Sunday, August 25, 2013

Guiyang to Guangzhou, and Medical Frustrations

It's been a few days since we've been able to post any updates, so we're playing catch-up here tonight. Bear with us, as these three posts will be lengthy when put together, but I hope that this will bring everyone up to speed and show why we haven't been able to post anything since Wednesday. We've been trying to keep up with our personal journal entries, so that has made it a bit easier for the blog entries. As always, thanks for the prayers!

Friday was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that we were both dragging a good deal while packing in the morning. Kristie, of course, was exhausted from not having slept the night before, and I was tired from the week that we had had. In the end, we had everything packed up and ready to go a few minutes before the bellboy showed up at the door to help us get our bags down to the lobby. Lucy met us down there, and we were able to check out and load our things in the van without any trouble at all. We got to the airport in plenty of time, got our tickets, passed through security, and arrived at our gate nearly an hour before our flight was to start boarding. Everything was going great, but boy, were we in for a surprise.

Our plane was just a few minutes late in leaving (I think), but we were making good time on the way to Guangzhou. We were scheduled to leave Guiyang at 18:40, and the flight was supposed to take around an hour and forty minutes. The girls' medical appointments were scheduled for the next day (we didn't know what time, but we figured that it would probably be in the morning), so we knew that it was going to be a short night. We had no idea how short it would be. Just as we were coming in to land at the Guangzhou airport, the plane suddenly started to climb again, surprising everybody on board. Poor Isabelle picked up on everyone's alarm and started sobbing. She had done great up to that point, but the unexpected change in direction really scared her, and understandably so. We managed to figure out that we couldn't land because of bad weather at the airport, and it looked like the plane was in a holding pattern around Guangzhou. No problem, right? Wrong. An hour later—about 21:35—we landed and started taxiing. Then we stopped, and no one got off. Later, we found out that we had landed at another airport, and the pilot was hoping that the weather back in Guangzhou would clear up enough to allow us to fly back there that night. I called Michael and told him what was going on. He said that if we could get to Guangzhou that night, we could still do the medical exams on Saturday. If not, then we'd still be able to do them on Monday and have everything done in time for us to make our Embassy appointment on Wednesday and leave on Friday. He asked that I call him back if/when we left for Guangzhou so that he could send the driver back to the airport.

A little over two hours later, we took off again and finally landed at the Guangzhou airport at about half-past midnight. By the time we got our luggage, found the driver, loaded everything into his van, and got to the hotel, it was almost 2:00 in the morning! By that point, Isabelle was falling apart. Hallie had slept for large chunks of time since leaving Guiyang, including the final, actual flight to Guangzhou, but Isabelle hadn't had more than a brief few minutes of sleep while we were sitting on the runway. Thankfully, she fell asleep in my arms in the van. Otherwise, I think that she would have continued sobbing, as she had when we landed in Guangzhou, poor thing. I hope that this doesn't bode ill for the flight home at the end of the week, but I'm afraid that it might. Anyway, we tucked them into bed, grabbed what was essentially a quick nap, because we had to be ready to leave the hotel at 9:30 to make it to the medical appointments on time.

The medical appointments were very frustrating for us. Hallie cried most of the time that we were there, which wasn't a huge surprise to us. She doesn't like loud places, and she already doesn't like the sound of Chinese. Her bond with us has come along quickly enough that she wants to hear only English, and that happened a lot sooner than we thought it would. Isabelle did well through most of it, until the unexpected happened. When it came time for them to draw blood, we found out that their policy was to take each child into the room individually, and the parents were not allowed in the room with them. Seriously?! That was maddening for several reasons, the most important being the bonding and trust that we have been trying to build with our girls over the past two weeks for Hallie and the last week for Isabelle. There wasn't anything that we could do, though, so we just tried our best to see the girls through them. Hallie withdrew inside herself a bit, and she didn't even cry. Isabelle, on the other hand, could be heard wailing through the closed door. She calmed down once I had her back in my arms, but she was very fragile. In fact, once she saw the Band-Aid on her arm, she became convinced that that was the source of all of her pain, and she started crying all over again. I ended up taking it off a few minutes before I had intended to, and as soon as it was gone, she stopped crying. Thankfully, Hallie started coming back to us while we were in the van on our way back to the hotel. The damage to our bond with them could have been so much worse, but it needn't have been challenged this much at all. I feel bad for them but am thankful that they are fine now.

After finishing up some paperwork with our guide, we ate lunch at the Subway, which is only one door down from the hotel entrance. We also picked up a few things at the convenience store in the same building, and then we all went back to the room and took naps. After eating a dinner of instant noodles, Kristie inflated the girls' tub and put it on the bed, hoping that this would help them get accustomed to it before their baths. She put both of them in the tub while it was on the bed. Hallie sat calmly but pretty still, as usual, but Isabelle thought that this was the best thing in the world. She washed herself some but spent most of the time washing Hallie, who tolerated it very well. So funny! You can see the video here.

~ Greg

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