Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 17: Sleepless in Seattle and Delighted in Dayton

On Saturday, January 30th, we were in Seattle. (Day 16 an 17 will overlap a bit).   After dinner in Seattle, we were all exhausted, but we wanted to try and get back on track sleepwise. It was around 7 pm (PST) when we all took baths, laid our clothes out and went to bed about 730 pm. We were SO tired so if course we would sleep for a little bit. We had our alarms set for 3 so we could get on the airport shuttle by 4.  We had a plan...until Toby woke up at 8:30 pm. And he was wired!!!! Because of that, everyone woke up and we could not go to sleep at all. We were officially "Sleepless in Seattle " and we were not too happy. We were exhausted. We did find it funny that we were all up at 2 am raring to go when the"Sign off" happened. They were playing the National Anthem. It made us SO happy to be back in America to hear that song even though we were all wide awake. We got ready, packed up our stuff and got on the shuttle.  The airport was just 5 minutes away.  We didn't realize that we would have to pay such a high amount for our bags so here we are trying to consolidate things and just carry them on.  Oh those bags!!! We checked in 4 for $100 and proceeded to the gate with a double stroller,  2 wiggle worms, a camera bag, a purse, a cumbersome bag with paperwork and glass, a duffel bag with souvenirs,  2 backpacks, a trash bag with winter coats in it and our cosmetic bag.  We looked ridiculous, like a bunch of hillbillies ,  but this is what you do to save money. Ugh!  We did meet a nice lady named Lisa at the ticket counter.. Her parents were Deaf so she was signing away with Toby. I was so proud of him as he was having a great conversation with her. We hope that Talia will pick up on ASL quickly. At this point with Toby two years ago, he had already learned and used 100 signs. Talia probably can sign on her own about 5. We have our work cut out, but she is going to come around in time.
 As I am bopping people in the head with my bags and trying to keep up with the kids, we walked down the narrow aisle of the plane to find our seats. It felt so good to be headed to the East. Our flight was coast to coast in 4.5 hours. Both kids slept the entire time. David and I tried to get comfortable and catch a few winks, but that was not happening.    We finally arrived in Newark, New Jersey! !! I got to see the New York skyline and even the Statue of Liberty. I have never been to NYC so it was so exciting to be so close. As we walked in the concourse C, David said " Mary Beth,  look it's George Clooney." David said he almost bumped into him with all of the bags. Ha ha  I turned around to only see the back of his head.  Ugh!  I was so surprised that he was just walking through the airport out in the open.  I would have loved a picture, but you know how that goes. We found our gate in the basement of Terminal A with all the commoners going to Dayton. No movie stars down there...oh didn't matter...we were only an hour and a half from home! We boarded a very small plane,  kept bumping our heads on the overhead bins and flew into Dayton, Ohio. The kids were wide awake and Toby could not wait to get to Ohio. We were so delighted to be back in Dayton.  After 4 days since we had checked out of our hotel in China, we were back!!!! I was so nervous and excited to see my family and friends. My friends, Jen and Amber ,had set up a homecoming group to meet us at the airport. We were a few minutes early so we cleaned up in the bathroom and took the long walk to the Baggage claim area. When we turned the corner,  we saw our kids wearing their Adoption shirts, my parents and so many sweet friends that supported us in so many ways. They were holding "Welcome Talia and welcome Failes"signs. It felt so good to be so loved.  It was such a sight for sore,  tired eyes. Talia sat in her coach , her stroller, like a queen and looked at everyone as we rode through the large group of people.  She was already loved by many but had no idea. She loved her balloon and flowers. She was shocked, but seemed happy. We greeted everyone, took pictures and collected our bags. I even had two extra bags...the huge bags under my eyes. I am glad they didn't charge me a fee for those. (:

