The Long Journey Home

This was it. The moment I'd been dreading ever since learning I'd have to finalize Dylan's adoption by myself in a strange new city. After living in Kazakhstan for almost three months, it was time to head back to the US. Because Bill's visa expired before Dylan's adoption was finalized, I was now forced to travel alone for more than 20 hours with my newly adopted one-year-old.

 

Earlier that day, we had completed the last step of our adoption process by having our exit interview at the American Embassy. After we were done at the Embassy, Dylan and I headed back to our Almaty apartment one last time for a bit of a rest before heading out to the airport. Around 11 pm, our associate picked us up, took us to the airport, helped us check in, and unceremoniously shoved me towards the security check point. When I looked back to ask her a question, she was gone. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was alone with a baby in an airport where none of the employees seemed to speak English. Hopefully I'd be able to find my way to the gate in time for my flight!

 

Somehow, we managed. Dylan and I left Almaty around 2 am and had a bulkhead seat on the flight to Frankfurt. We were seated across a woman with a little girl whom I thought I recognized from the American Embassy earlier that day. Turns out, I was right. K had just adopted a 15-month-old girl from another region in Kazakhstan and also happened to be from the Chicago area (actually lived about 20 minutes from my house). While chatting, we found out we were booked on all the same flights, so we decided to stick together for the duration of our journey.

Dylan did all right on the flight to Frankfurt. He slept quite a bit, but we discovered he did not like the bassinet because he couldn't turn over in it, so I ended up using the bassinet as my tray table and Dylan slept on my shoulder the whole way. We had a four hour layover in Frankfurt, and by the time we hopped on the plane to Chicago, Dylan was overtired, overwhelmed, and more than a little cranky. 

 

For the whole 9 hours of the flight, Dylan could not, would not, settle down. He barely slept, and if I wasn't shoveling food into his mouth he was SCREAMING bloody murder. Yeah, he was THAT kid on the plane. It was an absolute nightmare!!! I spent most of the flight standing in the back of the airplane, trying to rock my wailing child to sleep and to keep the tears that rimmed my eyes from streaming down my face.


Thank God, thank God, for K. She introduced me to A, another adoptive mother going home while she awaited court, and A's father, who had traveled to Kazakhstan with his daughter. When we arrived in Chicago, A and her dad helped us with our luggage as we maneuvered the strollers towards the Immigration officers.

It took only a few minutes to get through immigration (by the way, Dylan became a U.S. citizen the second we got off the plane). K & I said goodbye to each other, and then we went through these glass doors, where I hoped to find a bathroom so I could brush my hair, apply a bit of makeup, and change out of the baby-spit soaked shirt I was wearing. Instead, I found myself standing right in front of my brother-in-law, Mike, and his wife Kathi, who had generously offered to pick us up from the airport (Bill was in PA on a business trip). Despite the state I was in, it was so wonderful to see them! Besides, they barely even looked at me. They were too excited to meet the newest member of the family!

 

Unfortunately Dylan was less than thrilled to be presented with yet more new people. He did not allow either of them to hold him, screaming and screeching every time they tried to get near him. Not at all the way we imagined his introduction to the family would be, but what can you do? It was just too much for the poor little guy. When we got to the car, he settled into the car seat and passed right out.

When we got home, we were both so tired we took a 5-hour nap, then woke up, ate, and went downstairs to watch TV, where we fell asleep again until Bill got home from his trip. Seeing him was fantastic! Dylan was a little weirded out at first to see Bill, but then seemed to go, "hey, I know this guy!" and played with him for a long time.

 

At around 12:30 am we all decided we couldn't go on any longer, put Dylan in his crib, and tucked ourselves in for our first night HOME as a family...

Comments

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  • Me acuerdo como si fuese ayer...Que tortura! Pero valio la pena, los llantos, los gritos y el desespero! Que increible fue ese momento, Khadine! Love it!

  • In reply to NinaGoyco:

    Debut y despedida! Desde esa no vuelvo a viajar sola con Dylan. Solo pensarlo me da stress, pero por supuesto que valio la pena!

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    20 horas y yo que pensaba q 5 eran mucho. Eres una titana. Yo tiemblo de pensar viajar sola con Amelia.

  • In reply to abelaval:

    Es que lo son!!! Yo no me tiro un viaje a PR sola ni aunque me paguen! Y menos ahora que Dylan esta mas grandecito y mucho mas activo...uy, no...

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    One of my favorite days....seeing you two thru those glass doors! Still can't imagine the 20 hours on the plane(s)...yikes. Just so good to have you home & get to meet Dylan!

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    And for us to see you as well! I'll never forget your face when we walked through those doors. It was very touching. I am very lucky to have you for a sister-in-law!

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    I will never forget your face & that day either. When something is finally happening-for someone you love & something they've wanted- it is VERY memorable! Especially when it involves something as amazing as a child, specifically Dylan! I feel very lucky to have you as a sister-in-law too! Thanks, Khadine.

  • In reply to KhadineKubal:

    I will always regret being in Tokyo and not at the airport for the love-filled arrival-home scene. Yours and Dylan's homeward-bound trip still brings tears to my eyes.

  • In reply to emmabradshaw:

    Brings tears to my eyes, too, but for different reasons!
    ;-) The emotions of the moment kind of got swallowed by the frustration on the journey. Now that I can look back and think about that day without trembling, I can appreciate those precious welcome home moments a lot more.

  • In reply to emmabradshaw:

    We are all celebrating with you today!!!

  • In reply to kmccarron:

    Thanks, Kelley! :-)

  • In reply to kmccarron:

    Emocionante descripcion de tu 1er. viaje con un hijo. No digas que no volveras a viajar sola con un ni

  • In reply to Valmir:

    Tienes razon, nunca deberia decir nunca, pero si puedo evitarlo...lo hare! :-)

  • In reply to Valmir:

    Por tu relato volvimos a vivir la pesadilla. Todos estabamos nerviosos por tu regreso sin Bill. Llamamos tantas veces veces a tu casa y nadie contestaba (la siesta de 5 horas) hasta que el pap

  • In reply to Valmir:

    Se me habia olvidado eso! A la verdad que si, mucha gente se sufrio ese viaje con nosotros. Definitivamente que valio la pena!

  • In reply to Valmir:

    Khadine--what an emotion-filled entry! I was so thrilled to read that you found a companion on the plane!!! How wonderful! That, I'm sure, helped. I've flown with children before, but never that long of a flight. You must have also been so anxious, so everything...by yourself, making this journey. Wow! That's all I can say. Wow. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about your long journey, figuratively and literally.

    Have you maintained contact with the woman you met on the plane, the one with the little girl?

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    It was definitely an adventure, Anita! I am so, so grateful that K was there, too. She really and truly helped me out a lot. I have no idea what I would have done without her! We did communicate and get together for a little while after we got home, but unfortunately we have seemed to mostly keep in touch via the yearly X-mas card update as the years have gone on. I will never, ever forget her, though!

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