We got up this morning at 3am after about 2 hours of sleep. I was planning on sleeping as much as I could on our 14 hour flight to Beijing.
Got to Golden Triangle Airport at 4:15 for our 5:45am flight. Sat on the runway waiting to take off for 30 minutes because flights were backed up in Atlanta because of weather. Arrived in Atlanta with 15 minutes to run to another terminal and then to the end of the concourse to catch flight to Newark, NJ. Arrived 1-2 minutes too late.
Talked to three Delta people, only one of whom tried to be helpful. All of them said that we could fly on the next flight to Newark–completely not helpful because it was arriving 5 minutes after our flight to Beijing left. They said it was Continental’s job to get us to Beijing because the flights originated with them. We run back down the concourse trying to catch the next flight to Newark hoping that JUST MAYBE our Beijing flight would be delayed long enough for us to catch it. We get there 1 minute after they closed the door. Tommy called out to 3 Delta people along the way while we were running asking if they could call and ask them to hold the flight a minute for the Stewarts, but they couldn’t do that. SO we get Delta to book us on the next flight to Newark.
We get to Newark around 1:30pmEST, haven’t really eaten except for coffee and a few bites of really bad airport kiosk sushi (bad choice). We talk to people at the Delta desk again to try to get some help because the Continental place is in another concourse. They give us a hotel voucher for the night. Then Tommy goes to see if by some miracle our luggage was in Newark instead of on its way to Beijing while I went to Continental to see if they could get us to Beijing any way today or if not just to make sure that we’re on the flight leaving tomorrow.
At Continental I met THE RUDEST person I have ever met in all of my 38 years. This is my first trip to the Northeast, and they are not making a great impression on me. The Continental lady in between rolling her eyes and proclaiming loudly that she’s trying to “help” me and acting extremely put out that I am standing in front of her breathing (all of you who know me know that I am not a rude person, so I don’t know of anything I could have done to make her act that way) told me that these were Delta flights and that Delta had to take care of it. Anytime I tried to talk to her and explain that we HAD talked to Delta, she got very upset. At this point all I know is that we paid for tickets to China and no one is willing to help us get there, neither Delta nor Continental. I am in tears by now. I go down to baggage where Tommy is waiting for our luggage that was supposedly taken off the plane in Newark. I wait for luggage while Tommy goes to talk to Continental. The person he gets, who obviously knows what he or she is doing, sends him to their desk right beside where we were waiting on luggage, and they take care of our flights for tomorrow. THANK YOU!
We wait a long while on the baggage–I really don’t know how long at this point. The Continental baggage claim lady who was very nice and quite helpful came and told us that our bags weren’t taken off and are on their way to Beijing.
I know that things happen that no one can control, but it would have just made such a difference if more of the people we interacted with had tried to help us instead of pushing the responsibility off on someone else and also if they had at least been kind and pleasant about it. We really tried our best to be polite even though things were not going at all as we had planned. We didn’t always suceed at that but for the most part I think we did pretty good. I have decided that I am quite spoiled by living in the south. Maybe that’s it. I just expect too much from all of these folks.
So now we are trying to get to our hotel. We have to take a train at the airport to get to where we can catch a bus to our hotel. Tommy was trying to be nice and carry my very heavy carry on bag which is loaded with books and games for the long flight to Beijing, very important adoption paperwork, a few things to keep us comfortable on the chance that our luggage gets lost, very important adoption paperwork, snacks, very important papers. (If I had known that I would have to run with it through the Atlanta airport twice and carrying all over the Newark airport all afternoon, I would not have packed so much. However, there are some more things I would have packed had I known our luggage would get separated from us. 😉 After we get off of the train and have been waiting for our bus for a couple of minutes, Tommy suddenly realizes that he LEFT MY BAG ON THE TRAIN! I sprint back up the escalator to meet an airport worker who said, “I knew you’d be back.” She is on a walkie talkie to the train people who are taking precautions because there is an unattended bag (ie. nobody can touch it at this point). It rides the train all the way around back to us. I am so thankful that it was relatively simple to get it back. It’s a good thing too because this was just about more than I could take at this point in the day.