We got home. ...what a great feeling!  Talia was afraid of our dog, Chia, but seemed interested in where we were. Maybe she recognized the house from the book we sent her. . We gave her a tour and she started coming out of her shell. She was laughing and having a blast. She took a liking to Luke and started feeling comfortable with everyone else. She even gave hugs to other family members. We saw the start of a little girl's have a family that will love her unconditionally. When there is love, it heals the broken and lonely. I hope she will learn quickly that love never fails especially with the Faile family.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 16: A lesson in patience and persistence

I have no idea what day I am referring to, but I think it is Friday, January 29th ...again although with the time change it ends up being a day and a half. Let's go back to our hotel in Hong Kong that had no heat and our clothes were wet and smelly from our suitcases getting wet. Lol. The hotel manager was getting calls from the Delta Hong Kong representatives in regards to our situation and we were not allowed to call them directly. It was like we were being held hostage and not being given any answers.  They told us to be down in the lobby at 6 30am to catch our 11:00 flight. As soon as we got all 6 bags, plus carry ons, plus 2 kids dressed and ready to go, they told us to go back to our rooms and rest because the plane was still being worked on. At that point, gaskets were being blown by people and that sent a signal to our kids and our friends' kids that something was going wrong.  Everyone starts getting on their phones and computers to get help from Delta stateside because Delta Hong Kong was miscommunicating  and not being honest with us. Our best bet was to get to the airport and work on another option, but they would not bring the shuttle buses over. Many people took a taxi and went, but we had too much stuff and kids.  We literally were in a group of people in the lobby of this hotel trying to create a plan in a foreign country with zero sympathy about how this was affecting our fragile adopted kids with special needs. We wanted to stay in the lobby so we could get answers.  We contacted other people that said to get to the airport.  We were about 45 minutes away and it was no easy task. So we kept being persistent.  Then as a group, we decided to put it out on Facebook and Twitter that we were stuck in this hotel and no one from Delta was communicating with us. Meanwhile our friend's children were hungry,  fussy, needed diapers,  sad and confused. Toby was off the chart anxious and getting into everything. The workers were following him around telling him No. I was too, but they had very high standards for their lobby. I thought to myself " If they would just shuttle us to the airport,  we would not be in the lobby." Talia was a trooper and handled it great except for her crying in the night.  We stayed in the lobby from 645 am until 130pm. We did go to another hotel for breakfast,  but we were so distraught about everything that we couldn't eat alot. We were getting conflicting reports that we might be there until Sunday.  Crazy!! Plus it was pouring rain which made everything more bleak.  Well, after the word spread from our FB friends, Twitter friends,and from everyone that posted, Delta stateside got involved. They were "mortified " that we were not getting answers.  I also got a text from another passenger that was a Sky Priority customer. Apparently,  all of those priority travelers got rebooked on other flights or put in a very nice hotel.  Have you ever seen Titanic where the poor peasants are trapped in the bottom of the boat and can't get out because the richer people could go first? Yeah, that's how we felt. Ha ha I was waiting for violin players to serenade us as we were waiting to keep us calm. (If you have seen the movie, you will get that.  Ha ha)
..First of all,
I am glad that our Priority friends got rebooked, but I think Delta should of given us more options for our individual situations.  Some people had no problem waiting, but others had situations that needed attention.   It was obvious that the  two adoptive families had a priority to take care of these kids who were upset and very confused. Delta knew we were there because both Moms went to the ticket counter to explain, but we were not approached to get us out quicker.  We did meet some new friends while waiting and that was a positive thing that happened. Now back to the story.. the rain stopped so I took a walk with the kids to see the view of Hong Kong. Wow, it was impressive!!! I had seen pictures,but this was fabulous !! The airport shuttle buses arrived at 130pm and we drove to the airport still not knowing if we were leaving or if the plane was even fixed. We found out they had to order engine parts. Not a good sign! We all checked in and hoped for the best.  They delayed us again! Oh boy ! Honestly, I did not want to fly 12 hours on a plane that was being fixed for two days anyway so I'm thankful that safety was first, but not happy with how it was handled. Don't hide facts from paying customers and do everything possible to accommodate.  We did board the plane (a different plane) and flew at 6 pm (Hong Kong time). It was exhausting because we were already frazzled and sleeping on a plane was not comfortable.  12 hours later we arrived on American soil into Seattle, Washington. Talia became a US citizen and we checked flights with United to get home. They were awesome and rebooked us for Saturday morning at 6 am . We already had a hotel reserved, but had to cancel because of our delay, but thankfully they were understanding of our situation and did not charge us more.  We ate at Taco Bell after we checked in and took a deep breath. What an ordeal that I will never forget. Thanks again to all who shared our posts and called Delta to get some action to the situation.  We have had countless apologies from them. We have always liked Delta, but the international scenario caused issues and information was lost in translation.  I'm sure they don't want this to happen again. Although it was a crazy 2 days, we still wanted to choose joy and kindness. God protected us from a faulty plane and we are thankful regardless of the frustration. We are blessed!

