Bringing Home Laine, Part 1

When we traveled to China to bring home our adopted daughter, we kept a running diary on a private Facebook group. I want to reproduce that diary here so that more people can know about the challenges, wonders, and joys that go along with a journey like this. And also because I don’t want to keep the only copy on Facebook, because Facebook.

Herewith, part one:

August 19, 2019, a post from my wife Rachel

We would love for you to join us in prayer for Laine and our time in China.

  • Bonding and Attachment – We pray this will come quickly and easily for both Jason and I with Laine and she with us.
  • Laine’s grieving – Adoption is such a picture of beautiful brokenness. While Laine is becoming a daughter and sister, she is losing the only home she has ever known. We look and talk different, we will be moving from one hotel to a 2nd and then to our home over a 2 week period. She will be on multiple planes and in cars. It will all be brand new and scary. We pray for her to grieve in healthy ways and feel peace and comfort.
  • Laine’s Ayi (Caretaker) – We have prayed that she would have a strong bond with a loving nanny. I can only imagine that it will be hard for her to watch Laine go with strangers and most likely never see her again. Praying that she would feel peace about it and know how much we appreciate all that her love has meant to us and will mean for Laine’s ability to attach to us in the future.
  • Our time in China – Praying that everything goes smooth: flights, hotels, avoiding sickness, etc. We want to soak up the culture and learn as much as possible about Laine’s birthplace and heritage.
  • Graham and Campbell (our other two kids, ages 7 and 5 at the time) – Praying that they would feel fully at peace as we prepare to travel and while we are gone. That time would go quickly and routines could stay pretty normal. For my Mom to have an easy and fun time with them.
  • Transition back home – Adjustments as we become a family of 5. Bonding between the kids. Learning new family routines. Little jet lag. Wisdom, Peace, and Joy.

August 23, 2019

My last (I thought) post as we boarded our Atlanta-to-Shanghai flight:

Boarding. BRB in sixteen hours.

August 23, 2019, an hour later

Flight delayed. We’ve been circling the ground for an hour. Praying we get going soon and don’t miss our connecting flight in China.

We finally got off the ground a short while later and made it to Shanghai in the wee hours of August 24th. Dazed and sleep-deprived, we hauled ass all the way across the enormous Shanghai airport in hopes of making our connection.

We thought we had a chance, even though we had to go through about six different security checks and x-ray machines, because the place was surprisingly empty for an airport that serves a city of 24 million people. We arrived at customs ready to breeze through, when out of nowhere, in an otherwise empty airport, a tour group appeared and cut the line in front of us. One of the women from the group said many apologetic-sounding things to us, but I can’t be sure what they were because I don’t speak Chinese.

After we made it through customs and wound our way down to our terminal, we discovered two things: 1) Miracle of miracles, we didn’t miss our flight to Kunming because it was late too, and 2) There actually were a lot of people in the airport, and all their flights were late too, and they were all crammed into this terminal with us.

After a couple of hours chit-chatting with some English-speakers we met and listening intently for any word that sounded like “Kunming” over the Korean War surplus public address system, we finally boarded the plane to our destination. “Exhausted” is not a big enough word to describe our condition, but we didn’t have the strength to say anything bigger.

August 25, 2019

The luxuries of modern air travel: both Delta and China Eastern airlines gave me my own fluffy blanket to sit next to on the flight (Rachel in background).