Friday, March 13, 2009

Not Much Time...

To update the blog anymore - - it's busy around here! But the kids are in bed, so I can share a little bit about our magnificent trip and how things have been going since Asa has been home.

Jim and I left our house around 3:00pm last Wednesday. The ride to Miami was nice & quiet (we're rarely in the car alone together) so we had plenty of time to just enjoy each other's company. Once in Miami, we checked into our hotel and had a nice dinner date. It was hard to sleep, though, because we were so excited!! We got up early the next morning, headed to the airport and met our sweet travel companions (they were picking up their little boy, too).

An aside: If you are headed to Haiti to bring home your child/ren, travel AIR FRANCE!!! This was, hands down, the best experience I've ever had on a plane. Their rates were less than AA, the planes were new & nice, they served meals and walked the aisle with a basket of toys for children! Awesome!! I could go on and on about how amazing they were. But I won't. Do check them out, though.

We arrived around noon on Thursday and the airport didn't seem nearly as chaotic as it normally does. Retrieving our baggage was quick and easy and our ride out to the creche was uneventful. It was Jim's first trip, though, so he was amazed by every aspect of being in Haiti. Pulling onto the grounds of the creche is always such a cool feeling. It's so beautiful and lush, and you can hear the sounds of the children inside. The little ones all came up to the door as our truck pulled up. Little Asa ran right to daddy and they had so much fun together. We were able to spend time out in the yard, playing soccer and frisbee with some of the older children. Since Asa was coming home with us, he was able to sleep in our room - which was so nice. He was finally all ours.

We knew that Friday would be a short day at the creche. We spent time down the road at the village school and, then, back at the creche where Asa had preschool. After a light lunch, we packed up, said goodbye to the aunties/staff and headed back into Port Au Prince. One very special part of our trip was the fact that we were able to meet Asa's birth mother. I feel like the meeting went very well and, while we'll keep most of the details private for Asa, I will say that meeting her was a memory I will always treasure. I'm confident that she loves him deeply and that she knows we do, as well.

We arrived at the airport early, had time to check in and then sit upstairs in the little cafe. Their toasty ham & cheese sandwiches on baguettes are the BEST, especially with coke in a glass bottle! We were amazed at how well Asa handled the new environment. He had a hotdog and some juice, then spent time coloring. We could tell he was getting drowsy as we were getting ready to board. He fell asleep before take-off and missed all the cool toys & activities that the lovely Air France flight attendant gave us. I woke him up before we landed so he could use the potty but he went right back to sleep and totally missed the landing, too.

Asa woke up as we were riding on the moving sidewalks and he was ALL SMILES. Again, not at all phased by all the new sights and sounds. Immigration in Miami was a breeze. They were so nice and processed us (along with the wonderful couple with whom we traveled) in a matter of 15 minutes or so. We got our bags, took another potty break and headed to our car which was waiting in the parking garage! Asa loves our big, red machine. He wasn't so sure about the carseat at first, but with a tiny bit of encouragement, he got right in. We knew it would be too late to head all the way home to Tampa, but did want to get a little head start. Asa seemed fine in the car so we drove across Alligator Alley and spent the night at a hotel in Naples. It was so cute to see Asa under the fluffy, white duvet.

Saturday morning started with Asa's first warm bath... he LOVED it! We had a wonderful breakfast together (Asa thoroughly enjoys scrambled eggs!) before traveling the final leg of our trip. Within two hours, we were pulling up to our house and were greeted by three of the happiest kiddos ever! Asa was timid at first, but warmed up to his siblings after Camden brought him some big Tonka trucks. He was a total chatterbox within hours.

We are amazed at all the songs he knows... and his ABC's... and his numbers - all in English! Teacher Jean (at the creche) has done a fabulous job of preparing the kids for coming home to their English speaking homes. Asa does speak a ton of Creole, too, which is so precious. I understand a lot of what he's saying and the kids are even starting to pick up some Creole.

The first few days went so smoothly. Asa was taking naps and sleeping really well. He would play happily, but was also very content to just be held by mama & papa. On Tuesday, though, he became more anxious at nap and bedtime. He cries a really sad cry that Chloe says reminds her of a baby tiger. So we hug, cuddle, comfort & rock him, and it seems like he might be feeling a little more at ease; he calms down quicker and wakes up happy. He and the dog aren't best friends.... yet. But we've made progress; Asa no longer shrieks when he sees the dog and our sweet golden, Henry, is really good about just avoiding the new little family member. He's really gentle and intuitive like that.

Every day is full of fun, new firsts for Asa. But we can also sense a little bit of sadness and loss. I'm sure he misses his friends, caretakers and the routine of the creche. It's all he's ever known. The wonderful news is the sad moments are fleeting and his happiness & joy light up the house. Asa seems to really be bonding to us really well; he makes wonderful eye contact, comes to us for comfort and seems to sense how much we love to meet his needs. It's been an exhausting, overwhelming and AMAZING week!

10 of your thoughts:

Greg's Wife said...

How wonderful to read this. I have wondered a lot about how our children will handle the loss aspect of not being in their familiar environments. Thank you for being honest about it. And thanks for the Air France tip, which I'll hopefully need sooner- rather than later! Praise God you were able to meet and communicate with his birth mama. It really does sound like His hand has covered every detail of this long-awaited homecoming!

Melissa E. said...

Keep all this good news coming! I am sure their will be more moments like you have seen as he grieves his old relationships and routine and home. How fortunate for him that he is in a family that loves him and that his new life will be better on so many levels than the old one was!

Again, Congratulations on your new baby boy!

Melissa E. said...

I can't believe I wrote 'their' instead of 'there'! My English teacher father would croak!:-) But you get the idea!
Haha! Hugs to Asa from his friends in Tennessee.

Dominique said...

It's so amazing and wonderful that you've completed the adoption and have him home after all this time, and I'm thrilled to hear that he's adjusting well.

geralyn said...

It is wonderful to hear about Asa and how well everyone is adjusting. Can't wait to write about this stuff myself here someday soon.

AprilC said...

Can't wait to see photos of the WHOLE family!

Brent and Lori said...

Great to know about Air France! I'm glad you posted all these details.

I really wonder how they process all of this - nothing they're experiencing relates to anything they've dealt with before in their lives. I'm glad to know that Asa is taking it in stride and that he knows who will comfort him.


Mary said...

Wish we would have gone Air France... lol! "Exhausting, overwhelming and amazing" would be my words exactly to describe our 1st week home too! I am so happy for you :-)

Tracy said...

THanks so much for posting your experience! Gives us fellow adoptive families something to dream and hope for! Asa sounds like a pure joy. Congrats to your family and we are so glad he is adjusting so well!!!

Amanda said...

Sounds wonderful! How awesome!!!