Sunday, July 4, 2010

Travel, Illness, and Reunion...

I have never been so tired in my entire life. It was all worth it, but I am at a state of exhaustion that trumps all travels before it. I want to post though. I want to share the last leg of our journey before I start sharing some of the things that my mind and heart are having such a difficulty processing. The previous travel posts are just the beginning. The rest of the story is coming...from the funny to the heart's coming.

Our Trip

We made it to Bole Airport in Addis Ababa four hours ahead of flying. Let me tell you, after going through that airport before, we were SO glad. It is one of the most security conscious airports we have ever been in. That is not a bad thing (smile). Most things at initial check-in seem to be done by hand. No passport hand. Bags were weighed (way under limits) and it was so nice coming back with four containers less that we began. We filled out customs paperwork and went through passport control, up the stairs with our NINE carry ons, and finally sat down to a quick meal. Lastly we went through the security and scanning of our carry ons into the final boarding area.

It was amazing to board the plane knowing we were on our way, on our way home. Our first flight to Washington Dulles Airport was 16 hours and 40 minutes. This was probably the longest 16 hours and 40 minutes of our lives :).

Thomas and Sarah were motion sick the entire flight. We think we didn't notice Thomas was on the way there because Thomas had a mild cold and it masked it. Sarah was extremely sensitive to the new Ethiopian spices and it seemed to set off non maximum flying conditions for her. I felt SO bad for them.

Meanwhile our littlest ones had a rough time. They tag teamed mommy. Neither of them likes flying. I really think they were a little nauseous and their ears probably hurt. If one was sleeping, the other cried. If one was wet, the other was dry. As soon as one leaked through and mommy changed them, the other would leak through. I really felt so bad for our little ones as well. They were miserable. There was a time I was in line for the bathroom with a slightly wet child and as we waited she became more than slightly wet. Suddenly she was dripping onto the floor. This is just the reality of how the travel went.

I meant our last post though. We were changing their diapers, not someone else. We were cleaning up the mess. We were rocking the little ones. We were holding them while they cried. Every single bit was worth it.

The first flight left us with two sick, little ones feeling lousy, and me with only having maybe a hour and a half sleep in 30 minute shots.

We arrived in Dulles (at that point I had already been up for going on 31 hours, with the hour and a half of sleep), went through passport control and immigration (since this was the entry point into the U.S.) and pick up our luggage (rechecked it immediately since it was already checked through and after we went through another check point).

I DON'T say any of this to complain, MANY parents go through this. The road home is not always easy, but always worth it.

Flying FOREVER :), carrying our nine carry-ons, and two cranky babies had left us all completely drained. There was a point after taking off shoes and scanning all our carry-ons again that we were walking the long halls to our gate. I finally turned to our oldest, handed him Rachel, and walked into the bathroom to throw up. Came out, took back Rachel, and carried on. No nausea, just exhaustion.

Our next two flights were SOOO much hops really. I couldn't sleep on the first one. I'm not sure why, I think adrenaline was carrying me at this point. By the time I got off the plane I literally couldn't see right, my eyes had started becoming VERY red, and were so dry they felt as if I had hair in them even when closed. My eyes were blurry. As we entered the next plane I almost don't remember anything. I handed Rachel to Tom, curled up in my seat, and slept. I awoke at the end of our short flight and immediately asked Sarah if I did anything embarrassing (snored? talked in my sleep, etc.). She was nice and said, "No". We circled for 40 minutes waiting to land and when we finally landed I can not remember the last time I felt such an overwhelming relief to be home.

Though many had wanted to meet us, weather, health, our delayed flight, and the Fourth of July weekend prevented the crowd. We were SO exhausted that, though I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you, it's okay...we were so tired. Seeing my bro and the Rogge family (including their AWESOME seven little ones) was SUCH a blessing and made it feel even more that we were in the right place.

We were missing (for the first time) one bag, but that bag came in ten minutes later on the next flight. God blessed us with such smoothness on things that we could've worried about.

My bro drove us home and my mom brought our three little ones over to meet their new brother and sister.

Side Note: My mom is amazing. She took care of three of her beloved grandchildren for 10 days. She blessed us knowing that our children were safe, loved, and cared for. When we told her we were adopting, she didn't question our following of God. She was such an intricate part of that God used to fulfill His blessing for our family.

ANOTHER Side Note: Thank you Smiths and Hayes for enjoying our kids and cherishing them as well. They LOVED playing at your houses. And Misty...yum...I will not tell you I raided the brownies (that I forgot you brought) while up with Gabe in the middle of the night for two Do I have to share with the kids?

When I heard a knock at the front door, my heart stopped. My family was about to be reunited. As I threw open the door, my little ones ran into my arms and just as quickly ran out. They wanted to see their dad and Rachel and Gabe. Max and Bekah were so excited, but it was Anna that made my heart melt.

Anna, our nine year old, is very petite. She is the same height as her seven year old brother. Her brown hair fell in waves down both sides of her face, parted in the middle. When she saw Rachel and Gabe her hand came to her mouth and tears filled her eyes. "Ohhhh! Ohhhh! Ohhhh!" is all she could say as she sobbed and looked at them.

You could see God's promise fulfilled in her little eyes.


  1. What a great testimony to the strength that God gives us to make it through touch situations. Your trip home seemed so overwhelming. Glad to hear that the children are feeling better, and your eyesight is back. Please rest as much as possible. No way does it sound like complaining, you're so thankful for being able to have completed your trip, and to everyone who helped like your family and friends. You're an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing such a journey with us.

  2. Oh my, I need a nap just reading about your trip home. But you are right. No matter how hard it gets, at least you are the one soothing their cries and changing their diapers and soaked clothing.

    What a precious site it must have been when Anna saw them for the first time. What a blessing that all your children have such a heart for orphans.

    Much Love,

  3. You are a woman dear to my heart. Congratulations on your two newest blessings! They are adorable. We have seven adopted children from Haiti, two of them twins, three dif. sibling groups. We are praying about what the Lord has for us next!
    Have an awesome week!


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