 It is 1:27 am PST, we have all been up since 9:00pm. Our bodies are all out of sorts with the time change. Yippy Skippy. Looking forward to jet lag with the kids. ...NOT!  (:

Mulan, of course

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 15: The epic Faile edition of "The Out of Towners"

Growing up, my parents always looked forward to the old version of "The Out of Towners" movie with Jack Lemmon. Since it would not come on that often, we would always watch it and laugh so so hard at all the mishaps this couple experienced. Well, let me just tell ya about my day...and I'm not making this up! Here is the Faile's version of the Out of Towners!! So today on January 28 (China time) we woke up at 4:30 am because our driver wanted to leave at 6 am to get us to the airport in Hong Kong. We were going to take the train and then find a way to the airport  (Taxi) but decided that we needed to do a more convenient route because of our two little ones plus 6 bags, 5 carry on and a double stroller. We paid the whopping $400 to take this" safe route" into Hong Kong. We were packed in a little van with all of our stuff hoping no one would get carsick. I had a bag by Talia just in case. The driver was going extremely fast and it was raining like it was a monsoon.  It was dark, crowded, Tali was in my lap and David was in the back filling our the little departure/arrival cards since we had to enter into a new country. Pretty nauseating! !!It was about a 3 hour excursion.  Well, the driver kept falling asleep!!!! He would doze and swerve barely missing another car. We talked to him (He had some broken English, but wasn't talking to us. ) We made Toby yell to keep him awake.  Didn't work either. We were scared and praying the whole way.  Plus David and I couldn't offer to drive..They drove on the other side of the road and have you ever seen the driving in China?  Well, by God's hand and protection from our guardian angels, we arrived. He quickly got our stuff out and drove away. . (Remember what I said earlier about all of our stuff? ) I was pushing the stroller with the kids and holding all the carry on bags and David had the 6 bags on a cart. Well we thought we had 6 bags until we realized there were only 5 and no driver. One of the bags were still in his front seat.  We tried to call our guide to call him, but because we were in another country we could not get through. We tried for 30 minutes.  Finally, Lifeline called me and said the guy is coming back and will meet you out front. We got the bag back after that scare. Phew!!
So we had plenty of time to get through all the hoops and finally sat down at the gate. Time  slipped by as we waited to board. Toby and Tali were not wanting to patiently wait either. They were fidgety, loud, had to go to the bathroom, fussy, but ever so cute.
After waiting for 2 hours, they told us to go to a restaurant in the airport that would serve us lunch. So all 200 some people walked to a very crowded food court area. We ordered rice and chicken for us. It was not good at all!  Cold chicken and blood coming out of the bones. We didn't eat it.  We left but the head server said, "You owe us $250 Yen.. "We said"oh no..the airline said to eat there and they were going to pay for it. " They then said" the airline gave everyone a $100 Yen stipend".  We spent $650 so we need to pay $250. We didn't have Hong Kong currency and the waiter took our boarding passes.   We paid it so we could just take it up with the airline instead.  Ugh!!! $50 US money on pretty yucky food.  Now we come back to the gate and the Captain announces that one of the engine lights is on and they can't figure out why it's on. He even said." Oh its not a big deal. We only use one engine."They kept saying 30 or 40 minutes until we have answers. Finally after hours of wait time, they cancelled the flight and said hopefully tomorrow. They said they would put us up in a hotel and give us dinner. There were over 200 people on this flight! They took us out , after the Priority people went.  We had to follow everyone, but since we had a stroller, we took the elevator and almost lost the group several times.  What a scramble!! They led us out to fill out the departure/arrival cards again, pick up our bags again and go wait for a shuttle to the hotel. David was pushing the cart on a declining slope and all the bags went flying .They ordered one bus for all these people so we were stuck in the last group with another adoptive family. We waited about 1 hr for another shuttle.  We got in it and it was leaking water. It leaked all over two suitcases (me and Toby) getting our clothes wet. We drove 45 minutes to the hotel which is right on the water, but has NO heat. The whole country is experiencing record low,temperatures so I'm sitting in the hotel with no pajamas  (they are wet) wet socks and no heat. It's probably 50 degrees in the room. There are no carpets so these tile floors are extremely cold. When we got to the hotel at 815, we found out that we had a buffet to eat for dinner, but we would have to take a shuttle or walk in the rain. We took the shuttle with kids and our valuables. It was about 5 min, but very tight inside. We walked into this mall to look for the buffet and could not find it. It was closing at 9 and now it was 840. We stumbled across a wedding and thought about crashing it to be able to eat. We finally found it and the food was high end . Nothing really for the kids, so it was scarce.  The good thing is we have met some really neat people. A few offered to carry our  things, etc.. We were all laughing and exchanged names and ate dinner together. Kind of crazy that you know a bunch a names of people on your flight. They all know us too. There are only 4 kids on all of the flight and we have two and the other adoptive family has the other two.
Talia seems nervous and confused. Toby has shown his true colors too. He was so anxious at times.
Please pray that we can get out on time, of course that we get a different plane, and that we can make our other 2 flights out of Seattle. I really just want to get home!
So picture me sitting here in Hong Kong in our hotel room,  wearing my winter coat shivering, listening to pounding rain and people goofing around down the hall. They are laughing and yelling. It's midnight ish here and we are to get up at 530, but I'm afraid to sleep so we don't miss our flight. We are the epic faile out of towners...and I'm not joking.  To be continued!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 14: Last day in China

