first off, let me say just sitting down to type this story almost makes me nervous. The flight home was always a fear of mine since the beginning of the adoption process, but I refused to read any horror stories or even listen to them. So, I don't want to terrify you. I just have to tell the story :) SO - if you are going to be headed overseas soon to bring home your babies, read this with an open mind.
We left the guest house, with a van full of my boys, and everything was dandy. I was not looking forward to the goodbye at the airport - I don't like goodbyes, and I always cry in the Bole International Airport departure lot. I just do. But, it wasn't too bad. GRACE.
We get through security without any bumps or bruises and just mozy on through the elite line for ET air. no, we aren't elite. but I took a tip from mama kiki, and I went for it. and it worked and they were extremely kind. It was the first time really we were out around Americans with our babies. Never knowing what to expect from people, I was plenty surprised by the kind and encouraging words we got from strangers. Everything was so smooth - it's like we were pros or something.
We get into the main holding area and settle in with the babies. We were shocked to hear that our bulkhead seats were not fully reserved! My husband knows how to take care of us, so he fought hard for those seats- and eventually we got em! TIP: GET THE BULKHEAD if you are traveling with a baby (see pic below).
While waiting, our babies made us all sorts of friends. and I have decided that while I"m not a huge fan of flying, I do indeed love airports. Airports are such an amazing place to watch & meet other people. and on a flight back to DC, so many on our flight were headed home from court/embassy/mission trips. and plus, wendy/megan and the whole medical team from Visiting Orphans was on our flight! (ps - we did that on purpose! we found out our embassy date the morning they left the states!)
So, we got on the flight. look at the pic of all 4 of us - well, didn't last for long. I never knew this, but if you are traveling with two infants you can NEVER sit on the same row. In this case it was for the bulkheads but domestically it's because of the oxygen masks. good to know....
So because the man next to us in our first row seemed really grumpy, I decided to take the other row. bad choice. With the bulkhead position, not only could I not see my TV, but I left my magazine in Addis, my book was in the checked bag and my phone was dead with no charger. SO. I had nothing to do for 17 hours but obviously take care of the babes. I kept thinking about how I was going to tell people that I sat in between a 100% blind man & a 7 month pregnant lady. pretty funny circumstances, right?
well. it was all going fine & dandy. I was loving my role as a mom & getting to take care of the babies every need. Asher was with me & Camp was with Stephen but it seemed i was on diaper duty. Thankfully the people around us were all super encouraging (literally, speaking encouraging words!) and again, made more friends who had just come off the mission field. it distracted me in a good way.
well lets just say the last 7 hours were traumatic. one would cry and once I finished feeding/changing/burping/etc the other one would cry. at one point they were BOTH crying and then I was crying! We kept getting in the way standing around trying to calm them and I remember one moment so well when I was basically yelling at Stephen telling him I was a terrible mother & I didn't know what to do. traumatic. feeling like a whole airplane was watching your every move as a first time momma with two new babies on a 17 hour flight. (did I mention that we found out when we got home that BOTH of them had double ear infections??) Thank the Lord for Wendy! At one point, through tears I handed Asher to her & said "I don't know what to do!". And although she was emotionally and physically wrecked she stepped up. and I"m forever grateful!!
we made it to DC. finally. After getting about 10 minutes of shut eye on a 17 hour flight, we were both feeling utterly exhausted. more than exhausted. we both felt like we were hallucinating and I remember a few times saying, "I might literally fall over" I felt like I had vertigo and i've never felt so strange in my life. but we didn't have time for our next flight so I had to kick it in high gear. Hurricane Sandy almost delayed our travel -- we ended up waiting for 1.5 hours in line to try to get our bags re-checked & then surprise surprise they were lost & we didn't get them until 3 weeks later! Thankfully, we had these 2 again. Meet Megan & Wendy.
these two saved the day. broke all my "cocooning" rules right off the bat on that flight home - but you gotta do what you gotta do. we tag teamed it while we ate at five guys (which we later realized made us all SICK!!!) - bottles, changing, me changing, medicine, etc. but we did it. and they went their way and we got on our flight to Houston.
This angel of a woman, who was on our first ethiopian flight, approached us at the gate and told us if we needed anything to let her know. She's originally Ethiopian but lives in Canada and was going to Houston to visit her sister. but I think she was just an angel sent to us. turns out, she was on one of our rows (remember when I said we couldn't sit together). SO - she took my middle seat, held Asher the whole way so I could sit by my hunny and take care of Camp. Oh praise you Jesus! I finally got a few minutes of shut eye and Asher was happy as a clam. (and I know that the real cocooning doesn't start until we get home - thanks to a few of my adoptive momma friends for giving me that advice!)
made it to Houston. ran into some really excited Midland friends at the airport, had a few more friends on our flight ;) both babies slept the whole way home.....
ahhhh. next post for all the airport party pics...