Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taevy's Story: Part IV

The Lord worked a miracle and the daughter of our heart became our legally adopted daughter on February 27, 2001. It still gives me chills.
I was ready to catch the next plane to Cambodia but for various reasons too boring to go into, we didn't get to leave until Tuesday, March 6th. Eric and I had never traveled anywhere together by plane, let alone to SE Asia! Our plan was to have my mom travel with us, but there was a delay in her passport so we changed our plans to have Eric's dad travel with us instead (he already had his passport).

The three of us set out from Tulsa. I don't know about Eric's dad, but I know Eric and I were a ball of nerves and energy! We had a 3 (?) hour flight to LA, then a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, followed by a 10 hour layover. Then it was another 3 hours to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I'm so glad Eric's dad was with us! He didn't really know more than we did about how to maneuver the airports but it was nice just to let him take the lead. My mind was on Taevy and nothing else.

The 15 hours to Hong Kong gave me my first experience with horribly swollen feet! I had no idea that feet did that on long flights! My shoes wouldn't go back on so I left the plane with little plane booties on. ;-)

The 10 hours in Hong Kong were horrible. I hated it. I was 3 hours away from my baby and I was stuck there for 10 hours waiting for a flight! There wasn't any "good" (i.e. normal) food. We finally found a place with hot dogs--well...one hot dog. Eric bought it. It was SO NASTY! It was like the situation you see on sitcoms where you buy the last hot dog at a convenience store--times ten. I have the most hilarious picture of his face after he took a bite.

Finally we got on the flight to Cambodia, and I got my first taste of real culture shock. Our flight from LA to Hong Kong was almost all Asian people, but they were business people. Our flight from Hong Kong to Cambodia was a whole different ball of wax! First of all we were taking a regional airline. The plane had seen better days and had a lovely red and yellow decor. ;-) It seemed that most of the people (almost all Khmer/Cambodian) hadn't been on a plane before.

There were interesting smells...and the sound of the Khmer language I had worked so hard to grasp the basics of...and a HUGE line for the bathroom! I swear the entire flight there was a line going down almost the entire length of the plane for the bathroom. I know now that's because the airplane bathroom was really nice compared to what most people in Cambodia have. When I got line I got my first taste of how little personal space most cultures give you. The little old lady behind me put her hands on my hips to steady herself. Okay?!?! The person in front of me rested their hand on my shoulder. At the time that was a little odd but now it's just one of the things I love about the Khmer people! They are touchy-feely people!

Then the descent began. AHHH! We were finally landing in Cambodia. I could see the rain forests. I could see the Tonle Sap river! I could see houses! I could see a huge thunderhead. Wait. A huge thunderhead. That was about the time that the pilot came over the intercom to tell us that because of a storm we were being diverted to Bangkok, Thailand to wait out the storm.

I am telling you...I had HAD it! I had been traveling for way too long and my baby was a few thousand feet below me. I could see the runway! And now we were going up again--away from her. I just bawled. We landed in Thailand and waited about an hour. About two hours later we were finally on the runway in Phnom Penh.

By that time at night I knew that we had lost our chance to meet Taevy that day. I was exhausted and knew in my head that it would be a good thing to get a good night's sleep before taking custody, but my heart would have given anything to see her.

We stepped off of the plane and the dragon breath that is the air in Phnom Penh hit us in the face like a hot wet rag. We followed the herd of people like lemmings. I have hazy memories of getting our visa upon arrival and paying more than I thought we were supposed to. Eventually we made it out and found our guide. Then it was off to the Sunway Hotel for our last night as a couple with no children.

But I have to back up! Remember my mom didn't get her passport in time to travel with us as planned? Well, it came the day we left for Cambodia! And my mom--my crazy loving mom--couldn't stand the thought of not being with her baby when she became a mother. My mom--who had never been anywhere outside of the United States--bought a ticket to Cambodia and flew half way around the world at the last minute just to be with me those first few days of motherhood. We found out she was coming to Cambodia as we waited to leave LA for Hong Kong. This is the single greatest act of love I have experienced on this earth. She arrived the day after we met Taevy for the first time.


Nicole - Raising Animals 9:44 PM  

SO SWEET! What an awesome "mom" thing to do!