Sorry it took me so long to update this site. We have been busy recouping, unpacking and everything else that goes along with it. To pick up where we left off.........
We got up about 8:00 AM on Monday morning and checked out our hotel and boarded the Korean Air bus for an hour long drive to Seoul Incheon Airport. We arrived about 9:30 AM and met up with the KSS Staff and our 2 traveling companions at the airport nursery. Nine month old Ha Eun and 10 month old Mi Ran.
The KSS Staff did one last diaper change & bottle before saying their good byes. We rolled through security and turned the girls back so they could wave goodbye to the staff who had their faces pressed to the unfrosted sections of security door window. Our first stop was the restroom. I changed the girls out of the multi layered outfits their foster mothers dressed them in, in order to preserve them for later. I came out of the restroom to find Matt chatting with another couple who was flying home with us who just picked up their 11 month old daughter, Ava.
We boarded a Korean Air 747 for the 14 hour flight to Chicago. A few days earlier I called the airline and scored seats in the bassinet row. A real treat on a long flight. We settled into our seats and as time passed and the passengers coming down the aisle came to trickle we were elated to discover we had all four seats in the row to ourselves. Whoo Hooo!!!! First bassinets, now extra seats, we were on cloud 9, literally. :)
As we taxied to the runway things settled down and we had a chance to get to know our new little friends. Ha Eun, a sweet round faced little girl, full of laughter, and the biggest thighs I have ever seen. Mi Ran was the quiet one, big cheeks and that crazy Asian hair I love. The girls did really great considering the circumstances. They had just left everything they have ever known. Their foster mother is gone. They are handed off to strangers who don't look or speak Korean. And now they are flying around the world. :) But these girls were troopers. Right from the get go they looked us both in the eye and came right to both Matt and I without hesitation. Often times the babies will prefer women over men since in many traditional Korean homes child rearing is left to the mothers. Which unfortunately was the situation the other couple on our flight was experiencing.
The time passed by slowly but we ate, played, watched some TV and the girls slept. This is where the bassinets have their disadvantages. These little ladies could roll over and crawl. So my brain just could not sleep knowing they could easily get up and fall out of there. I did manage to get about an hour of sleep with Ha Eun asleep on my chest but that would that be enough to get me through the next leg of the journey.
We touched down in Chicago with Ha Eun testing out her lungs for the last hour. :) Poor girl, she was tired and really more fighting sleep. Thankfully, a rolling stroller comforts her. :) We spent the next hour in the immigration office waiting for the girls paperwork to be stamped. Given we had a six hour layover we had time to spare. We grabbed a bite to eat and found a quiet place to Skype with the Fike Family.
Thank goodness Matt caught his second wind before I did. He managed to create a corral out of a couple rows of seats & the strollers and the girls & I took an hour long nap. I wish I could say I felt better afterwards but I had been traveling for over 20 hours and had maybe two hours of sleep. I was so exhausted I was feeling quite ill. But there was no time for that the girls needed changed back into their original outfits. We like to present them to their adoptive parents the way they were given to us. We found a big family restroom and got them all changed, fed and ready to go. We mustered up some energy and rolled up to the gate only to find our plane was delayed 1 hour. I guess there was low fog in the area and previous flights were now stacking up at the gate. We plopped down in the gate area along with 4 other plane loads of folks. Our one hour delay slowly evolved into a three hour delay. It was now 7:00 PM and we had been in Chicago since 9:10 AM. The side salad I had partially eaten back at 10:30 AM had long since worn off. But for the last 3 hours we were told to sta in the gate area as we would be boarding soon so there was no time to go get something to eat. I snacked on juice and crackers and the girls took turns sleeping and entertaining the other passengers. By the time we finally boarded most of the plane was familiar with the girls story and were very patient as HaEun screamed her way through taxi & take off. The man next to me was pleased to help out any way he could. Escorts had brought his son from Korea to the US over 20 years ago. Small world! The final leg of our journey seemed to fly by once the girls settled down. We touched down in Akron Canton and I quickly tapped out a text to Bill, our airport greeter who has been waiting for the past 3 hours at the airport with the families.
"Houston, the Eagle has landed"
We dashed into the nearest restroom for a quick diaper change and bottle prep. As we exited one of the ground crew handed us the flight log signed by the captain. They were sad they did not have wings to give the girls to commemorate there flight but hoped this would due. :) How sweet!
This was it. We gave the girls a quick hug and kiss goodbye and rounded the corner. A gasp came over the crowd and the flashbulbs started going off. An outsider might have thought a pop star had entered the terminal. I with MiRan and Matt had HaEum. We introduced them to their new mom & dad and handed them over. The girls did great and happily went right to their elated parents.
Congratulations to the Lim & Fike Families. We couldn't have asked for better travel companions and are honored to be part of their journey.
Welcome Home Claire MiRan & Joanna HaEun.
The entire photo album can be viewed via Snapfish:
If the link doesnt work feel free to email me and I will send over the link.