...because we all have our motley moments!

Monday, November 3, 2008

God Bless America!

OK everyone, please humor me as I take one more trip down memory lane. In case you missed my posting last Monday, our son Alex is adopted from Russia. Last Monday was three year anniversary of our Family Day.

Three years ago today, we all flew home. I have heard countless other mothers share the stories of their children's births with pride. They survived a battle. How long was the labor? C-section or vaginal? And most importantly, drugs or no drugs? It's like a mom's rite of passage. Our flight home is my equivalent of the birth story.

Alex was 13 months old and had been with us for one week. It is very common for the babies to get a rash on their face from changing their diet, so I was very careful to try to keep him on Russian food. No matter what I tried, his rash kept getting worse, and he was becoming colicky. By the time we left Russia, I was only giving him the formula we bought in his region. Once we were home, we learned the formula was making him sick. When we picked him up, he had only two bottom teeth, and quickly began cutting two more. On top of this, Alex was born with a hernia. We were told that up front, but we had no idea how it would affect him. He was in so much pain and discomfort, that he almost had to have surgery in Russia. Surgery would have meant adding at least a week to our stay, which was not financially or emotionally possible. We had to get him home as soon as we could.

Apparently, when you are flying internationally, the plane departure time is just a guideline. If you can be there at 9:15 am, great. If not, we will cram everyone else on the plane and wait for you. We took our dear sweet child to the airport and began our migration home. Our agency dropped us off about three hours early, so we waited. We finally boarded the plane and waited another hour. I spent most of this time worrying that we would miss our connecting flight to Indy. Finally, we were off, and Alex was doing good. He was such a friendly happy baby, so we had a chance that things would go well. All our fellow passengers thought he was so cute.

Somewhere over England, things went south - and not just the plane. Alex's hernia was acting up, and he began to cry. At the same time, our in flight movie started, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". Then, he began to scream. I am not exaggerating when I say he screamed for the whole entire movie. When you adopt internationally, it is very important for attachment that only the parents hold the child for about six weeks. Once Alex started screaming, a thirty-something Russian American offered to help me with him. I resisted, but after an hour, I handed him over. She didn't have much luck either. Then the lady next to us showed me how to rub his tummy counter-clockwise. It is what all Russian mothers do to calm their Russian children. It didn't help much either. As time wore on, I began to cry too. A sweet Russian grandmother (Babushka) came up and asked something in Russian. Our neighbor answered her, and then she addressed me in signs. She shook her head no and pointed to her eye. Then she made two thumbs up at her waist and lifted them up. She said, "No cry. Umph!" Some of what she meant was lost in translation. She did this over and over. Alex ended up screaming through the whole movie and finally slept when we were about an hour away from New York.

Now, I had been praying too this whole time for God to deliver us from this situation. I was pretty angry at God for a long because I felt like God turned his back on not just me but my new child. Christian artist Scott Krippayne's song "Sometimes He Calms the Storm" fits our flight to a tee. God could have calmed Alex, which was my will. Instead, he supplied us with three guardian angles to help us in our time of need. Looking back, I am thankful to have the wonderful story and memories of our angels. God was right. Again.

When we landed in New York, we had 25 minutes to go through customs with no less than 100 other people, make Alex a US citizen, get our bags, re-check our bags and get to our flight. By the grace of God, and with the help of another guardian angel dressed as an airport worker, we made it.

Here are some before and after flight pictures. Can you guess which one was the before and which was after?

And to answer the common birth story questions, my labor was 18 hours, and if I ever do this again, yes, I want drugs - just a Valium or two.


Donna said...

Amazing story, Pam! You have a knack for writing these tear-jerker posts!

Every story of how our children came into our lives is beautiful, unique, and a bit painful...definitely a rite of passage for every parent. And this is the story of your birth as a mother...it's not an easy process, no matter what. And at the end of your painful labor, there was a naming: You became "Mommy" for the rest of your life.

Bryssy said...

Awesome, Pam! Thanks for sharing your story with us. That was a heck of a flight, but I am sure you agree, totally worth it!

Liz said...

You know, you do look tired in the "after" picture, but you also look just as joyful as you do in the first one, if not more so. I love reading your stories about Alex!

Karly said...

Pam, you sure know how to make a girl cry. I have loved hearing your "story." It is true that sometimes God chooses to bless us through others. Hopefully God will provide some "angels" to assist my sister and brother-in-law on their 14 hour flight home from Korea on Wednesday with their 9 month old son.

Pam said...

Hey Karly,

I am sure their trip will be smooth sailing, but just in case, we should all pray for them. I can't wait to read their blog with some news, but I am sure it will be a while. It is really hard to find time on the pc with a new baby. Congratualtions to you - the new aunt :)