries, she WAILS! There are times when she doesn’t get what she wants and it turns into a major cry. We think that she was somewhat spoiled in her foster home. I know, I know...she’s only 2 and we are asking a lot of her. We asking her to trust us, but her faith in us, and to behave all at the same time! The meltodowns have been frustrating and can be hard to cope with. I knew that she would grieve, but I guess I hadn’t prepared myself for the endless crying that this little girl can do. Julia hated using the carseat for the first few times. You would have thought that we were torturing her. She cried and screamed for nearly 30 minutes. Each day she does seem to cry less and less, so I know that it’s getting better. :-)

So...where does that leave us? We are awake at 4:30am this morning, eating fruit snacks and watching the Weather Channel. Julia was meant for us as we were meant to be her parents. We all need to see that God has a plan for us. His plan was to take Grandpa George sooner than we hoped, but I guess he needed another angel. I’m sure that Grandma Mac was waiting for him.
So in retrospect, this journal has been a great way to share our travels to China and great outlet for my thoughts along the way. I have enjoyed writing and I hope that you have enjoyed reading along. Like I said, I may take a break from writing now that the wild one is here!! Take care all and have a great holiday season!
Melissa, Wayne, Cameron, Anna and Julia Wagner