Friday, June 29, 2007

Joey's Journey Home

Sorry this is a little late--- Things are going great at home. Only problem was he came home with an ear infection and pink eye. Both are now under control and he is feeling much better!
Tuesday morning we were up and out of Max's by 9 for our 12:15 flight. Max lives on the Left Bank so there were no problems with traffic getting to the airport (also on the LB). We stopped at a supermarket to look one more last time for some things that Catie wanted us to bring home plus get some liquid gifts for some folks back home.
We got to the airport 2 and a half hours early and waited for our check-in desk to be assigned. About 30 minutes later (and a couple of Joey breakdowns) and we were up to the Air France counter to get checked in. We got our seats (all together) and used up our last kopeks on a sandwich and a couple of Cokes to share.
Our flight boarded on time and Joey was THRILLED looking out the window for most of the flight (some squirms but good for the most part).
After and on time arrival in Paris and we were ready to try to get a transit visa.
Nightmare time--- The French (when they do decide to speak to you in English) know only one phrase: "It is not possible". We tried for 5 hours and it seems that a 6 year old with Down Syndrome is a terrible security risk to the French people (though I'm sure he could defeat them in an armed conflict). So we will spend the night at the airport. ** Note about the French workforce*** They don't work. We watched workers kick garbage out of their area so they would not have to pick it up, there were several baggage handler "strikes" forcing planes to be late in getting out. There are 5 people to do the work on one in American or Ukraine or Germany. Socialism and "Full Employment" at it's best. This country (or at least the airport) is fully dysfunctional.
We finally found a nice person at the transfer desk and she got onto an airplane and got us some food, blankets and pillows and we camped out in front of the Crown Room. Joey slept for 5 or 6 hours, Mary and I for an hour or so. At 6 we were kicked out of our resting spot and I went through immigration to get us some breakfast from McDonalds. They were closed so I was coming back through immigration and the nice officer at the B gates decided I did not need to be there since we were departing from the E gates so he refused to let me in....(Mary and Joey were just on the other side of the glass. After arguing with him for a while, I handed Mary and Joey their documents and told them I'd see them at "E".
They got there no problem. It took me over 2 hours. First the 24 hour shuttle buses were not running (the employee shuttles were running ever 2 or 3 minutes but I was not permitted in). Then I decided to walk, but could not pass through because "D" was evacuated because of a "suspicious bag". That also stopped the shuttles (that were not running anyway). "But How to I get to "E"? "It is not possible!" was all they would say. I finally caught a bus to the train station and was able to get a shuttle from there to the E gates.
On the bus, we were talking with a young woman who travels a lot for work. She tries never to connect in France. We were talking about how much better things have gotten in Ukraine in the past 3 years and how much worse they are in France. This country has some serious problems (Actually I really like France and was very sad to see how the country is slipping downhill).
We boarded the bus to the plane after having our documents checked 3 more times (full employment) and got in our seats vowing NEVER to connect through CDG ever again. Joey was very good on the flight. He ate, slept, ate, ate and watched tv. The flight crew on Delta was wonderful.  We touched down just after 3 Cincy time. Ahhhhh home. Immigrations was quick. Mary took Joey to the back room to get his papers done and I got the bags. They were finished before I was and came out to meet me. We got the bags and went through customs (It's so nice to see nice people doing good work--- we're no longer in France)
Thanks to the nice welcoming party at the airport. We stayed and visited for a while and finally at about 5 we made it home!!
The A/C at home was broken so we headed to the pool up the street for a swim. Hot dogs on the grill for dinner and all is well.
A family is whole.
If you have any questions about adoption or Ukraine or would like more detail on any part of our journey. Please feel free to email us:
marty at martythompson dot com
or stolzfamily at juno dot com
Jim and Mary

1 comment:

Imperfect Christian said...

I am the adoptive mom to two little girls with Down syndrome and I just found your blog..congrats on your new addition!!