Now for the fun part! 🙂 We took a train into New York City for the evening, Caleb and my first time there! I think we did NYC as much as you possibly can in a few hours. We walked the streets of Manhattan just enjoying the sites; bought hat, mittens, and scarf (it was cold and drizzly); ate pizza; went to the top of the Empire State Buildingj, which was AWESOME; went to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree (beautiful!); drank hot drinks from Starbucks in Rockefeller Center to warm up while watching the ice skaters; rode the subway (we were tired–we walked a long way) to catch the train back to Newark. I am very surprised by how much I liked New York City. I’ve never really had that great of a desire to go there, except just to say I’ve been. But there’s just something about it. I definitely want to come back sometime (Angie, I think I’ve got an idea for our next getaway together! 😉
Caleb has been such a trooper today. He has been up since 4am and still has energy. He wasn’t really phased by any of it. It was just kind of an adventure to him and fun to do something out of the ordinary. He’s very competitive–I think he really enjoyed racing to catch our flights–he saw it as a competition–who’s going to win, us or the airplane? He has missed Molly several times today and shed a few tears over her.
Eli and Titus, we miss you guys! Wish you were here with us! We’ve got some fun video of New York to show you when we get home! XOXO
Got some photos that I want to add but can’t get them up right now. Maybe tomorrow.
And Tommy, my dear hubby, is 40 today! What a birthday! I love you, my dear. You are an incredible man! I am so blessed to have you. You are awesome Dad to the boys and will be to Rachel. I would not want to spend a crazy day like this with anyone but you. And we did get to have a fun night in NY! Pretty good birthday ending. 🙂
And now, before I FINALLY get some sleep. (Another positive thing about all of this besides getting to spend an evening in NY is that we will get to start our flight to Beijing well-rested. We don’t leave until 12:15pm tomorrow.) Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for us today and in the days and weeks and months before now. One reason that I sent messages asking for prayers is because I believe that they work. It’s not just something we do because it’s a good thing to do or it sounds good or Christians are supposed to. Sorry, it’s been an emotional day, and you get to hear one of my spiritual rants. Those of you who know me are familiar with them. To those of you who are new, I apologize. You can just stop reading now if you’d like. We as Christians have an amazing amount of power available to us as children of God, co-heirs with Christ who sits at the right hand of God and has been given ALL authority at his ascension into heaven. But we often do not act like we have any power at all. Our prayers are pretty wimpy sometimes.
A seemingly common belief among Christ’s followers that I disagree with is that everything that happens is God’s will. There are lots of bad things, terrible things, that happen that are not God’s will. Also, Jesus prayed “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That means that God’s will is not always done hear on earth as it is in heaven. I do believe that God can use bad things that happen for good. And he does work everything for the good of those who love him.
Another thing that people seem to want to ignore or maybe just do not believe is that there is an enemy seeking, not just to trip us up, but to DEVOUR us. I say all of this to say that the reason I ask for prayers during times like this and ask as many people as I can to pray is because I believe that there are a lot of good things happening on earth that are fiercely opposed by our enemy. And I also believe that this adoption is one of them. For many reasons. This is a longtime dream of mine that God placed in my heart over 13 years ago. Dreams being fulfilled doesn’t exactly thrill the dark one. Love, joy, family, orphans finding a home–these are not things that he likes at all. In fact, he is very much against them, has been working and studying how this world works for a very long time, and is pretty expert at working against these things. We have felt opposition to this adoption for a long time, especially during the past few weeks. And I believe that is what today was about. But God is able to bring good out of this (like our fun time in NY tonight and who knows what else). However, I will continue to be fierce right back in using my authority I have as a joint heir with Christ, the authority He so graciously shares with us, to battle against any unseen forces which are against Rachel having a home, a loving family, and a hopeful future. This is going to happen. It may be hard, but it is going to happen.