Around 10 pm it was time to make our way to JFK. I felt we were pushing it a little close to the edge time wise (John's plane was due to arrive early, around 11:39) but I am glad we did not get there any sooner as the waiting area was smaller than the place we met Paul and had no seating in the direct line of view. When we got there the terminal was empty except for the other two waiting families. CJ regaled them with some of our previous pickup horror stories (in a fashion similar to a veteran mom telling stories of labor to a pregnant lady about to deliver) and tried to offer some advice. The place quickly filled up with passengers arriving from various destinations as we stared warily at the arrival information board awaiting our son's flight. My mouth was incredibly dry and I regretted the several glasses of tea I drank at the hotel in a effort to stay awake. CJ was the picture of calmness while I paced nervously. Finally the plane from San Franciso was at the gates and passengers began unloading. I spotted a Korean woman with a baby sling and tried to see if it was our son. One of the other waiting families was closer to the front and assumed it was their child (a daughter) based on the red outfit and tufts of hair. Tufts of hair? Wait, let's back up. The day before we left I received pictures in the mail from our social worker and learned that John possessed very long, wispy hair. So when I saw the hair I knew it was him. But the other family began video taping and taking pictures anyway. It was weird. Our greeter looked at his tags (the children are required to wear bracelets identifying them to avoid potential mix ups) and then looked at us. Yep. Our son. The escort approached us and I caught my first glimpse. He was sleeping peacefully against her chest. Aside from the hair, I noticed that he was chubby. Really chubby. And so darn cute! The escort passed him to me in his carrier and he woke up with a start. And immediately started crying. I knew this was coming and wasn't too shocked or upset. We were total strangers at this point and I'm sure we smelled funny. The escort spoke very good English (Paul's did not, she said maybe 2-3 words to us and took off) and told us how John did on the plane. She said he started to get so upset near the end of the flight that he had vomited several times. He continued to cry in my arms and threw up twice; once on my foot and once down my arm. Now CJ & I both struggle with barf and thankfully Paul has a stomach of steel. So we were both totally unprepared for the vomit. No spit up cloth, no paper towels. Thankfully, the escort and one of the other waiting moms (she said she has a barfer at home) helped clean me up. Unfortunately the smell got to me (it was all over his carrier and shirt at this point) and I felt pretty awful for the rest of the night. I know some people meet their children for the first time and it is love at first sight. I wish I could say that it was like that with my boys, but it is definitely a love that grows slowly. Between being an overly caffeinated nervous wreck and waiting to throw up, I wasn't quite ready for the love yet. But he is definitely our son and we are going to love him forever.
Being parents for the second time helped the transition process tremendously. During the cab ride home CJ busted out the Baby Einstein video and had John instantly transfixed. Back at the hotel we offered him puffs (ridiculously over priced and completely addictive to babies) and he was happy as a clam. CJ and J fell asleep watching the discovery channel and I nervously tossed and turned, worrying about the baby falling off the bed, worrying that we would miss our flight home, worrying about how things would change once we did get home. But we got home without a hitch; J had a blast walking through the airport and did wonderfully on the plane. We are learning that J is an incredibly mellow baby. He is the yin to P's yang. But more on that later.