Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sorry for the long silence

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting for the last few days. Rest assured, we are all well and things are still moving along across the pond. I've been super busy since Monday evening and haven't been able to make it to an internet connection - mostly because I've been flying home!!! Eric and the boys aren't home yet but we decided that one of us really needed to get back to ensure that there was someone here with Michael and Charity on Christmas. I didn't tell anyone that I was coming home - except my friends in Ukraine who had to help me finish up the stuff I needed to do there in order to be able to leave and 3 people state-side (thank you LeAnne and Melissa for listening, praying and being supportive and Heather for being the means of pulling this off). So here's the play by play of the last few days. One week ago we found out we weren't going to be able to get the birth certificates for Joseph and Jonathan on the following Saturday, we were going to have to wait until Tuesday. Now I know this sounds like only a 2 or 3 day delay but what this meant was that we couldn’t start the passport paperwork over the weekend like we had planned to be able to submit the passports on Tuesday. It really set us back by about 6 or 7 days. With our return flight getting so close to Christmas anyway and now this week delay I completely lost it. This was the first time I cried the whole trip but let me tell you – I made up for lost tears. After a nap and a few hours of playing with Joseph I was able to get some perspective and we began to formulate a plan. We decided that one of us would go home. Since our main concern at this point was Michael and Charity (and because their mom was beginning to lose her sanity) we figured it would probably be best for me to be the one to come back. Our original flight home was scheduled for Dec. 18th with arrival into Indy at 5:44 pm so we started making plans for me to just take that flight home so we wouldn’t have to pay any transfer fees. Shortly after coming to this decision I realized how much fun it would be to just show up at the airport and have Mom and Roger pick me up with the kids but just tell the kids they were there to check out the new airport and see where mom and dad and the brothers would be flying into. Good “Plan A” but then an even more fun plan popped into my head. We’ll call this one “Plan A+”. What if I didn’t tell anyone I was coming home (except the necessary few who were sworn to secrecy) and just showed up on Mom’s doorstep on Thursday evening with no warning. HAH! How much fun would THAT be!!! So that’s exactly what I did. I talked to my cousin Heather and she was commissioned to meet me at the airport and take me to my mom’s. I flew up to Kyiv on Tuesday night. Wednesday was spent going to the US embassy to sign some paperwork and a notary office to get a couple of power of attorney’s done for Eric to be able finish things up in Sevastopol. Thursday morning (or Wednesday night “home time”) I began my trip home. Before I tell you about that day let me just pause to let you know how much I was able to see God working to get me home. There were SO many instances on Thursday when I should have been delayed by MAJOR blocks of time but that did not happen. I am so grateful for His faithfulness in the small things. Okay, so my flight was scheduled to leave for Frankfurt from Kyiv at 5:35am. At 5:36 we had not boarded yet, hmmm. A minute later the flight board showed our flight leaving at 10:00 am instead. Since my connecting flight to Chicago was supposed to leave Frankfurt at 9:45 am, this was a problem. While I had been waiting to check in for my flight from Kyiv I had noticed a girl who looked like an American – the shoes gave her away – and so she and I started talking. She is a Peace Corp volunteer and was going home to Chicago for Christmas but on a later connecting flight out of Frankfurt. When our flight got delayed she and I and some of her other PC friends who were also on that flight started figuring out what to do. Eventually the airline made a list of who was going to be missing their connecting flights in Frankfurt and sent it ahead so that they could be working on it there. So, we board our original flight to Frankfurt which ended up leaving at about 9:30. When we got there I was one of the first one’s off the shuttle from the plane by some minor miracle and the first one to the gate personnel to see what my plan was. She told me I had been rescheduled but needed to get it finished up through the ticket desk. So – off I go to the desk – only about 4 people in front of me. I looked behind me 3 minutes later and the line was about 30 people deep – yikes! I got to the ticket desk and the lady had my flights completely rebooked. I just had to re-check in at the desk and I would be leaving for Chicago in less than an hour (this was PC girls original flight) and would arrive in Indy only 2 hours later than originally scheduled – AMAZING. Now if I could just make it to the gate on time. Frankfurt is a fairly large airport and I had to switch terminals on a tram and then go through security. You know how it is when you are in a hurry in the airport – everybody and their brother is setting off the beeper at airport security and they only have 2 stinking spots open one of which they keep sending the wheel-chair line cutters through (just so we're clear, I do not begrudge them that service at all, I'm just letting you all know how slow security was running). It was getting very close to take off time but I did make it through and got to my gate just as it was completing boarding. I cringed when I got on because it was a 2-5-2 seating arrangement and with my late booking I was sure I was in for a ride in the middle of the “5 row”. (I hadn’t taken time to study my boarding pass to check out seat assignment.) But – miracle upon miracles – I was a window!! When I got to my seat the girl on the aisle asked if by any chance I wanted the aisle because she preferred the window. Umm, let me think about this - 9.5 hrs with the aisle for extra leg room - DEAL! I also noticed that our seats had the personal TV screens which for a TV addict like me meant that I could pass most of the flight away in a headphone secluded bliss watching American made movies with NO Russian