Last fall, a mom named, "Robyn" announced on a yahoo group that her family had been matched with a little girl from Guiping, the city where Cora is from. Cora's orphanage is pretty small and we've only connected with a handful of families with Guiping kiddos, so I was ecstatic when I read the news. I emailed this mom right away to say hello, and we've been talking back and forth ever since!
Yesterday that family flew home from China with their new daughter, and since they were traveling through Chicago, we decided to make a day trip to the Windy City and greet them at the airport. They live pretty far away and this would be a rare opportunity to meet them and reunite our Guiping girls. I was SO excited! I had been talking to Olivia and Cora about meeting their friend, Mamie, and had imagined the cute pictures we were going to (hopefully) get of the two China sisters together, once again!
Homecomings are exciting. I've been up in the air, eagerly waiting to land and see my friends and family that I knew were waiting there for me. I've also been on the ground, anxiously waiting to see my friends and to meet their new children. It's a pretty sweet reunion, either way.
So Robyn, if you're reading this, this is "my side of the story" - the story from the ground.
We got to the airport and checked our friends' flight status. Delayed. We found the "International Arriving Passengers" area and checked for another update. Delayed even further. The flight ended up being an hour late, and by the time they landed, Robyn was sending texts that they were were going to have to run to catch their next flight. We agreed to run right along with them. :)
Waiting for them was awful, though, because I wasn't even convinced we were in the right place. Assuming the worst, I waivered between wondering if we would even see them to wondering if we had already missed them. Fortunately Robyn kept sending texts, updating us about their progression through customs. Finally, she sent the text that they were re-checking bags, and I looked up and saw her behind the glass doors carrying her little girl! I started waving frantically to get her attention and called for Brendan to grab the girls. Knowing we were going to have to move fast, we made the split decision for Brendan to head for the elevator with the girls (and our huge double-stroller) while I greeted the family.
The "plan" was to meet upstairs to catch the tram to the domestic terminal, but when we reached the top of the escalator, we saw the tram was waiting and jumped inside just before the doors closed. We took off, and I looked out the window to see Brendan and the girls waiting outside. They had missed their ride, and with that we missed our shot at reuniting the girls... Really - it was only a matter of seconds.
But here was my friend that I had been emailing, calling, and (very recently) texting, standing right before my very eyes. And she was holding a precious, little bundle, someone pretty important to my daughter's past. It was almost surreal!
Now you need to know that Robyn and I can talk. I think for the first time ever, though, we looked at each other speechless. (Honestly, how do you pick something to talk about knowing you only have a few minutes? Especially after one of you has just traveled halfway around the world to bring home a child!)
We exchanged a few details while riding on the train and racing toward the gate. Their boarding passes weren't working for some reason, so we got maybe an extra minute to catch up as much as we could. And we managed to take one picture. So here we are. Our Guiping group minus my Guiping girl.
Stupid late airplane.
To sum up the day? It was crazy, chaotic, totally nuts... Not at all what I had planned or hoped for, but absolutely worth it!