We woke up on March 31st at 5:00 a.m. to prepare for our trip home. It is a long one, to say the least. Our first flight, from Guangzhou to Shanghai, was nice and short and without event. Actually, the whole trip thankfully went that way. We had a decent layover in Shanghai, which gave us sufficient time to check in and relax a bit before boarding our 14-hour flight to Newark. There was a really cool kids play area in the airport which helped pass time for the kids during the wait.
Madi and Charlie were troopers on the "big flight". Charlie struggled a bit to get comfortable because he was overtired. Jimmy walked him to the back of the plane and cradled him until he fell asleep. He slept on Jimmy's lap for 8 hours! Madi stretched out across their two seats and slept for about 6. Jimmy and I managed to sneak in some sleep here and there. When we arrived in Newark, Charlie's paperwork was submitted and he became a U.S. citizen right there at the airport!
By surprise, we were greeted in Newark by the Burns family. Their daughter, Katie, came home from China in the same group as Madi. They traveled two hours and took five trains to get to Newark airport to welcome us back to U.S. soil. They had handmade banners, a bag of bagels in hand and some toys for the kids. We haven't seen them since our China travels in 2006, so it was a welcome and very sweet surprise.
We knew the trip couldn't go entirely without a hitch. Our major snag was a delay from Newark to Palm Beach, our final destination:) Our flight ended up leaving Newark at about 10:30, 1 1/2 hours past scheduled departure. That put our arrival into Palm Beach at 1:30 a.m. where we were greeted by Bubba and Grandpa Murphy to get us home. We could have cried. You tend to get emotional after traveling 32 hours straight! They were smitten with Charlie from the get-go and were so excited to give Madi big hugs.We allowed Charlie to sit on my lap for the drive home. He was scared of the car seat, but we know that will be short-lived.
We made it to bed at about 3:30 after visiting with Grandparents and friends, and Charlie didn't fuss too much in his new crib. If you could see the crib he used at the White Swan, you'd understand why! He must feel like he's in paradise here at home. We listened to him coo for a while before he fell asleep, and he actually made more sounds and noises last night than we've heard him make in the whole two weeks. The kids are both sleeping in this morning while we catch up. It will be a fun weekend of introducing him to his new surroundings. I think Charlie's diggin' his new life. So far, so good...