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April 5, 2006
I was not going to do it, but I am going to complain. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HIGH SPEED INTERNET in China. Every time I have wanted to post these logs and photo’s so you could follow along, it has taken in some cases HOURS to get things downloaded and emailed. Who knows, maybe it punishment for some past computer infraction. I know it has been the task of both Lindsey and I to do this, but it is taking it’s toll. I am not sure how much longer I can take the pressure. When trying to send the post for 4-4, although I could get the text sent in only about 12 minutes, I quit trying to send photo’s at 1:15 am. I sacrificed for the good of humanity and peace of mind of mothers everywhere that are reading posts. So do not believe brochures from the hotel claiming to have high speed internet available, the hotels hook you, then after the first good connection, you are done for the whole trip. I think the adoption agencies in the US should team up for a cooperative venture called ADOPTIONNET. It could be a high speed voice and data network for families traveling for adoption to ASIA. They could issue satellite modems for travelers to use for the calls and connections and make us all happy. Nice dream huh…. Anyway. I am sorry for the delay in getting these posted.

Ok, here we are IN OREGON, experiencing the end of very long hours of travel. We started our day at 0430 so we could be ready for the hotel departure at 0545. Once we were all downstairs, we loaded up in the bus for the final trip across town. It was about an hour trip to the Guangzhou Airport. Nice place for an airport. Amy and Liniker did their final duties in getting us to the final airport check in. It felt kind of strange to be getting checked in ourselves, we have been used to the pampering of our host country guides, and about 10 minutes into the process, I appreciated them 1000 % more than two hours before. It is a hassle no matter how you do it. First we all stood in line while folks checked in luggage for everyone for our flight, not just the adoption group… Then after that line, then we went to exit and customs desk. Waited in line again. At this station, someone waives you forward, ( they must employ disabled folks or mutes at this station because the did not talk in Beijing either), then they hold out their hand for your passport, stamp it, hand it to you, and as you walk away, they are waiving at the next station. I thought it would be cool to take a picture of them putting a stamp in Sophie’s passport, so I started to take a picture, at which point, a uniformed and armed man waived his hand at me and pointed to the NO PHOTO sign written in English. So with that photo op gone, I read the next sign NO LOITERING, and decided to start walking. Beth and Sophie caught up to me in short order and you guessed it, we waited in line again. I know, control your amazement, the lines were longer, slower and it was in an atrium shaped room with a hint of sunlight. So we were tired, waiting and hot. we went through the scan station for thermal scan to make sure we did not have SARS or the bird flu, In case you have never traveled in china, let me explain the way it works. You walk past a infrared camera that displays your thermal image, if it is red or orange in color, they might ask to take your temp again. Then after your past this station, they send you through security where they X-ray your belongings, you walk through a metal detector, then your released to go… Much like America, just fewer security stations. Once we got to the terminal, we only had to wait in that line a couple of minutes. Then we were airborne, leaving Guangzhou behind. After a short hop to Hong Kong, we had a walking tour of the Hong Kong Airport. We all had to walk about one mile (literally) through the airport, got there just in time to stand in line… again. This time, it was a very time consuming line. We had to check in and get ticketed for our flight to San Francisco. This may seem like a normal process, but when you are taking a Chinese national OUT of the country, and the visa computers are down, this turned out to be a monumental process. They had to phone in the exit “A” numbers for each child. For my family, it took 14 minutes to get the assignments taken care of and we were the third family of 13 in our group on this flight. Finally we get it and we are good to go. The desk agent tells me,(in chinglish), go down the hall, turn right at security and go to gate 63. We had to travel the back the way we came… 17 minutes before the plane was supposed to be done boarding. We literally ran through the airport ( Sophie riding on my shoulder like a sack of potatoes), and we ran down the hall, and down the stairs, waited 2 minutes for a transfer train, rode the train, ran up the stairs, (two flights of escalators), ran to the gate, got checked in….and worried about everyone else who did not make it. We were so bummed for them that they didn’t make it. The plane takes off... without our fellow travelers, then we saw Kevin…. We were so thankful they made it on the plane. It turns out, he was looking to see if we made it. All the rest of the folks were on the plane as well. WOW… As it turns out, they were on the plane before us. It turns out that the kind desk agent in Hong Kong gave them different directions to the gate. The correct directions. All the others did was leave the check in counter, take an elevator to next floor and get on the plane at the right gate. Easy huh… So either I messed up, (small possibility…), or the agent messed up, ( I think I’ll just choose this one). At any rate, we made the plane, sat until my rear end fell asleep, ate mediocre food, and tried to make it through the 12 hour ordeal. We were the lucky ones that did not have reclining seats… for a twelve hour flight. We were so happy to get to San Francisco. We were processed through the immigration in a short amount of time. The kind gentleman, CIS agent Ken Varroy, stamped her passport, said “Congratulations on your baby” and we were done. Sophie had her green card…. And in six weeks or so, we should get her regular paperwork. We waited about an 15 minutes after immigration and customs to get our flight to Portland, then we were off on the final leg.

Once we got to Portland, we had a chance to brush our teeth (first time in about 19 hours… YUK), then we went to meet the family. We’re blessed with great family, (weird but great), and we had about 20 family members and friends there to greet Sophie and welcome us home. What an arrival! Sophie was kind of overwhelmed, but it was fun. It was great to see Sophie meet Travis and Jordan (and Derik) and see what a brother looks like! They were thrilled to see her and yhey were thrilled to have us home. Travis and JP were getting kinda lonely! Palmer& Jeanette Muntz arrived a few hours before us, so we met them and their baby Melodyjoy and Palmer's folks and had a short visit before heading to the cars and lunch at Shari’s restaurant with the Lyman’s and Morgan clan's. Lindsey was so happy to recognize everything on the menu and also see that nothing she was being served resembled a domesticated pet!

After lunch we drove to Dallas to stay a few days at Beth’s folks (who traveled with us). We drove through pea sized hail, rain, and sun. Sure was great to get to their home. A short unpacking, a couple of pizza’s for dinner, a shower and time for bed! The end of the 29 hours from when we left the hotel at Guangzhou. Of the whole trip, this was the hardest day mentally and physically. We were exhausted, burned out, hungry, grungy looking, and ready to rest.

So that ends the day. Thank you Lord for getting us home in one piece and bringing our sweet little girl to our family. And Thank you to our family and friends back home who helped us through this both materially and with prayer. We will see you all soon. We expect to be home on Saturday the 8th!

God Bless,
Paul
Ready To Fly
Enjoying The Plane Ride Home
Sophie's Waiting Crowd
Jordan And Sophie's First American Meal
Big Brother Travis And Sophie