So.....because you have been so good to travel with us this past week, I wanted to share the conclusion (or really just the beginning!) of our trip......the journey home. Travis and I woke up at 4am Friday morning to make final travel preparations. We got Brody up and checked out of the hotel. After a short taxi ride and then train ride, we were checking into the airport. I could sense Brody was not happy. He was restless and difficult to please (who wouldn't be after being woken up by strangers at 4:30am!). We boarded the plane for Tokyo at 8am with Travis sitting in front of Brody and myself. Immediately Brody was restless and irritable. I had packed a HUGE bag of tricks to use on the trip home (toys, games, coloring, snacks, etc) and very quickly Brody was dismissing everything I put in front of him. We thought for sure he would be distracted by the TV screen in the seat ahead of him, but he was not interested! It was not long and the screaming, flailing, and crying began. People around us would kindly ask, "Is he tired?", "Do you think his ears hurt?", "Have you tried medicine for the flight?". I would try to smile and politely answer while holding down my flailing son. Honestly, I had no idea what was bothering him.....let's see, it could very possibly be that he is tired, and yes, his ears likely hurt, and yes we tried medicating him (I was afraid this was some kind of reaction!), and no I have no idea to how to help him. All I wanted to do was comfort him and he had no desire to receive comfort from me! I was trying to stay calm on the outside but I was begging for the Lord's help on the inside. This flight was only four hours long. How could we survive another 13 hour flight following?!?! After an hour of intense crying, Travis left his seat and took Brody to the back of the plane. I don't know what they did back there but it helped calm Brody. I took a few deep breaths and prayed lots! Somehow, we got thru that flight. I don't care to remember the details.
Once in Tokyo, my emotions were on the verge of crumbling. I felt like I would cry at any moment. Brody did fall asleep as we descended into Tokyo so we let him sleep for a bit on a chair at the Tokyo airport. Travis left us to find some medication and lunch. And then it happened again.....Brody woke up, I tried to comfort him, and he was mad! We were in the middle of a busy terminal. I had too many bags to carry along with Brody and I could feel all eyes on me. I felt like others were thinking, "Why can't that mother soothe her son?" but maybe it was my own conscience questioning myself. I could feel the hot tears in my eyes and I prayed "Lord, help me! Help Brody!" After what seemed like forever, Travis returned.....said he could hear the crying from far off. We removed ourselves from the public eye and worked to settle our son. There in the privacy, I lost it. I wasn't sure if I could board the plane to Atlanta. I knew I wanted to go home but I didn't know if I could endure 13 hours of this. I posted to facebook our need and I am confident the prayers were lifted. Travis and I prayed together. We prayed over Brody. We quoted, "I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me!" We prayed some more. Then we boarded the flight to Atlanta. AND, a peace fell over all three of us. Praise be to God! We were able to swap seats allowing all three of us to sit together. Brody remained calm during the takeoff. He played, ate, and played more for several hours and then he fell asleep. Thank YOU for your prayers! They made a difference. It was not an easy flight but we were able. We were strengthened. We were at peace.
Once we arrived in Atlanta, the excitement of arriving home was setting in! We did not realize what a chore customs and visa would be. We sat for over two hours in customs wondering if we would make our flight to Tri-Cities. Brody was a trooper! He waited and played and snacked. Finally, we were released with ten minutes to make our flight. We still had to pick up our luggage, go through security, and drop off our luggage again. Yeah! We arrived at our gate right on time! In fact, when we walked on the plane, it was completely full except us. It was then that I realized our three seats were not together. All three seats were completely separate. I told the plane steward and he rather scoffed at me that I had not noticed it before now. I told him I had been travelling for 24 hours and all was a blur at this point. People around us started to kindly move about and make room for us to sit together. The steward said, "Good thing this is a flight to Tennessee! You would never see this if flying to Chicago!" We are thankful for our friendly Tennesseans. Brody handed out the treat bags for those sitting around us and suddenly everyone seemed interested in Brody's story. We are always happy to share. It was a peaceful flight to Tennessee. Brody slept and Travis and I smiled. We rejoiced and thanked the Lord for bringing us along on this journey.
When we landed at Tri-Cities airport, our stomachs were doing flops. We were so excited to see our Brilee and Brooklyn.....and friends and family! Travis and I both commented that it seemed we had been gone six months.....so much had happened in one week's time! As we walked the short hall to the airport waiting area, we could see a crowd ahead of us. My eyes were first drawn to Brilee and Brooklyn in the front. Brilee was jumping up and down.
They were both holding the sweetest posters and smiling ear to ear. [Brilee's poster said, "From Hong Kong to Tennessee, we will always love you, Brody."] I glanced over at Travis and saw that he too was crying.
Upon arriving, Brody first met Brilee and Brooklyn. As I squatted down so he could look them in the face, I am confident that he recognized them. Brilee and Brooklyn were ecstatic and filled with love for their brother.
After a joyful reunion with so many, we, the five Hurleys packed into our CRV and headed home. Wow. That sounds so good even now when I write it. It has been a long anticipated time coming. Thank you Lord. Even sweeter than that, was the sound of our three children laughing and talking the entire ride home. Brody needed his siblings. In the one week since I have met Brody, the only times I have heard him laugh out loud is when he is with his brother and sister. Thanks be to God who brings a family together.
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us, to HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21