Hi Friends....we are finally home! I was unable to update the last part of the week and then we started our journey home on Friday.....it was quite a trip! Elijah traveled so well and I was very proud of him. Travel is exhausting and he was hauled all over the place, but he was quite a trooper.
We discovered on Thursday evening that Eli had a fever. This was upsetting as you can imagine, not only just because he was sick, but also because we had several long flights ahead of us. Luckily I had taken infant Tylenol and Motrin that we gave him. He was still usually happy and content, though....only fussy when he was tired or ready for more Tylenol.
We began our trip home on Friday (evening there) and were glad to have two other families we had traveled with be on our flights home. Our first bump in the road occured at the ET airport where the guy checking passports did not want to let Elijah through......he looked at his passport picture and his visa picture and insisted it wasn't the same baby.....my heart was POUNDING!! He told us to "come back tomorrow" and bring more documentation. I just silently prayed and tried to explain that babies change and grow hair, etc. and it was the same child. He finally let us through, but kind of in a "I'm doing you a favor" kind of way.....whatever....just get me home!
Our flight to Dubai was uneventful and Eli traveled well and then we boarded in Dubai for our LONG flight to NYC. Nathan and I did not get seats together, but he was only two rows behind me and I did get a seat with a bassinet for Elijah to sleep in....that was a huge help. He was in there maybe not quite half of the time - I was so thankful to have it. This flight was SO LONG - it was scheduled to be 14 hours. Elijah did so well.....I got several comments from flight attendants and passengers about what a happy (and cute) baby he was. Even so, the flight was hard and I was exhausted by the end....it's really impossible to get good sleep on an airplane. As we were preparing to land in NYC, our plane was rerouted back to Boston to land because weather (?) prevented us from landing in New York - Let me tell you, people, after a 14 hour flight this is NOT what you want to hear! We sat on the tarmac at Boston for another 2+ hours and then made our way back to New York. At this point, we had less than 1 hour to make it through customs, claim our bags and run to our next flight......we hurried, people let us in front of them, and ran when we could, but could not make our flight. I wanted to sit down and bawl right there.....I was exhausted and MISSING MY KIDS!! I was so sad not to be getting home.
We were very thankful that our friends, the Stacklers, who had traveled with us to ET with our adoption group, were at the airport to take care of us. Amy got us water, gave me formula and William helped us find our bags and look up possible other flights and just supported us. They had had an exhausting flight with a 2 year old and yet took the time to take care of us.......I know God put them there to help us through that time and it was invaluable....thank you Stacklers!!
We went on to stand in a couple of different lines....dragging our huge carry on, four suitcases and a feverish baby through the airport. We were a sight. We were told that the only flights available were the next day - there was nothing that day at all!! The airline put us up in a hotel....not a great one, but a room with a shower and beds. We had to switch rooms when we got there because the air wasn't working in the first room (it was HOT!). We showered, ate and slept the rest of our time there....it felt so good to sleep!!
On Sunday, we went to the airport to check in. The airline representative then explained to us that we had not been given actual seats, we were on stand-by! The thought of not getting home again was unbelievable, but luckily, we were able to get seats......talk about RELIEF. In retrospect, I was glad that I hadn't known all night we were on stand-by (we were told we had seats) - I wouldn't have slept as well, I am sure.
Our flight got into Indy at about 3 on Sunday and it was SO GOOD to see my kids and family there waiting for me in the airport!! What a relief it was to all be together and to not have to get on another plane!
Our three big kids are excited to have a new brother and have been almost disappointed that he has slept so much since he got home - they are ready to play with him! I am loving being in my own home again and love that all of us are together and can get to know each other. Elijah is feeling much better and his fever seems to be down. His cough and cold are clearing up, too....still congested, but NOTHING like it was in ET. We are thankful for that.
I am still processing much of what I saw in Ethiopia....I am still trying to think of how to share it and express to you the urgency to step up and care for these children without coming across as bossy or judgemental.....it is not my heart to be either, but it is my heart to somehow express to you HOW MANY children like Elijah need loving homes. I believe it is God's plan to use us to care for these children. I wish each of you could see it all with your own eyes. I know I am forever changed because of what I saw....at least I hope I am. More on that to come.....
For now, I have to go feed my baby! :))