December 11, 2010 - We arrived in New York around 3 pm, but before landing we flew over, and Star got to see from the air something neither Ellen or I had seen in real life, the Statue of Liberty. Very neat. Clearing US Customs, fairly quickly, as such things go, dragging our two huge suitcases, three children with everyone having a rolling carry on as well. What a sight we must have been. I think the immigration officer and the security folks figured we had enough problems - no way we could be a threat. We were bone tired by then but still wanted to get some snacks which like theater food is way overpriced for what you get.
We flew out of JFK around 5 pm.
We arrived in Atlanta, the same day we left China, but 26 hours later. The hotel we had left from 15 days before awaited our arrival as did our vehicle. We got into our suite as soon as we could by around 830 pm. As soon as we got settled a tad, the kids and I took the Blazer and we got on the freeway to go find some fast food about 5 miles away. Yu-Hsuan tells Star, "Dad - he drives fast." Thanks, Yu-Hsuan.
Back at the hotel a bit later - we sorta ate and then what I had waited for so long - the heated indoor pool, which by that time we had nearly to ourselves - the non heated indoor pool, somewhat cold but still a treat away from riding in a plane for hours unending.
We asked when check out was - 11 am. We said, since we've traveled 31 hours to get here, please wake us at 8, so we can get ready and get out on time. OK said the hotel folks.
After a nice hour in the hot pool it was time to get the crew in bed. Honestly now nearly a year later, I don't know who slept where other than Tian took the couch in the outer room.
December 12, 2010 - The wake up call was needless. By 4 am we were all up - because we were still on China time where it was 5 pm. We were pulling away from the hotel well before 8 am, our 'wakeup' time. It was a cold and wet morning, but we were heading home so Star could see her new home in daylight.
We had talked the night before and I suggested we get to the north side of Atlanta before stopping for breakfast at a good Southern eating place - Cracker Barrel. We had been to that particular one several times over the years so we knew what to expect.
As we traveled north, about 25-30 miles to the exit, the temps kept dropping and the rain continued. There is a section of road north of the belt way that encircles Atlanta, where the road is 8 lanes wide on each side of the road.
Driving along that section of road, in one of the middle lanes, my prayer from the day before, began to be answered. We had been driving perhaps a half hour, had made it through the center of the city, north into that wide lane area, the kids more or less asleep in the back seat, when Ellen suddenly said - "I never thought I would be saying this again and never this soon, but I'm interested in adopting that boy."
I was so stunned by what she said, that I struggled to keep the Blazer in the lane we were in. I never saw it coming. I was dumbfounded. In less than 24 hours of my prayer, God had already worked on Ellen's heart - perhaps before that. We had been given the name of the boy, two days before...
We drove on to the exit, went in and had our good Southern breakfast returning to our vehicle. By then it was starting to sleet / rain and we moved further northward. By the time we reached our exit in Tennessee - the snow was falling fast and furious so that Star came to her new home in snow.
About a month later, I learned that the girl from Wuhan had a family reach out for her. Whether or not she is home now I do not know. I do pray that she is and now knows the love of a forever family. With that news, my prayer was answered completely.
Home, the next day, Monday, back to work, I contacted an agency who had done a search once before, to ask if they could find this boy's file and what we needed to do to bring him home.