Two years ago today, we popped wide awake with a 5:00am wake-up call and somehow crammed an entire morning's activities into roughly half the time we'd normally have -- plus check-out, and (for me) a very quick bit of special letter-writing. [Original post & photos here.] After an unusually subdued ride to the airport and our last in-country flight to Beijing, the three of us had an uneventful time at the airport while our two companion families unfortunately learned their itineraries had been obliterated by their airline. We all continued to hang out together until that unavoidable moment when they had to go down the corridor to the right while AJ & I took the Pipsqueak down a corridor to the left... and all of a sudden, even though we were still in China, it really felt like the trip was over. Our flight didn't actually leave for some time after that, after yet another unexpected encounter with airport security. [Original post here.] Considering the fact that we were in the air for well over 13 hours, the flight was a good one, and the only scare came just before we began final approach to Dulles when Miri dove headfirst through the tiny space between her seat and the fold-down table... Emerging, as usual, unscathed and wondering why the two funny people traveling with her looked so desperate. There were a few last-minute glitches getting off the plane [Original post & photos here] but, even as we struggled to deal with how different everyone looked from each other, getting through one line after another, finding our luggage, and then finding our folks in the crowd, it felt good to be home. The Pipsqueak seemed to actually recognize her Grandma & Grandpa after all our Skype sessions during the trip, and (despite making sure everyone within a 50-mile radius could hear her displeasure at having to be strapped into a car seat for the first time in her life) seemed to settle into her new home pretty well. I realized I would have some adjusting to do, and just before finally closing my eyes realized that our "Friday" had been over 30 hours long... and fell asleep in my own bed with roughly 16,582 new air miles in my personal log.
One year ago today, we were experiencing "China weather" without the benefit of being distracted by actually being in China... and by the Pipsqueak doing her best to fit the cliched image of a two-year-old. [Original post & photos here.] Despite that, we spent a happy day & evening together as a family, all marveling at the active, verbal little girl that AJ's little China baby had become... and at how much a fixture of life she was. I also realized that I was essentially closing out the first "chapter" of this blog, since from that point forward the content would be mostly real-time events or commentary rather than extensive looks back in time.
Today, I again got home much later than I would've liked from work... thus the 12-hour delay in posting this look back. Miri's latest set of sniffles seems to have departed, but we're all commenting that she seems to get a cold this time of year every year; aside from that, she's keeping Mommy on her toes in a (generally) good way.
I've also been thinking about this blog, and have decided that this post will be the last formal look back. I'll probably make some comments about "when we were in China..." but am really not planning any "Looking Back - Plus Three" (or beyond) entries. I've been working on drafts of some difficult posts -- adoption adds a whole set of complexities all its own to the usual complications & conundrums of life, some rather serious -- but this week I came to the realization that this really is the close of "Chapter 2" and that spending too much time looking back from now on probably isn't the best use of all these electrons.
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!