By the time that we landed in New York we couldn't remember the last time that we had slept. Andrew was continually getting sicker. Boohoo just kept amping herself up. I was beyond desperate, but still trying to push it all away because I wasn't home yet. I couldn't let go yet.
As we were leaving the airplane we realized that Boohoo's diaper was leaking out onto her clothes and staining and stinking. I wrapped her in my (lightweight) jacket and carried her out of the plane and into the United States. Welcome "home", baby. And by home I mean a country that you've never thought of, dreamed of, or wished to visit where no on understands you, you're scared out of your ever-loving mind, and nothing makes sense.
So, Andrew and I hightail over to customs to try and not have to wait in line. I don't know what we were hurrying for because we had nothing but time. I'm pretty sure I remember a sign saying the government equivalent of "No Cutting" but Andrew gets in line and I take Boohoo to the bathroom to change her diaper and clothes. That is sooooo easy to do with a toddler who hates you, doesn't want you to touch them, help them, do anything for them, or let go of them. I remember how much time I put into picking out an outfit for her to come home in and I was trying to change her into it, or out of it. I don't remember. I couldn't remember then either. I was so flustered, so flabbergasted. I remember wondering how I could have ever thought it was important when at that moment I couldn't have cared less. I could have gone all "Emperor's New Clothes" on people and given the finger to anyone who dared to look at me funny. It didn't matter. We go back and we "cut" in line anyway, there weren't that many people and we get in line with Andrew.
I remember a vague problem. I can't recall what it was. Maybe we got in the wrong line? Maybe it was a problem with someone in front of us? Maybe it was a misunderstanding between us and the customs agent? I don't remember. I remember more stress because surely we didn't have enough. I remember Andrew and I snarking at each other a little bit, but being too exhausted to really put our hearts into disagreeing. I also remember something weird about our luggage, but I have no idea what it was. It involved being wrong, being confused, and being tired. I do remember a burst of excitement and gravity when we went through customs.
We were here. We had done it. We had gotten her to the United States. We wanted to be happy and I think deep inside we were, but it meant nothing to her, and there was so much more in the front of our minds...like surviving.
We had a seven hour layover in JFK. Seven hours. I have never experienced a worse seven hours of my life, ever ever ever ever ever EVAH!!!!! Boohoo fell apart and I couldn't take anymore.
My first real memory is trying to get something to eat. Andrew was so sick that he was barely upright at this point. I was holding Boohoo, of course, as well as wearing a big heavy backpack, and carrying a purse. Boohoo was so upset. She was wiggling and fussing and trying to get down and crying and whining. It was awful. I'm seriously sitting here on my couch seeing myself holding my daughter in front of a fast food restaurant in the terminal. She's crying. I called my mom to tell her that we were there and I just started bawling. I couldn't keep it in anymore. I know that I scared my mom. She did the mom-thing and tried to boost me up and put me back together again over the phone. We hung up and I think I might have eaten a little. I don't remember. Boohoo wouldn't eat anything. Andrew was too sick to eat. Almost immediately after the phone call ended we ran into a couple that we had met on the way out and they had adopted a
My phone rang and gave me a wonderful break before I became physically violent with those
Did I mention that we had a SEVEN hour layover? SEEEEEEEVVVVVVVEEEEEN! That was about six hours too long. What makes it even more frustrating is that our own Metropolis is barely seven hours away from New York. I would have paid approximately 1 million dollars to rent a car, strap her down in a carseat and just drive home while she screamed bloody murder. It would have been about ten hundred times easier than what we did. SEVEN hours. Seven! AHHHHHHHHH! Sorry, I'm just having a PTSD meltdown over here. No big deal. I'll get back to you in a few months. Okay. I have pulled my big girl panties over my head and I'm going on.
We walked to the farthest end of the terminal and sat down. We were by ourselves. Andrew was feeling really really bad at this point. He was basically slumped in his seat immobile. Boohoo stayed in the nearby vicinity of us for awhile and then she started wandering off. It was my job to tail her. That was okay until she started going over to the venders and ripping things off of their shelves. I tried to distract her/stop her without making a big deal of it, but she wasn't having anything to do with that. So, I picked her up and took her away.
At that point her script read "Cue murderous rage" and so she did.
