I watched as the days on Spencer's cyberclock ran down: 5, 4, 3, 2 ... arrival day!
The day he arrived was warmish and breezy in Washington, D.C. Not bad for the middle of February. We checked with Korean Air to make sure the flight was reasonably on time, which it was. The diaper bag was packed, the stroller newly cleaned, and so we packed up the car for the 50-mile drive to Dulles.
I sat in the back with Hilary for a special Mom and Hilly ride. We held hands. I looked out the car window and watched the traffic whiz by. My brother, Phil and I chatted about our dad, long gone, and it made me feel less anxious. We were leaving as a family of three, coming back as a family of four.
We got to the airport in good time, about 10 minutes before the plane was due to arrive. Parking was easy because of the holiday. I was grateful for small favors.
We got to International Arrivals, a grey, deadly sort of place with no windows. I recognized other waiting families and family members of some of the escorts. Five babies and a little girl were scheduled to arrive from Korea. Some of us chatted. The rest of us seemed silent and expectant. Many had brought more people than we did. There were nervous smiles and Mylar balloons. Anticipation was in the air.And then we waited. The plane was about 10-15 minutes late. I took pictures to keep busy.
Then the word came: The plane was in. Customs processing would take about 30 minutes. Agony. Our social worker, Rachel, arrived. She greeted her families, making the small talk she'd made a million times before. It was good seeing her. The executive director of our agency, ASIA, was there too.
Now we were all getting antsy. Adult passengers trickled through the customs gates pushing their carts. We tried for a glimpse of the babies before the doors automatically closed again. And still we waited.
Finally, the doors opened wide and the baby brigade began. The first baby out looked like our little guy, but from where we were, all we saw could see was the back of his head and the backs of all the other little heads that followed one by one. Then I heard the escort calling, "Rob and Roberta ... ?" and that was our little guy, first one out of the gate, wrapped up tight in his escort's pink baby carrier. We yelled, "Over here, over here!" and she his escort walked him over. A smiling happy face and the pinkest chubby cheeks imaginable. I started to cry but got too distracted. I tossed cameras off me so I could hold him -- I didn't even wait to take the his carrier off of him; I just unhooked it from the escort and pulled him close. The escort told us he slept, ate and smiled the whole way. "Best baby on the flight", she said. (Well, what else was she going to say?)