Today, Wednesday,  January 27 was our last day here in China. Honestly,  it was a pretty uneventful day so this post will be short and sweet.
We woke up hoping for a sunny clear day, but you guessed it, rainy, cold and cloudy. 2 days of sun and 12 days of cold rain....That was a downer.  We had planned to go on the ferris wheel on top of the tower, but the weather changed that plan.):  We ate breakfast, played in the room, went to do some errands at a place called Aeon. It is a large department store that could be compared to a high end Target.  We looked for a couple of specific items then went to a pizza place called Oggies.  Of course, Talia had to use every squatty potty that we passed so that was fun. (Not really ).
We came back to the room for a short time and headed to Trust-Mart (Walmart) to look for a couple more things. We gave Jo Mao Jo restaurant one last shot and then called it a day. Toby woke up wound up pretty tight so we were a bit frustrated trying to tame him today.  Little Talia is a copy cat so she was following right after Toby...not a good combo.
Since we are leaving at 6 am tomorrow, we came back to the room and packed up our stuff. It's pretty snug, but I think we will get it all in our suitcases.
Tomorrow we drive in a van to Hong Kong to catch our flight at 1:00 pm. It will be a long morning getting to the airport, but we are ready to get the show on the road. We fly from Hong Kong to Seattle.   Please pray for safety in our drive to Hong Kong.  Please pray that no one gets car sick, especially Talia.  Please pray that everything will go smoothly with our flight to Seattle and that the kids will not be too rambunctious on the plane. Talk to you later!
Future Elevator Operatir!

