**April 22, 2011**
Jihee did so much better than expected for her first night with us. She slept on the bed in between Jason and I at the hotel and was asleep a good chunk of the night. So many people praying for us and it was definitely felt. We were hoping for a decent night so we could save our energy for the plane ride home.
We were all up early getting the last of the bags packed. The bellboy came up and took our things downstairs for us and we checked out around 7:30am. We got on the KAL limo for the hour long ride back to Incheon International Airport.
You'll have to excuse the crazy expression on Jason's face. Although Cora had done well during the night, it was by no means a full night of sleep. And since we were sort of already running on half empty, it took a few trys before we could figure out how to snap a picture.
We got to the airport, piled our bags on a cart, and headed for the ticket line. The airline wouldn't let us buy Cora's ticket in advance since they required her passport information. Cora and I walked around while Jason took care of that. Then it was off for the checked baggage line. There were soooo many people in line...it wound around a zillion different metal posts. The thought of standing in that line for the next hour with a 9 month old baby who wasn't too sure of me or what was going on did not sound appealing. Then something beautiful happened. A sign. It read "For families with small children"...woot! That's us! There were only 3 people in that line and Cora barely held herself together during that wait. I was so thankful for that line!
We went to our gate and since it was an international flight, we had to be there early so we had some time to diddle until our plane was ready.
Asiana had arranged for us to have bulkhead seating. It was such a blessing to have these seat assignments. There are only two seats in this "row" and it has some extra leg room or to put up the bassinet. The airline attendant came over and asked if we wanted it and we promptly filled it with diapers, wipes, food, bottles, and toys that we figured we were going to need.
Cora was such a trooper and very brave. I can't even imagine how hard this was for her. She was very uncertain and unsettled.
We flew from Seoul to Chicago. It was a long flight with most of it spent walking the plane. I wore her in the Ergo a majority of the time as that was one of the only ways she would sleep or be comforted. I think it offered her some security being all tucked into that thing with her blanket to hold.
The bulk head space was perfect for our needs. I had just enough room to take two steps forward and then two steps back. I kept that pattern up for a majority of the flight. There were times that I sat on the arm of the seat, and propped my head up with my hand so I could close my eyes for just a little bit.
We landed in Chicago, took the tram to our next gate, and waited for the next plane to depart. It was another windy, rainy day and we were told to expect turbulence for the majority of the flight. They were right, the "fasten seat belt" sign remained on much of the flight as we were bounced and jostled around.
We touched down, stopped in the restroom to change Cora's clothes, and headed for baggage claim.
I was so excited to see Ella, Ben, and Lily. I had missed them so much!!
And I was so thrilled to introduce their new baby sister to them.
We spent lots of time hugging and talking to each other while we waited for our bags to begin their journey around the baggage claim carousel. We waited...and we waited...and we waited. Finally the carousel stopped turning all together...and no sign of our bags.
We found out our bags were on the next flight arriving from Chicago. They ended up sending them in a cab to our house. Since our house was not on any google map at that time, the cab driver called about a thousand times asking for directions. He finally arrived sometime close to 1am. Luckily, we were still on Korea time and jetlag was already starting to kick in, so niether of us 3 were anywhere close to wanting to sleep.
The kiddos had made signs to welcome us home...
There were balloon, streamers, and even a beautiful plant.
Oh...it was good to be home.
Now we just had the challenge of working through jetlag and starting to get Cora settled in.
Jetlag was tough for all of us! It took about 10 days for Cora and Jason to come around and about 2 weeks for me. We spent a lot of time awake at 3:00 in the morning...which wasn't easy since we knew that there were 3 other little children who were going to be awake and ready to go come 7am.
The first step of the journey was done. We had survived the return flight and then the jetlag. Now it was time to start the uphill climb of bonding and attaching. The task of finding a new normal as a family of 6. And the wonderful pleasure of waking up to this precious girl every day.
I can hardly believe that one year ago today, we brought home our 4th child.
We are immeasurably blessed.