Monday, November 12, 2007

We are Family!

It has been a few weeks now since we have been home. We had originally "planned" to lay low and keep things quiet and mellow when we got home. But again we learned that God sometimes finds amusement in the plans "we" make. Within the first two weeks of being home we hosted a dinner for 30 family members after Aunt B's funeral and had 12 straight days of different overnight house guests. The hectic schedule wasn't something we had "planned," but we wouldn't have traded the memories for the world. And we all came through it fine. God knew that not only we could handle it, he knew it was exactly what we needed.
We are settling in together as a family. We have had bumps along the way and things haven't always been easy, but we are family and families are rarely easy.
Someone recently asked me if we would be adopting any more children. My quick answer is NO, we are not "planning" on it. But, we will see what God has planned for our family.
Sarah has made six in our family and I can't imagine life without her. We are Family!

A Warm Welcome Home

We were so excited to come home. We missed our kiddos at home so much and couldn't wait to give them hugs. We also longed to introduce our family and friends to the newest addition of our family. But nothing could have prepared us for the outpouring of love and welcoming that we received as we stepped of the plane in Medford. The terminal was filled with our family and dozens of friends welcoming us home. We made a bee line to our kids and held them tight. My fears of Sarah rejecting her siblings ended when as I was hugging Tim, Sarah reached out for him to hold her. She also gave hugs and kisses to Marli and Sam. She made her rounds to all the family and friends giving a ready smile and lots of hugs. She knew that she was the center of attention and she loved it.
We stopped for lunch on the way home from the airport with Grandma and Grandpa and introduced her to Burger King. While she was a little too overwhelmed to eat very much, she really likes American French Fries.
We pulled up to the house to find a big welcome home banner and gifts for all the kids. Our house was clean and the fridge had been stocked. We have the greatest family and friends!
The kids couldn't wait to show Sarah her room. She squealed with delight at the sight of it. She loved her bed with the pretty pillows and stuffed animals, she loved her play kitchen and her bookshelf filled with books. Though I know she must have been overwhelmed with everything, she didn't show it. She lovingly allowed her siblings to shower her with all the hugs and kisses they had been saving up for over a year.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The long journey home

Our journey home started at 8:00 p.m. when we left the hotel for the hour long drive to the Hanoi airport. Our poor little girl was very confused when after her bath that evening she was dressed in sweats instead of her jammies and driven to the airport instead of being tucked into bed. When we arrived at the Hanoi airport we found thousands of people mulling around with very few flights scheduled to leave that evening. We later discovered that the majority of people were there to "send off" friends and loved ones. A far cry from the US where we are lucky if our ride drops us at the curb.

About an hour into our wait to check in, we noticed a vietnamese man walking back and forth in front of us with his son. We then noticed that when he walked by his friends were taking our picture with their cell phones. David knelt down and shook the little boy's hand and posed for a picture with him. Suddenly, cameras came out of nowhere and so did the children to have their pictures taken with us. We would like to think they thought we were celebrities, but they might have just wanted their pictures taken with the giant Americans. And we can't rule out the possiblitily that we were totally being made fun of and mocked. Nevertheless, it was an experience.

Sarah slept most of the flight from Hanoi to Seoul. :) Since we had such a long layover in Seoul we rented a room at the airport's transit hotel. (It was the only time in our lives we rented a hotel room by the hour.) It was money well spent. We were able to sleep for a few hours then have a shower before departing to LA.

It was a 10 hour flight from Seoul to LA, and our little Sarah only slept an hour of it. She wasn't being naughty, she was just awake. She enjoyed the personal entertainment system on the plane, where she watched one movie after another and some more than once.

Once we arrived in LA, we were amazed at how simple and quick the immigration process was. Of course it didn't hurt that we were the only ones in the immigration line. The U.S. immigration officer assigned to her case smiled as he read through her immigration documents. It turns out that he was adopted from south Vietnam when he was four years old from her same province. What a small world.

After taking short nap at our hotel we were met by Grandpa Mike and Betty. Sarah enjoyed meeting them and was totally facinated by her first "wrapped" present. It took her quite a while to realize that the pretty bag wasn't the gift. They then treated us to a wonderful "American" dinner of steak and potatoes at Claim Jumpers. It is good to be back in the USA!

The next morning we were surprised when we went to the LA airport and ran into our good friends Louis and Marelise and their girls on their way home from Hawaii. Turns out, we were all on the same flight home to Medford.

After being such a trooper on our long international flights, Sarah was restless on this short flight to Medford. It was almost like she knew the excitement that awaited at home.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We are coming home!!!!!

