Continued from >>> Entry 23
(This is so hard for me to write now. Even after the fact I am twitchy and sick to my stomach reliving that night)
We were led into a small dark office and questioned as to what we were doing with the baby. " I am his grandmother and we are taking him to live in the United States", my hands were beginning to shake uncontrollably as I produced all the papers we were told we needed to show Customs if any problems arose. "Where is the child's mother? We will need to speak to her." WHAT? "Why?" This was the one thing we had not prepared for. We had no idea where A was. I tried to call her on my cell phone. No one answered. I called Mia in the US. She tried to calm my rising hysteria. I called Tarn, who told me she would tell the officers she was the baby's mother. "No, you cannot do that. They can see from the cell phone you are not." Two more officers came into the room. One of them was accusing me of not being the baby's grandmother. He then looked at Rick's passport and surmised that Rick was not in Thailand with me when I first came to Phuket after Josh died. "So what? What does that have to do with anything?" He kept pointing to Rick's passport and saying, "You were not here March 1" "We need to speak to the mother." The smaller and nastier officer proceeded to look through a huge loose leaf binder filled with baby pictures....then looked at Christian. Christian began to wail and I picked him up to comfort him. Just then a female officer wearing surgical gloves reached in front of me for Christian. I yelled at Rick and Rick stepped in front of her. She backed away and I turned from her with the baby in my arms. I would sooner die than have them take Christian out of my arms. The papers that I had laid out for Customs to see had fallen off the counter and were all over the floor.
As Rick stooped to pick them up, I noticed another computer with a picture of A on it! It looked like a mug shot: a very sullen Thai girl staring straight ahead.
There were 3 male customs officers in this small room and one female officer, Rick, and me holding Christian. A younger taller customs officer entered the room....and then it was over. "You may leave." What? Just like that. You are free to go. We gathered up everything we could and proceeded to the gate too exhausted and strung out to even speak to one another. At one point Rick looked at me and said, "They were just fucking with us." In retrospect I think they were inept. There were so many papers it was just easier to make us jump through hoops, in case we were trying to leave the country with this little Thai baby. Thai-American baby. With a dual passport! Issued by The American Embassy!
We sank into the lounge chairs with only minutes to spare before we boarded the plane for Seoul, Korea. It was then my cell phone rang. It was A! "Is everything OK, Mom?" She had received my voice message. I was only too happy to tell her that we hoped it would be. She promised not to turn her phone off until we were in the air.
Christian was now wide awake and charming everybody, especially the flight attendants. I was never so glad in my life we had spent thousands of extra dollars to fly business class. Although the seats on this plane left much to be desired, in retrospect this was the best flight I had ever taken. The seats were lumpy and did not recline all the way but we were asked if we would like a glass of champagne before we took off. I never felt so in need of some form of relaxant. I gulped the champagne, changed Christian, asked for another glass, with one eye on the door waiting for it to close or for 5 angry customs officers to come barging up the aisle. The door closed. I cried and cried and wept with relief, as I nuzzled my grandson on my lap.
To be continued....