I have no idea how two months have already gone by since we brought Anton home. It is blowing me away that he has been home that long and that he is doing so well.
I never talked about the plane ride home and since it was 2 months ago I think it's about time I did :)
Our host family woke up super early to be able to help us get out the door, Rob helped bring all of our luggage down in the wee hours of the morning in his jammies. It was freezing outside but I thought it was so sweet he helped us with everything. I was soooo nervous about flying with Anton. I was worried that we would have trouble taking all of our heavy bags into the airport, I was worried that they would try to search Anton since he was bandaged, I was worried that he would scream the whole time we were on the plane and I didn't know how I was going to feed him without being completely stressed out because he cried the whole time I fed him, every time I fed him.
We got to the airport and we were greeted by Alyona and a friend of hers. Alyona is one of the volunteers who helped get Anton to the better hospital, helped raise money to keep him there, helped raise money for his bandages and she checked on him all the time to make sure he had everything he needed. It meant a lot to me that she was there to see us off. They helped Sandy and I get all of our bags in and helped us move stuff around in our luggage because some of it was too heavy. They took us all the way back until they could go no further. There is a point in the airport where they check your tickets and your passport and there were TONS of people in line waiting to have their passport verified. I was getting very nervous because we were already running late and I knew there was no way we could make it to our gate in time if we had to wait in those crazy lines. Well Alyona spoke to the lady who checks the airline tickets (before you get in the crazy long line to have your passport checked) and I'm not sure what she told her but the lady walked us right up to the front of the line to have our passports checked :) It was amazing and I was so thankful all the staff at the airport had been so helpful up to this point.
I am so bummed out because I can't find the pictures of Alyona, Anton, and I at the airport but once I find them I will add them to this post.
We got through that part with no problems. Sandy was a rock star carrying all of our carry on bags and not missing a beat. Then it was time to put them through the x-ray and go through the x-ray thing ourselves and this is where it got hard. There were tons of people and I was holding Anton while Sandy was throwing everything on the belt to go through the x-ray machine while telling people, "Please wait, we have more bag." We had a ton of bags honestly I don't know how we got through with all the bags we had plus we had a stroller. This part stressed me out the most but it was fine and Sandy got all of our bags through without any problems. Then I walked up to the scanner thing, not the x-ray one but the one that takes a 3D image and they lady was telling me to do something with Anton but I could not figure out what she wanted me to do. I kept saying I don't know what you are telling me and she kept saying it in Russian. Then I figured out she wanted me to stand him up but I kept saying he doesn't stand then she kept telling me to stand him up in Russian so I just stood behind him and held him up. She then smiled and let us go through. That part was kinda funny.
We got to our gate and it was time for Anton to eat but we should have been boarding any minute. I thought it would be better to feed him while waiting instead of on the plane but we were in front of everyone and I knew they would be staring at me while I fed my baby with him laying down in his stroller screaming at the top of his lungs cause it hurt to eat and he chokes the whole time I fed him. I knew I had to get over it cause he needed to eat so I fed him while random people watched and made crazy faces. Thankfully the plane was boarding a little late so he got to eat his whole meal. Once he was done Sandy and I noticed a lot of people pre-boarding on the other side of us with small children so we walked up to the front and the lady at the desk completely ignored us while she talked on her phone. Thankful someone else who worked there saw us and said something to that woman and she took us back to pre-board. This was a huge answer to prayer because I didn't want people bumping into Anton and we had a TON of bags to get on the plane. We were able to get all seated and set up a comfy place for Anton before anyone else got on the plane.
Anton was amazing, he fell asleep before we took off and slept through the whole take off. I was shocked because up until this point he only slept in his stroller and it had to be completely quiet or he would wake up. Trust me on this one I was in the room with him sleeping at the hospital once and I moved which made a tiny noise and he woke up screaming. So for him to fall asleep sitting up on an airplane and sleep through the crazy loud noises of the plane taking off was a miracle.
I wish I could have recorded Anton the whole time we were on the plane to show you guys how well he did because looking back, I can hardly it. When he was awake he just played and was happy and when he was tired he just fell asleep. He took three naps on the plane and slept great all three of those times.
