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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ok here we go! The day started off…way to early as usual. For me at 3:30 AM. Rudd and I had some special alone time in the morning and things were going well. I was still in the back of my mind thinking… “are we leaving today or are we going to be here indefinitely?” But there was still something that had to be done….THE BATH! I dreaded it more than he did….but it had to be done. And it was painful. The pictures show me consoling him afterwards…then the other picture shows the affects of seeing my child in so much pain that I couldn’t help him with. I was exhausted. But as exhausted as I was we still had more work to do on getting home. As the morning went on…we were communicating with several people involved in helping to bring us home. For those that are unfamiliar with what our situation was this is the best way I can explain in.

The entire adoption process has more paperwork than anyone can imagine. It could fill a room easily. We double checked and triple checked that we had everything just right. Well about 4 days before I was leaving I received a phone call from my agency stating that a form (I 600A) was received but it had stated an approval for a baby girl from China…not a boy from Taiwan. Our local CIS office in Memphis got this approval mixed with our still on going wait for our child in China. This approval is critical because it allows us to bring Rudd back to the United States. Without it…we could not return…with him. We were assured that this matter would get taken care of so we moved on. The day I was leaving we received in the mail our approval. That was the last piece…we were ready to go. Well somewhere along our travel to Taiwan Bruce was told that the paper we had was not good enough there is a certain and specific procedure that had to be followed on the government end to have that approval. So even though we had an approval in our hands…it was not the “right one”.

The morning was tense. We had plane tickets to leave at 7:30 and check out at 12PM and if we didn’t get to the AIT office first thing in the morning…we didn’t know how long we would have to stay. The hotel we were staying at had a major convention going on and we would have needed to switch hotels….it was just not looking good.

We have so many people to thank for helping this come together. I want to personally thank Bruce for working so hard from home to put us at ease and keep us posted on every little step!!!!

Our friends Stephanie and Rodney, who worked through the night and in the morning to work their connections in the government.

Joseph Fu at the Taiwan AIT office for being so kind and supportive to us. He was not just “the man at the window”…he was our advocate and was going to do everything in his power to bring us home. He processed our visa in a few hours when normally it takes 24.

My father has a good friend who used to help with Senator Bob Corker’s campaign and that was dad’s first phone call. His name is Ken Maness and he opened the door to Senator Bob Corker, and his office, specifically Jill Grayson and they stepped up to the plate and took our case and made a vow that we would not be left behind. Their efforts were heroic and they made things happen that normally just wouldn't have gotten done. And folks we are talking in just hours!!!!WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were inspired and just so appreciative!!!!! We like to think of Senator Corker as Doctor Corker because he delivered Rudd to America!!!!!!!!!!

So the picture of me on the phone is me getting the call from Joseph Fu that they received the approval and we could come down to the office and begin processing. What we thought would take only an hour took 4. During our wait we met other families with their adopted children waiting for their visa’s. There was a gentleman there with the families that runs his own foster program and has done this missionary work for over 40 years. His name was Ted and he is the nicest man in the world. He spoke Chinese to the children and to Rudd, he gave Rudd water and soothed him. He offered to bring us lunch because our wait was so long. He sat and talked to us about adoption and our experience. He was/is an angel. Anyone who is adopting from Taiwan should use this man. I spoke to each of the families he was working with….the work they do is amazing and his passion is the most genuine I have seen for these children and Taiwan.

We raced to get back to the hotel to finish packing and off to the airport we went. We were in a rush to hurry up and wait. Rudd and I enjoyed some Burger King and playing with luggage….then everything changed in a matter of seconds. The world I thought I knew…was about to take me to a place I thought I was prepared to handle….but wasn't. Rudd was playing with luggage as you see in the pictures…. then he took the luggage and ran off with it. He was headed toward a huge crowd of people and I went to stop him. I tried to get him to turn the other direction and he gave me a look that said “I don’t know who you are…get away from me now!!!!” It was then that he broke down into hysterics and I was not the one who could console him. He decided right then and there…to fully and completely reject me. My heart broke into a million pieces right there in the Taiwan airport as he went to my dad. He was screaming so loud…I mean folks I am serious… LOUD!!!! Tears pouring out by the bucket full…shaking his head and his arms…. People were staring and the looks were piercing me….like knives in my heart. I could see all of them judging me and thinking, “Look at that American woman with that child she can’t control…” I went to a dark place. My father was the only one Rudd would let near him. We had no choice but to surrender to the circumstances… just survive the trip home.

Rudd cried and screamed for hours at a time. This put a lot of pressure on my father who did not think he was going to be the primary giver during this trip. My mom and I tried every which way we could to get Rudd to let us feed him or hold him or play with him…he just wouldn’t do it…his mind was made up. The plane ride from Taiwan to San Francisco was painful. I feared him crying the entire time knowing I wouldn’t be able to console him. I was holding back my own feelings of rejection and the tears were just seconds from flowing. My mom was doing everything in her power to support me and reassure me this was going to be ok…but like Rudd…nothing could make me feel better. I didn’t sleep…I didn’t eat…I didn’t read or watch TV. I sat next to a chair that was empty while my father held Rudd. It was just more than I could take at times…but there was no where for me to hide and cry. I felt trapped.

We get off the plane and go through customs…my dad is exhausted from having no break with Rudd…my mom is tired because she is dealing with the emotions of my father, Rudd and me…and Rudd is still not happy. I am totally physically falling apart, going on no sleep, no food, and my heart was trailing my body in pieces. We get in line and the guy asks me if I filled out this form and I am 2 seconds from killing someone…I say “no” and he sends me to the back of the line. My dad is having to do things and he can’t hold Rudd so he hands him to me. Rudd goes into a fit like nothing I had seen and he pees all over me…I am drenched in pee and headed back to the customs line where this guy looks at me and says “wow, are you ok?” I look at him with a look of “are you kidding me?? Are you really going to ask me this now?????” I am fighting the tears and I just say “No I am not fine…I have had no sleep, I have pee all over me and….” I don’t think anyone has ever been processed so quickly…. He had us out of there in no time…I think he feared for his life.

I don’t have to go on to tell you the rest of the trip was more crying, more rejection, more no eating, no sleeping…and seconds from a total breakdown. I JUST WANTED TO SEE MY HUSBAND!!!!!!!!!! Once things settled I texted Bruce because I feared calling him. I knew if I heard his voice I would lose it and not be able to regain it. He texted me several things that just hit the spot and gave me the strength to make it the last leg of the trip.

I can not even begin to tell you all what we went through on this trip. It was so amazing and wonderful in so many ways but there was also many difficult obstacles and surprises like earthquakes at 1 in the morning. My parents were the most amazing people on the planet to make this journey with me and Rudd. They were dealing with their grandchild being in so much pain and their own child also dealing with her pain…For any parent and grandparent that is painful. Despite the last 40 hours being drama filled and less than fabulous we did still manage to laugh and remember that this trip home was only a piece of the story…not the whole story. I owed my parents a great deal before this trip…now…it would take a million life times to have enough time to repay their love and support.

I will never forget the journey we took to get Rudd…no one would ever understand this process unless they have walked it…It was labor by every single literally sense….Labor of love!


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