Monday, August 1, 2011

The Rest of the Story - Part 3

I don't know what I was expecting the international arrival area to look like, but it was nothing like I imagined.  It was very "governmental," dark, and colorless.  We stood in a que to process our paperwork. Our passports were looked over and stamped.  We handed over the boys' visa documents then those were passed on to the proper people.  Ken grabbed all of our bags and we headed down for more waiting in line.  Ken was able to get all of our boarding passes except his, so we split up and I went on with all the kids through security.  Not fun, but we got through it.

Ken got through 20 minutes later and we headed to the Admiral's Club.  It was so nice to be in a quiet spot.  Hannah was feeling sick, cold, and clammy.  I was worn out from almost no sleep in 40+ hours, so both Hannah and I slept (on the floor and a chair) for a short time.  TJ and Kenz found a playroom and took the boys there.  It was a cute little room, just perfect for them to play and us not worry about disturbing others.

We didn't make the first flight, but another was boarding just after, so we headed to that gate.  We were positive that if any of us made it, it would not be all of us.  The flights were all packed and we were down the list of standbys.
Sure enough, after calling about eight standby people ahead of us, four of us could get on.  Hannah tearfully said she wanted to stay behind with her dad and Travis.  We were all tearing up by the time we got up to get our boarding passes.  That's when the lady said she could take one more.  Hannah declined through even more tears, saying she didn't want to leave Ken and Travis "alone."  Such a sweetie. And she was feeling so very sick.

Then, as if God made seats appear on the plane, they said they could get all 3 of them on! They asked a couple of people to move to the exit rows so that our kids could sit elsewhere.  Obviously, two people agreed to move.  I bawled. Ken teared up.  The kids cried.  The plane's engines were getting louder as another attendant said, "Time is literally up.  We have no more time.  Go get on NOW."  So we hurried down the way and boarded the plane.  We had to split up in different rows all over the plane, but who cares?!  TJ and Kenz sat on the same row, both in the aisle seat, so they were near each other.  Ken and Travis sat at the very back.

I was supposed to sit in a middle seat between two men, but when the gentleman at the window saw me come in, he offered to switch with me since, as he said, it would be easier to be by the window with a child.   Then another man moved so Hannah could sit next to us.  Their kindness was SO appreciated.

The almost-3-hour flight was emotional.  Tian slept all but the last 25 minutes.  Hannah was feeling so sick, she kept a "clean" bag in her lap the entire time.  It was surreal.  Just 24 hours before, we were trying to wrap our minds around the fact that we would be staying in China the entire weekend, splitting up, and not getting home until Monday and Tuesday.  Now, here were ALL were, flying from LA to Dallas.  Together!  It sill makes me cry.  Only God could pull off something that miraculous!  How can I thank Him?  How can I even express my gratefulness?  It's just unbelievable.

Jesus Himself said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."  We witnessed that first hand.  What relief and peace to all be home, back on US soil, back in our hometown, surrounded by everything familiar.

While WE feel this way, we have strong empathy for the boys who are NOT surrounded by anything familiar.  They have been so strong, so flexible during the past weeks.  We expect the next weeks to be hard for them.  We expect them to love it here, but also grieve the loss of everything familiar.  We know God's grace will cover them as it has all of us so far.

4 comments:

  1. Bawling! Oh my. Amazing. God is so tender. There is no reasOnable explanation for all the human kindnesses you experienced.

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  2. So glad to hear the Brown family made it home, all together, and sooner than you had thought possible! You guys are amazing! The first couple weeks at home have, in fact, been harder on our Ellie than the time with us in China. But she is doing great - I'm sure your boys will, too. Congratulations and welcome home! (Beth and Tom W. from Travel Group 1750)

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  3. Yay! Praise God for all the wonderful "angels" He put in your path!

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  4. What an amazing testimony of God's love for you and your family!

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