Great news! After an hour at the Korean Air office this morning we ALL have confirmed flights home. Sarah's reservation had indeed been paid and was changable by us afterall. We just had to be there in person to get it taken care of. We were able to get on the 1:05 a.m. flight tommorow, so we will be checking out of the hotel about 8:30 tonight to head to the airport. We are thrilled! We get into Los Angeles too late on Tuesday to clear customs and get home at a decent time, so we are spending the night and hope to have dinner with Grandpa Mike and Betty.
We are scheduled to arrive into Medford at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday. Please continue to keep us in your prayers for safe travels and smooth flight connections.

We are coming home! Yeah!!!!!!

Pho with a fork?

Today was a quiet day in Hanoi. Although, it doesn't seem like a Sunday without our weekly Sunday rituals: A stop through the drive-thru at O'Java for coffees and donuts on the way to church (because we didn't get up early enough to have breakfast at home) Then to church, followed by meeting mom and dad for lunch at Burger King.

We instead had to go on a hunt for more cell phone minutes only to find that the mobile networks around town were down. We got desparate to call the kids at home and wish Marli a Happy Birthday before she went to bed, so we put our US sim card back in to make the call. I hate so see the cingular bill when we get home, but it was money well spent.

We then went to the Horizon Hotel for their Sunday brunch. The food was good but not what you might expect for Sunday Brunch. David and I agreed, the best part of the meal was the Pho (pronounced Fuh) It is a rice noodle soup, with various spices, broth and in this case chicken. I have to say that I am a Pho slob. Something about using chopsticks for soup made for a messy shirt and table cloth on my side. David, on the other hand, opted for eating his Pho with a fork. I am sure that we were the amusement for the waitstaff today. Once Sarah saw the chopsticks, she got excited and began using them. (For a child that supposedly had delayed motorskills, she can work chopsticks like a pro!) Her favorite part of the meal was the chocolate fondue fountain. As you can see from the pictures, she really "got into" her food.

Tomorrow, we are planning on heading out early to go to the Korean Air office. We had a disheartening evening yesterday, when trying to confirm flights home. We discovered that while we have confirmed tickets, Sarah's is only a reservation. On the phone to the Korean air offices in Korea and LA, they said her ticket had not yet been paid for by our travel agent and they are the only ones who can confirm it. Since our travel agent is on the West Coast and is not in the office on the weekend, that is not likely to happen. So, are plan is to camp out at their office until we all get confirmed flights home.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Marelise!

Today was a very difficult day to be half a world away from our family. First of all, as the title of this entry suggests, we are not there to wish our darling daughter Marelise a Happy 10th Birthday! So, Happy Birthday Sweetie! We wish we could be there to say it in person! Thanks to Aunt Judy and Grandma Hope and Grandpa Hank for making it a special day for you! We will have to give you your birthday spankings when we get home. :)

We also got and e-mail from our travel agent that the flights out of Hanoi on Tuesday morning are oversold and we will not be able to get home as early as we had hoped. We haven't, however, completely given up hope. We may take a taxi to the airport tomorrow to see if something might have opened up.

Finally, we received very sad news this morning from home. David's Aunt Brenda passed away yesterday. Are heart's ache that we didn't get to say goodbye, and we feel badly that we are not home to help with things. We know you are in a better place now Aunt B, but we will miss you dearly.

Picture explainations:
Sarah having a bad hair day
Sarah eating an oreo cookie the "right way" (Mom showed her how to break them open and lick the frosting off first.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

A clean bill of health and more good news!

We woke early to have Sarah's health screeing for her immigration paperwork. She had a thorough exam and was given a clean bill of health. She was such a good girl during her appointment. She was in good spirits even through the long wait. She does have an issue with her hip joint allignment, but we will have to wait to talk to our pediatrician at home to determine what, if anything the treatment will be.

More good news followed. It turns out that the squeaky wheel does get the grease. I guess I was squeaky enough because he got our visa appointment moved up to today. (You should have seen the surprised look Truan had when, with all my excitment I hugged him when he told me the good news.) The interview went well and we will should have her visa in hand on Monday afternoon! Yeah!!!! We contacted the travel agent and are waiting to hear of our earliest departure possibility.

Picure explainations: Sarah and I are all dressed up for our visa interview at the Embassy

The gecko was on the wall of the restaurant (The Green Tangerine) we went to last night. He entertained us while we ate. It was a beautiful french restarant with a gorgeous garden terrace. Sarah loved her dinner fish fingers and rice (the fish version of chicken fingers) And, well, Dave and I ordered room service when we got back to the hotel. What can we say, the service was good and the atmosphere was charming and we should have eaten off the kids menu. Live and Learn.