We arrived home very late on Friday night after 35 hours of loooooong plane rides, layovers and scrutinizing security checks everywhere. Unfortunately, the plane that was to take us from Amsterdam to Minneapolis broke down after we had already gone through security and were waiting to board in this room so packed with people that even though we (and others ) were camped out all over the floors waiting.....we were like sardines in there. We found out later that out of all those 300+ people, many had been held over in hotels from the previous day because the plane had also broken down that day. There was no place to get water to drink or for feeding Edilu his bottle. They finally allowed me to walk 20 minutes through the airport to spend a fortune on 2 bottles of water that were specially "sealed" from the airport store so that I could take them through security to use for Edilu's bottle and us to drink. Caleb had a fever and was feeling puny and we realized somewhere along the line that we brought waaaaaaaaay too much carry one baggage because we could barely keep from falling over with all of it AND the kids. I knew we would miss our next connecting flight, and we had a hard time figuring out how to communicate with everyone back home since we couldn't use wifi at the airport. Finally, everyone was told to take everything and walk to a different concourse at the opposite end (of course!) of the airport and to get ready to take all of our baggage and wait in that super long line to go through security ONCE AGAIN before we could board this new plane that would NOW be taking us to Minneapolis. Can I just say I have NO love in my heart for airport security people?!!? LOL! I know they are just doing their job....but I've never been "patted down" and questioned and barked orders at so many times in my life!!! I did get pretty good at being able to take my shoes off/on with a baby strapped to the front of me. Looking back, we know they must have been so horrible in Amsterdam because we were taking the same route/airline that the bomber from Nigeria took through Amsterdam back in December. I'm sure they are dotting every "i" and crossing every "t" after that episode! Overall, even though we missed our next connecting flight in Minneapolis, we are still so grateful for safe travels and that really, considering, the kids did extremely well through it all AND we were able to still get a flight back to Peoria later that night. Even though it was late at night, many friends still ventured out to welcome us home and that was really wonderful to see their faces!
We have spent the last few days getting settled in, unpacking, and getting over jet lag! Truly, I feel like we are still processing so much. How do you see what we've seen and just go back to life as usual in America? How do I walk into my home with a full fridge (thanks to the Hoyt's!) and indoor plumbing and several bedrooms and not think differently about it because of the faces and people we've met? How can my thoughts not drift off to the children digging for food at the garbage dump....living right alongside the pigs in the filth? Or to the hungry children who's faces lit up when they were given a granola bar? Or to Hana' birth family living in a small dirt floor room with no water.....the people carrying heavy jugs of water long distances,etc, etc.... My prayer is that we will NOT go back to life as before......that the things we've seen will change us LONG term, not just for a few days. We have much to praise the Lord for each and every day!! If we know where our next meal will come from, we are rich. If we have a few drawers full of clothing, we are rich! When I saw the faith of Hana's birth mom, Meseret, who had NOTHING and yet trusted the Lord, it encouraged my heart. I think often our "stuff" can give us false security, and help us feel independent. I'm so thankful for the Lord who continues to teach and mold me into the person he wants me to be. May I fully realize the Lord as my strength and provider even when I am blessed materially. In my blessings, may I be a channel through which many others are blessed.
The kids are all really doing well and getting used to a new "normal". Our three older ones have so far been very helpful and understanding with Hana and Edilu (still not named!). We have already seen Hana make HUGE progress. In the beginning, she would have a crying fit every hour or so about something. I really think much of it is her way of working out her frustration/confusion at not having any control over anything in her life. She has had so many people come and go, and I think she never knows how long she'll be at the "next" place. I pray she is learning that she will be here to STAY with us for good. Of course ,communication has been a little tricky, but I'm amazed at how FAST she is learning English! She is, at the same time, so absolutely precious!!! We're seeing more and more of her personality as she has warmed up, and she's just so much fun! She makes me laugh every day! We are building a foundation of trust with her and she is having fits MUCH less often as she is beginning to trust us and understand what we are asking her to do. She is quite the little worker........in one of her orphanages all the children had jobs to do. Well, she MUST have mopped the floor and folded clothes, because she's a pro at it and LOVES to do it. She repeats our words all the time, and is so proud of herself and grins when she learns new things.
Edilu is such a joy, too. He's still a little mixed up about days/nights and doesn't want me to put him in the crib too often or he cries. I think he spent a little too much time there, and DOESN'T want to go back to that life!
Both of the kids eat just about ANYTHING, which is wonderful! Edilu thinks Hana is SO funny, and Hana loves to help feed him, etc...
We have much to praise God for! There are challenges, Yes. And there will be many more, I'm sure! It's one day at a time! Yet, while in Ethiopia, God gave me such a peace that these children were handpicked for our family! No matter what lies ahead, it's so good to know that God's hand has guided every detail......he has a wonderful plan for each of our children.
Hopefully, in the next few days I can get some pictures/video posted of our trip. Until then, I wanted to post this little clip of a Sarah Groves video which spoke to my heart.
Thanks to each and every one of you for the ways you've encouraged us along this path! It's hard to name ALL the ways...... We can never repay........the blessings we've received have been invaluable to us!
We love you!