Before I realized this was going to be a multiple hour fit I just took her back to where we had been sitting and where Andrew was near-death/guarding our bags. Well, our little section of chairs now included two older African American women, they were probably both in their fifties, and they disagreed with me holding my screaming child. They started talking to me, super helpful things like:
She just wants down.
She just wants to see things.
She's not going to hurt anything, just let her be.
Blah blah blah. Disapproving look, muttered comment to each other.
I'm not saying anything. I'm just trying to be nice, trying not to cry.
And then they say, "Just tell her she's allowed to look, but not to touch anything."
To that I finally had to reply. I looked at them and said, "She doesn't speak English."
And they did this half-laugh and rolled their eyes like I was just some know-it-all young mom who couldn't raise a child half as well as they had raised their own and wouldn't listen to wisdom. They obviously thought that I was joking like it was some kind of broad social commentary on raising a strong-willed toddler. No, I was really serious ladies, SHE DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. Eventually, they were so disgusted by us that they found somewhere else to sit
I couldn't really dwell long on it because her tantrum was only getting louder and louder. There were a few moments where I was able to put her down and without going into detail her behavior was completely inappropriate and I had to pick her up again. Then they opened up the gate where we were sitting and so it started to fill up with people waiting to catch their flight and so I needed to move out of there.
I moved all the way down to the very end of the terminal where it was just me and the janitor and some businessman trying to sleep. Boohoo at this point was screaming, hitting, kicking, wailing, biting, flailing, out of control. I did the only thing that I could do I held her, and I cried, and I talked to myself (she was screaming too loudly to hear me) and I quoted the only verse I could remember over and over again.
"Proverbs 3:5-6 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.'" It was the only thing I remember. I said it over and over and over again. Out loud. Crying my eyes out. Holding my daughter who was screaming her lungs out. I paced in a circle and said it over and over and over again.
I did that for three hours.
After three hours her screeching and fighting had been subdued to clinging whimpers and the occasional moan. They opened up that gate as well and so we were kicked out by default, but she was calm enough that it was okay. We checked back in with Andrew who was still feeling like death, but maybe a little better. Who still couldn't really move around though so he kept watch over the bags some more and I started bigger loops around the airport, making circles around the entire "wing" of the airport. I was so tired. I remember how heavy she was, and how thirsty I was, and how much my arms hurt and my feet hurt. I was just exhausted. It was awful awful awful. I walked that loop for another 90 minutes, around and around.
I circled back to Andrew again and he was starting to feel little bit better. We figured he just had some kind of "travel bug". He ate some crackers and took some Excedr!n Migraine, and I bought him some Dramamine. We made our way over to our gate, finally. She started up fussing again when we were in line to board and everyone was staring at us warily. Andrew and I made some loud comments about "just back from Ethiopia" and people seemed to cut us some slack. We were on a stinking tiny little prop-plane for the ridiculously short flight home. Boohoo was a "lap child" for that flight, but thankfully the flight was pretty empty and either no one had the seat next to us or we scared them to the back of the plane. She fought about being buckled in, but she fell asleep in about 90 seconds. I just sat there, shell-shocked.
We landed in Metropolis. All I wanted was to see Peanut and Pickle, desperately. At the time Peanut was 3.5 and I had been so worried about leaving my sensitive souled son, and Pickle was a baby, not even seventeen months old yet. We didn't have a welcoming party at the airport even though I thought that it always looked so fun! and great! and three cheers for adoption! I'm sure it was best that we didn't, but I miss the idea of it. My mom was there with my boys and that was enough. They were happy to see us, for sure, but they were shocked and confused too. They were just babies who had never been without me for even a night before and then I had just been gone. We got hugs and kisses and confused glances as they looked between me and my mom. Even over the next few days they would turn to my mom sometimes instead of me. It wasn't a big deal, or a big problem, but I saw it and it was just that many more little stabs to the heart. I don't think that I have a single picture of our "homecoming". Maybe my mom does on her camera. I guess I should check. Just about as soon as I actually got inside the walls of my own house, I came apart. I really did, my brain froze and my heart shattered. I was Mombie, the Mom-Zombie.
And thus began our life together as a family of five.
|I want to say this is Customs.|
|Welcome to the United States, baby. Have a chicken nugget.|
|Sleeping on the way to Metropolis.|