For about the last five hours Anton just wanted me to hold him which was amazing. He fell asleep on me for the first time which was the best feeling EVER. Once he woke up he did not want me to put him down so I just held him and we watched movies together and played together. This was such a neat time to bond with him! At one point I was so tired but he didn't want me put him down so I propped up my knees sat him on my lap and slept while he just sat there quietly.
The only times Anton cried on the plane was when I had to feed him or if I had to change his diaper. He cried at the top of his lungs every single time I did those things and it took about 15 minutes to feed him so this was very stressful for me but other than that he didn't really cry on the plane.
Anton fell asleep right before we landed and slept through the landing. I woke him up to change his diaper and clothes and he was not happy about that but once I was done he stopped crying. People waiting to get off the plane started talking to us and were so sweet and had a lot of questions about Anton's skin and the adoption. I was happy to answer their questions. The girls that sat behind us on the way home kept telling me how cute he was and how well he did on the plane. They were so sweet at one point Anton was asleep in his seat and it was time to eat so the flight attendant told me I had to raise Anton's seat since they were going to serve food. I started to panic and then I just turned around and told the girls something like, "Hey, he is asleep and if I move the seat he will wake up screaming, do you care if I leave the seat back?" They said they didn't mind at all and the flight attendant didn't say anything else about it. It was little moment like this the whole trip where I knew people were praying for us and I knew God had worked out every detail of our trip. The whole trip was just amazing and I know without a doubt God was working through the whole thing!
We waited until everyone got off the plane before we tried to get off so we wouldn't be rushed. Getting off the plane I held Anton and Sandy got all of our bags. I wish I could write a novel to tell you all how much Sandy helped me. She was amazing on the whole trip. She played with Anton and kept him entertained, watched him while I went to the bathroom, got our bags on and off the plane, and helped me with anything and everything I needed. Sandy is a rock star and I love her so much. I could not have done it without her.
We were walking toward immigration and there is a side for US citizens and then a different place for everyone else. A lady that worked at Houston airport saw us with our millions of bags and sweet Anton and rushed over to help us. She took us to the front of the line and even got the immigration guy to process Sandy on the American side. It was great. Then she took me to a room where Anton and I had to wait so they could process his paperwork and she told them to rush it for us too! It was awesome. It took a little while to get through all of this and she came back at one point to see what was taking them so long and told them to hurry again, ha! I was talking to Anton and explaining to him why we were there and that we would get to see Daddy soon then one of the officers said, "Does he know English?" I said "No." I couldn't figure out why he asked that then I realized I was talking to him just like I would Kenya or Judah and I thought to myself, "How else will he learn unless I talk to him?" Anyway that part was kinda funny.
The lady that took us to the front of the line and helped speed up our paperwork also went with us to help get all of our bags!!! She was so helpful and I can't say enough nice things about her.
It was at this point a police dog walked through and was sniffing the bags and I realized that was the first real dog Anton has ever seen. Think about that... He is 2 and he had never seen a real dog before...
We had to go through one more check point then the moment came that I had waited 14 hours for (well really 13 months). The doors opened and I saw Jason waiting in front of everyone for us. I couldn't help but be overcome by emotion. I had brought our SON home and there was HIS Daddy. Jason rushed over and Anton got so excited he kept pointing at Jason and saying "tom" which means "there" in Russian and he kept saying "Papa, Papa, Papa." He totally remember Jason and he was so excited to see him.
After we landed we had a 4 hour drive home and I was kinda nervous about this because almost every time we were in the car in Russia Anton would cry and cry and he even threw up several times because he was crying so hard. But again God blessed us and Anton was completely happy (except when I had to feed him once) the whole way home. We stopped right after we left the airport and got some Texas burgers (Sandy's request) and I had steak fingers and onion rings YUM. We just drove through because I was so ready to be home but the food was great. I was wiped out since I hadn't slept much on the plane so after I ate I crashed out and so did Anton in fact I think Sandy did too. Anton slept pretty much the whole way home!!!
I was sooooo excited to pull up in our drive way and I couldn't wait for Kenya and Judah to get to meet their brother but that will have to wait for another post cause this one is already way too long.
I hope you all enjoyed the details of our plane ride and drive home. God was so so faithful to us and I still can't believe how well Anton did on the way home!
(sorry some of the pictures aren't turned the right way I can't figure out how to fix it but I know my sweet hubby will fix it for me tomorrow) :)