Our last day on the Island of Kauai was a bit challenging. Our flight was due to leave at 10:05 p.m., however, check-out was at noon which meant we had several hours to kill without a room for resting. We put on our swimsuits, checked out of the hotel and had the hotel store our carry-on luggage and then headed out to the lagoon to enjoy our last day on the island. Before reaching the lagoon we stopped to get some drinks and found our new friend from Guatemala. She finally had the opportunity to meet Lili and seemed so overwhelmed with joy to meet her. As we talked I discovered why. At the age of 2, this young woman was also adopted by a U.S. couple. She and her parents lived in California and then relocated to Kauai. Her parents were no longer living, but she is now married with two young children of her own a son and a daughter she named Lilliana. In addition, the man she married is from Korea and he too was adopted by a U.S. couple as an infant. Therefore, adoption is very near and dear to their hearts and they hope to someday be able to adopt from Korea and/or Guatemala. We spent a few minutes discussing adoption and exchanged contact information. We saw our new found friend a few more times that afternoon and I look forward to staying in contact with her. It was a very special day.
After spending the afternoon at the lagoon, trying to wear Lili out for the flight home, we headed into the hotel. Fortunately, arrangements had been made with the hotel for those families who were leaving later that evening. They set up a room for us to use in 1/2 hour increments so we could get cleaned up and ready for our flight home. Of course a 1/2 hour isn’t long when you have to get 3 people ready to go, but we made it work. They also set up a room for us to sit, relax, and enjoy some free snacks and drinks while we waited for the shuttle that would take us to the airport. Our shuttle was due to leave at 7:30 p.m. and shortly before departure we were all informed that our flight had been delayed. Instead of leaving at 10:05, we would be departing somewhere between 2:30 and 2:45 a.m. The airline requested that we still arrive asap as they needed to re-route all of our flights to get us home. So, we all loaded onto the bus and headed to the airport. We stood in line for about an hour before finally making our way to the counter. Our original flight had us flying from Kauai to LAX (with a 5 hour lay-over), then to Dallas and from Dallas to Bloomington. Our flight from Kauai was now going to be so late that we would miss our connecting flight to Dallas so we were re-routed onto another airline going through Atlanta and then onto Bloomington. In our attempts to keep Lili going all afternoon so she would sleep on the flight from Kauai to LA, we now had to try and keep her going or sleeping all night. This was not a good ending to our trip so far.
Our flight left Kauai sometime around 3:00 a.m. or a little after. When we landed in LA we had just enough time to get our connecting tickets, grab a quick bite to take on the plane and make it to the terminal for our flight. However, when we got to the counter we were asked for the ticket that the previous airline had given us changing airline. They hadn’t given any of us a ticket that would allow us to change airlines. So, after making the change for one of the couples in our group, there were 3 couples standing at the counter being told we had to walk over to the other airline, stand in line, get the connecting ticket and then return, stand in line to get our new tickets issued. This was not going to happen without us missing our flight, so two woman with the airline got on the phone and after about 20 -30 minutes of conversation we had tickets in hand and were quickly making our way to security.
Security at LAX seems to move fairly quickly and we were soon first in line. Shoes off, everything on the belt to go through the scanners and we would soon be on our way to the terminal. No, we were “randomly selected” by the airline to have a more thorough search of our luggage done. They pulled us aside, frisked us and began going through all our carry-on luggage, wiping things down and running the samples through their machines. The young lady going through my belongings finally told me that I could pack my things back up and we could go. I have to admit that it crossed my mind to tell her to repack everything since she was the one who took it apart, but I didn’t think that would go over well and I really wanted to get home at this point. So I quickly put everything away and we walked as quickly as we could to the terminal. When we got there they were calling our names. We ran over, handed them our tickets and headed to the plane. Just before boarding we were told there was no more room in the overhead bins for our carry-on luggage and it needed to be checked. Seriously?!!!! Fortunately, they tagged everything to check it for us, but the reason we take carry-on luggage is in case we get stranded somewhere for the night or need a change of clothes. The way things were going we weren’t convinced we would make it home before the next day and we had already spent 14 hours just getting to this point and still had another flight after this one. We were really wishing we had stayed in Hawaii by this point. Once we got on the plane we discovered a completely empty bin just above our seats. So much for the airlines making sure they are giving correct information. And, Lili’s diaper leaked onto my pants so a change of clothes would have been nice.
We got on the plane, but weren’t seated by each other, although we were close. Two young ladies sitting nearby offered to give us their seats so we could sit with each other and we took them up on their offer. We were in the back of the plane, but we didn’t care, we were on the plane and getting ready for the next leg of our flight. As we sat there the woman sitting next to me asked about Lili wanting to know where she was born. I told her and she went on to say that she too was the mother of two young ladies born in Russia. We spent several minutes of the flight talking about the kids and our journey through adoption which certainly helped relieve much of the stress I was feeling.
Our flight was pretty much on time and we landed in Atlanta without incident and headed to the terminal for our next flight. We also had enough time to grab something to eat and all 3 of us needed something to eat by this point. As we headed toward the terminal one of the woman in our group was walking the other way and informed us that the plane at the terminal wasn’t going to Bloomington, it was going to Springfield and they didn’t know anything about the flight to Bloomington. Nothing shocked us at this point, but we decided to be patient and went to get something to eat. After all, there wasn’t anything we could do that was going to make the plane appear. We got our food and headed back to the terminal. Fortunately, there wasn’t a problem. The flight was running a little late, but at this point we didn’t care as long as we got home.
Before we knew it, we were on the plane and headed down the runway. Lili had been such a trooper through everything. The adults were falling apart, but she was having a great time. She slept pretty much the entire flight from Kauai to LA. She slept a couple hours of the flight from LA to Atlanta and on the flight from Atlanta to Bloomington she was becoming antsy. It was time to break out the portable DVD player and put in an Elmo DVD. It worked!!! She was entertained. Granted, she got a little upset when we had to put it away to land, but it was nothing major.
Finally, we were on the ground in Bloomington. When we left Kauai it was in the mid 80’s and when we landed in Bloomington it was 39 degrees. We were no longer in paradise and had to face reality.
Yes, our travel home left a lot to be desired, but we created a lot of memories on this trip, including the memories of our trip home. We would go through it all again to spend another week in paradise and hope to one day return to Hawaii. In memory of our trip, I’ll share some random photos from our trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our journey.
Lili enjoying the big rocks at the beach.