** Like my last post, I am posting this once home. We didn't have Internet access for the last two days of the trip. So I am posting this on my first full day home (Friday).
Wow...hard to believe we have reached the end of the journey. I think each of us are a bit weary and ready to be home, sleeping in our own beds (the beds in China were smaller and harder than we are used to). I am ready for Mia to be in a regular environment now instead of constantly getting in different kinds of vehicles, eating in a different restaurant each night, etc. My little girl needs to be in her forever home and start living her new life.
We spent the morning sleeping in and enjoying the last of our glorious buffet breakfasts. We all needed to get repacked for international travel (ah, the plastic bags...), and get showered and organized to head out and home.
Sarah picked us up at 3:00 and we said goodbye to the Garden (I have included some photos of the waterfalls and koi ponds behind the Garden hotel - so pretty and peaceful - this was our view each morning at breakfast). We went by van to the train station where we waited with two other adoptive families while our guides went to the US Consulate to pick up our paperwork and new children's passports - with their exit visas. Once Sarah came back with the all important sealed brown envelope for immigration (to be delivered to immigration upon arrival at Dulles Airport, Washington, DC), we headed to Burger King for our lunch (yuk - and by the way, they weren't too happy to "have it your way" here in China).
It was sad to say goodbye to Sarah. What a sweet lady and so knowledgeable. She took such good care of us. I shed a few tears saying goodbye and then we were off to catch our train. A bit exhausting getting all the luggage to the very last car on the train and then traveling with a cranky little one who didn't want to sit still. We arrived about two hours later in the center of Hong Kong (not sure of city name but it is a huge city). After quite the ordeal to find our way through the station and more security (it never ends), we made our way to our hotel. Just across the street proved much more difficult than it seemed (our hotel was just across from the train station). The crowd was quite difficult to walk through and we had to walk up an overpass and through a mall to get to the hotel lobby.
Our hotel rooms there were quite tiny and we were wall-to-wall people, beds, and suitcases. No big deal as we were just sleeping and leaving early in the morning. We caught a bus to the airport (about an hour's drive) early in the am. Then more security and catching a plane to Tokyo (bummer, smaller plane without little personal TVs - requiring me to provide lots of entertainment). Then an hour til our connection in Tokyo. Thankfully the final plane was a biggie (with personal tvs - yay!) and John, Mia and I were together in the last row (more leg room, closer to bathroom - Mia made many trips - and lots of special attention from the airline hostesses)
Our flight was 12 hours from there and it went very well. I slept maybe an hour or so here and there, Mia slept several hours. She watched tv and LOVED having headphones (think she felt like a big kid since she'd seen the bigs wear theirs throughout the week).
Mia slept through landing and becoming a US Citizen. She is an American, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, and cousin - an orphan no more!
We arrived in the afternoon and of course got tagged for extra security checks (ugh). After finally making it to the door of the airport (and digging out our coats - who knew it would be so cold on the first day of Spring in DC??), John took a cab over to the hotel (remember this trip started out with a few day's stay in a DC hotel?)to get our van. Can't begin to tell you how great it was to finally be in our van and heading home...