Continued from >>>> Entry 22
We know A will show up with Christian for the rest of the money she has been promised, but we still were not 100% sure she would give us Christian. We had a Plan B in the event she would not. Tarn would take Christian back to Bangkok with her, A would OK that, we knew. Because all the papers were signed and Tarn had his passport, we would then fly to Bangkok and go home from there. Tarn also thought it best once we had Christian and A and Annie had left, that we should change hotel rooms, in case of a last minute change of heart on her part.
There was never any doubt that A did not love Christian in her way, but from her lack of commitment to him during his first year, we knew he would be better with us. A said many times that she felt that as well. It was not our plan to take this child from his mommy. Had she been with him from the start we would have been resigned to the fact that this little boy was going to be raised in Thailand, and our visits to him would be few and far between. But once the decision had been made by A that for Christian to have a good life, he should come to the US and be raised with his cousins as his "brothers and sister", that became the goal in my life as well as Mia's and our family. However, we knew that until the gates closed and we were buckled into our seats on China Air, anything could happen.
The afternoon came and so did A and Annie and Christian. We ordered in food and A packed and repacked Christians suitcase. We knew we had to check out of the hotel by 3 PM and were trying to figure out where we would stay until our 2AM flight, when Tarn called to tell us Noppapok had offered to let us stay in our villa until we needed to go to the airport at 11PM. We were beyond grateful.
I was a nervous wreck; trying to act light and casual around A, asking if she was hungry, did she want to go swimming... how was she feeling? It was a super emotionally heightened day, and I was grateful for Rick's calm reassurances.
A put Christian down in our room about 7PM and she and Annie came to say good bye. I hugged her tightly and promised we would love and care for Christian, and that we would send pictures and updates as often as possible. I told her to put a portion of the money aside for a visit to the US, and A said she would. They left and I went in to check on Christian who was sleeping soundly in the darkened room with a light breeze blowing open the sheer curtains. I could not believe I could be so full of love. My heart was near bursting. I lay down beside him and breathed in his clean baby smells.
A little after 8, I went round gathering his things that still needed to be packed I noticed that A took all the toys I had bought Christian!
A stuffed animal, a ball, his books, some items of clothing, his swimmies... what in the world? Did she want these things to remember him by? Did she want to give them to another child? Very odd.
It was around this time when there was a knock on the door. It was Noppapok coming to see Christian. I took her into the room where Christian lay sleeping his little arms above his head. She looked at him and started to weep, "Please let me raise him, please..." I had no idea where this was coming from, but I instinctively knew this was someone who would love and care for this little boy. She had a 10 year old daughter. Could she have no more children? I hugged her and told her Christian would have a good life with us. She watched him for a few more minutes and then said goodbye.
We had packed up and were waiting for the car to arrive to take us to the airport. Christian was still asleep in the bedroom. Tarn called to say goodbye to us, she was flying back to Bangkok. She said she would have her cell phone close to her and to give her a call if we needed to reach her. I told her there was no way that I could ever thank her for all that she had done for us and Christian. I knew she was doing it in the name of Josh, and I told her she was in my thoughts and prayers always. She asked me to let her know when we boarded the plane to Seoul.
The car arrived to take us to the airport and I gathered the sleeping baby up and we climbed into the car. Driving slowly through the streets of Phuket, so many thoughts washed over me. None so much as the incredulity of actually flying home with my son's son. This was a long journey for us in so many ways. And I was taut with fear and apprehension.
As it turned out I had good reason to be.
The airport in Phuket is horrendous. There is little to no air conditioning and even at night the heat and humidity is stifling. There were lines of people everywhere. And even though signage was in English, it was below the Thai signage and hard to read. On top of that Rick could not get the stroller open. Tarn had given us the stroller she had for Christian in Bangkok. We had never used it, so it was folded up and impossible to open... Christian had by now awakened and was in a bad mood. It was the middle of the night for him and he was completely out of sorts.
As Rick struggled with the stroller, I held a squirming baby while trying to keep an eye on all our luggage, Christians diaper bag and the huge manila envelope that carried every single paper we thought we would need to get Christian out of Thailand and into the United States.
We had Josh's death certificate, Christian's birth certificate, proof of paternity, his passport, papers signed by A giving us permission to leave the country with Christian, papers from both Embassies, his mother's birth certificate... and on and on. I did not know which papers would be requested so we had them all as well as copies of copies.
With the stroller finally opened I put Christian in with his doggie and he was content to lie back and watch me as we waited in one line after another. Finally we got to Customs and I handed the uniformed custom officer our passports; Ricks and mine and then Christians. The officer looked at ours and then looked at Christians and then he asked us to please come with him.
To be continued...