Apparently, this is a luxury item.

Rice anyone? 

Chicken bones and head anyone?

These flavors may not fly in the US

Chinese New Year decorations everywhere!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day 13: Ketchup Addict

Another day is over and we are getting closer to going home. It has been a great trip and we have met some awesome families here in China that have been obedient to the call of Adoption for their family.  It has made us feel so blessed to be a part of the adoption world.  I pray that  awareness will sweep across our nation to bring these children into forever families whether they live in the US or in another country. That is my prayer.  If everyone could just see the look on a child's face when visiting an orphanage. I can't get the image out of my head. There was a child on the top floor of Talia's orphanage looking down at us with such a hopeless look on his face wanting it to be his family coming for him. There was another little boy limping down the hallway with his walker with that same solemn look. There were 20 children in Talia's classroom so excited to get a Dum Dum lollipop from us. So heartbreaking and so convicting!  I know David and I are not spring chickens, ( I actually need a major adjustment for a painful lower back. Recommendations? ) and many think we were crazy to consider adopting Toby let alone a Second adoption.  I admit...We..are cRaZy !!!!! We are crazy for orphans that NEED the love of a family! GUILTY!  We pray that maybe just maybe someone reading our story will be inspired to consider adoption or foster care. Married or single. ..if you are eligible, do it! It will be hard, but so so worth it!

Since we are finally on track with our sleep and jet lag is over, we slept in until 8am!! Man, that felt good!  We had an option to eat breakfast in a different location..the 30th floor of the hotel. Wow, what a view! It was very enjoyable and the kids enjoyed it.
We met our group to go to Shamian Island, but before that, we walked around in the gardens outside the hotel. We have a real waterfall in the garden! It is amazing!  We thought we would dodge the raindrops today, but as soon as we arrived at the island, the rain started...Did I mention that it was still very chilly on top of that?  I would much rather have very cold and snow then chilly and rain anyday! Misery!  Well, we went to Lucy's restaurant  (American owned) and ate a grilled cheese sandwich and sweet tea! Hallelujah! We had to ask for the sweetener for the tea, but it was really good!  We discovered that Tali is a ketchup hoarder. Two days ago, we went to Burger King and we had some leftover ketchup packets.  She stuffed them in her pockets and then hid them in her suitcase.  Today we found her sucking out the ketchup secretly on the bus. Our girl LOVES Ketchup. Bethany and Talia have something in common. When the server brought the bottle of ketchup to the table, Talia's eyes lit up. (:  So cute!
We were able to visit a Christian gift shop in China that donates their profits to the orphans in China. Of course we wanted to support this so we were able to find a few items that caught our eye.  I started to tear up when I heard "Shout to the Lord" playing on the CD player.  These sweet ladies were such a blessing that we had to take a picture with them. (See below) They asked me to spread the word about their shop and I said I would!
Soaked and cold, we headed back to the bus to go back to the hotel. Can you believe that we met a guy from the same city that we live? It really is such a small world. We had many common friends and alot to talk about!
After bathtime,  delicious pizza from Oggies, and playtime, the kids fell asleep. David and I took turns working out, catching up on my skincare business (Yes, it is so cool that I can still work and be in China..I'm blessed)  and started organizing our stuff to start packing for our trip home.
Tomorrow is our last full day here and pray the rain will go away...a little sunshine would even be better!
Tonight we also met our guide and she gave us our final documents to carry back to America.  Our process is complete here in China as of today!!!! I feel like I should be getting another degree after all the paperwork that I have been doing since February.  I graduated from the Adoption Academy with honors! Honored that God allowed all this to happen to the Faile family! Blessings to all of you, especially those that donated money or time to make this happen for us and for Talia.