dub-overs!!! So off I fly. Turns out the girl next to me works for NATO somewhere in like Belgium or something and was going home for Christmas to meet her niece and baby nephew. She was very nice and I enjoyed talking to her between movies. (Side note – for those of you who know me, you realize what a nightmare it could be to sit next to me on a plane when I haven’t had anyone to talk to for a month except my husband. Luckily she didn’t mind the conversation either and had all kinds of questions about our adoption.) Anyway, uneventful flight. I talked to one of the flight attendants during the flight to see what I could do to make the process on the ground in Chicago go quicker because I only had a hour and 15 minutes to get through Passport Control, retrieve my luggage, go through customs, re-check my luggage, switch terminals, go through security and board my flight for Indy. He was incredibly helpful (read with sarcasm) and informed me that it probably wasn’t going to matter because the weather was awful in Chicago and Indy and my flight was probably cancelled anyway. NOOOOOO! So we approach Chicago and imagine my joy and surprise to find it sunny and beautiful, a little snowy but not too bad. So I start the process mentioned above. My luggage didn’t arrive so customs was no problem and by running through O’Hare I made it to my gate 5 minutes before the plane was scheduled to leave and found that it had just started to board. Apparently it was leaving about 15 minutes late. I also found out that my original flight out of Chicago (which I had missed because I had missed my original connection in Frankfurt) had been cancelled and I would have been put on stand-by for this flight anyway. So we take off and the captain informed us that we would be in the air for a little under 30 minutes and would be landing in Indy very close to on-time. Amazing! Heather met me at the airport. We filed my lost baggage claim – which had been sent ahead of me by Chicago so I only had to give the guy my phone number and get out of there! We then went to mom’s and it was priceless. Heather called mom from the car to let her know she was coming out and hoped the kids could stay up a few minutes extra because her girls had something they wanted to show Michael and Charity. I know it was a lie but it was for a good reason! It was icy so Mom and the kids met Heather to help her in as she was about to enter the garage. I was a little behind her and it took about 15 seconds for it to register with them who was with her. It was great! Homecoming is sweet anyway but the added surprise made it that much sweeter. Charity couldn’t stop talking and Michael was glad to see me too but the Colts were playing and so he was soon back in front of the TV. Welcome home mom! It took about an hour for Charity to calm down enough for her to be able to go to bed and the promise that I would share a bed with her that night did the trick. She went to sleep and MJ followed shortly - at the end of the 1st quarter. You can imagine my gratitude yesterday morning when I saw on the news that Chicago airports had pretty much shut down not very long after I left it because of the nasty weather. (I'm sad for NATO girl who probably didn't make it out - she had a 5 hr layover before heading to Tennessee.) Yesterday the kids kept it a secret that I was home and I was able to go in to school and surprise their teachers as well. Mom and I spent the morning helping making gingerbread houses in Michael’s class. She ran me to the post office to pick up a months worth of mail and to the grocery store because obviously there was no food at my house. We went back to school for the afternoon to attend Michael’s Christmas party (I went to Charity’s Halloween party so it was MJ’s turn) and then mom took me to my house. The kids were riding the bus home because they wanted to give their bus driver her Christmas present and they had heard that she gives treats at Christmas time and wanted to make sure they got their Coke and candy cane! Mom hung out with us for the rest of the afternoon. Roger came later and my step-sister (Stephanie) joined us as well. We ate homemade pizza, looked at Steph’s wedding pictures and decorated the Christmas tree that my mom and Roger had set up and been watering. It was a wonderful first day back. Michael decided he wasn’t quite ready to leave Grandma’s house (I think/hope it’s because his Wii is there) so he went home with her and Charity and I quickly hopped into PJ’s, read a couple of Christmas books and went to bed. I am apparently a little jet-lagged because I woke up at 4am and my brain started composing this blog so I just decided to get up and dial-up and let you all in on the latest news. Still no luggage, but I'm sure it will get here and I'm just happy to be home!

On the status of the Eric and the boys – he picked them up from their respective orphanages yesterday. They appear to enjoy each other and Eric was in high spirits even after all the hard work of getting them back to the apartment. He and the boys and Angelina went out to lunch before going home. They went to our favorite place there. It serves good Ukrainian food and was close to Joseph’s orphanage so we ate there quite a bit (thanks Jenia for translating the menu for us). Apparently when they asked Joseph what he wanted to eat he told Eric he wanted french fries, ketchup and coke. I’m telling you, this kid is an American kid who just happened to be born in Ukraine! We’re hoping they will all fly home Christmas Eve. It all depends on passports now. If Eric can pick them up Monday then they will be able to leave on the 24th. Pray with me that the passports come in and that Eric is able to get a return flight. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for being faithful readers!


Lynn said...

Welcome back, Kathy. What a story! We'll pray for Eric and the boys timely travel to be the best Christmas present ever.

Stephanie said...

I am so glad you are home. It was very nice being able to come out and see you guys last night. Will be praying that everything else goes smoothly and the rest of the family get home asap!

CorieCommunications said...

Welcome home! I would have looked for you yesterday at school if I had known you were back! I was there for G's class party. :o) Hope you're all reunited for Christmas. Do keep the blog going. I enjoy reading it!