May 5, 2008

This week Last Year - The End

The Homecoming
Okay, so I realize that a week is only seven days, but Ethiopia week stretched on a little longer. I will close by finishing up our trip by lumping the last couple of travel days together. We had a fabulous time in Ethiopia. Not only meeting our boys and becoming parents, but meeting new people and enjoying a country which we knew so little about before starting the adoption process.

On our last day, we had to be packed up with our stuff out of the room by 1 p.m. so that it would be ready for the next family. I must say....the luggage wasn't packed near as nicely and tightly as it was coming in. I guess with two babies getting into everything and with being so tired, you really don't care about the wrinkles and fitting things in just perfectly. The boys were crawling around like crazy and getting into everything, so it really was a rush job....but, we got it done. We chilled in the common areas and visited with families as they came in and out of the guesthouse, following the schedule for their week. We had our last meal, hugged the wonderful cooks and the minibus came to drop us off at the airport. We would have a five hour wait, but were thankful for the ride. We checked ourselves in and carried the boys in their slings around the airport. We still couldn't process this unbelievable trip and just kept plugging along because if we thought about it all.... We were exhausted and I had not one ounce left to support any kind of memory emotion. We boarded our plane to leave Ethiopia in the dead of night. Luckily we had the bulk head seating with bassinet and we had purchased one extra seat for the boys, so we had plenty of room. Depending on the wants of the boys, they took turns sitting or laying in the seat next to us, sitting in our laps or lounging in the bassinet. Of course, no leg of the flight was without its drama. Once in the air, Seb had fits of screaming bloody murder. He had his sippy which apparently didn't help his ears as much as a bottle would. He wouldn't take a pacifier. He just wanted to cry and cry. Of course, the flight attendants felt they should whisk him away and ease his crying fit. Michael did not think this was a good idea. It was the whole bonding thing. We needed to continue fulfilling his needs and couldn't have people constantly taking him to do this for us. We didn't want to be rude, but had to hold onto Seb and try to calm him ourselves. He really did calm down after we had been in the air awhile. It was really smooth sailing once we hit Italy.
Now, the poop department was something else entirely. We had packed a ton of diapers and ten outfits. Upon landing in Dulles, there were no outfits left and we were unshowered and covered in food, poop and spit up. I am surprised they let us back into the U.S. with the way we smelled. At one point Seb had such a poopy explosion, it went through his two layered outfit, the Et Air blanket and onto the bassinet. Luckily, the passengers let Mike skip in line to the bathroom to clean Seb up right away. He then had to give the blanket back to the flight attendant. He asked what he should do with it. She took it with a smile and shoved it under another passengers seat. I guarantee you, with that smell, that passenger wasn't smiling for the rest of the trip.

We landed at the Dulles airport on Monday morning. It took no time at all to make it through the immigration line. Although, finding our luggage took some time. Luckily, one of the airport security guards took pity on us. Two frazzled, crazy looking parents with babies in slings trying to wrangle several luggages and not knowing what to do......that man had a big heart. Many would have run in the other direction. He helped get our luggage, escorted us to the other immigration line and helped us recheck in our luggage through to CA. We then had a couple of hours to get Mike a new shirt and have a snack before going on to Denver. Of course, I send Mike to get a snack for the boys and he comes back with a bagel and hot chocolate. I was like dude, why not a muffin and juice. Our toothless and (we didn't know at the time....lactose intolerant) boys would not do well with this breakfast. Back to the snacks in the diaper bag for them. Although....unfortunately, we gave Ben a little of the hot chocolate and 15 minutes later.....he threw it up all over me, exorcist style. At this point, there was no time for a new shirt as we were about to board the plane. I cleaned up the airport chairs and carpet the best I could with baby wipes and thought that juice would have smelled a lot better on my shirt and pants than curdled milk. But, we were making our way home. I just had to hold on for a little bit longer. Of course United had to make things worse on us. We were there forever waiting to board. We were there before anyone else. Of course, they decided to redo all of the seating. We reminded them several times, we needed our three seats together. They said it was no problem. Of course, when they pass out the new seating arrangements.....only two are together. We could cramp together and waste a seat or separate the boys with each of us, still not maximizing our investment. They would not reorganize their seating plan. We were upset...but of course, upon getting to our seats we were allowed to switch. I think the man who had the seat next to us, saw a smelly frazzled woman with two active babies and thought......how do I get out of here?

We landed in Denver and rushed to board our next flight. There wasn't much of a cushion and so we immediately boarded and United had arranged our seats together this time. I was still exhausted and now that we were so close to home, it was hard not to cry. I pushed it back so as not to think about the extraordinary life changing trip we had almost completed. We weren't home yet. I couldn't think about it yet. I didn't want to cry yet. We had a pleasant flight. There was an adoption agency head on our flight and she came over and talked with us and played with the boys. Again, she offered to take Ben for a walk around the plane. I kept thinking....what is it with people wanting to take these babies.....do we look that bad? I won't answer that, we probably did.
As the plane pulled into our local CA airport, it was even more difficult to keep the tears back. We deboarded the plane and made our way down the big escalator to where my mom, stepdad, and Nonny were waiting with balloons. I had tears, but wasn't bawling yet. We kissed and hugged and said our hellos and introduced the boys to their Nonny, Papa and GGNon. The men went to get the luggage and I sat on the airport bench, trying to hold it all in. My mom asked about the trip and I got maybe two sentences in with a shaky voice and I lost it. I was bawling. I was crying hard into my mom's shirt in the middle of the airport. I was overcome with the emotion of the last week. I was home. Safe. I had the comfort of my Mommy's arms and shirt. I buried my face and cried for a long while with Ben in between us still in the harness. Although in a very long winded way I have described this week to all who would read it.....it is really indescribable. I can tell about events and schedules and try to touch on the feelings....but I can never relay what the trip was or meant to us. It is something that no one can imagine unless they went through it. Most of it was happy emotion. Some of it was sad emotion. Happy about becoming a family. Sad about the extreme poverty that created the opportunity for us to become a family.
Mike was back to work the next day. Luckily my mom stayed for a week to help me with the night time feedings when I was jet lagged and to take care of the babies when both my eyes were swollen shut due to pink eye. When my mom left after that week I was scared, but my Nonny started coming twice a week to help me out and we had a nice little schedule. It is hard to believe a year has passed. It went so fast, yet, it feels like these boys have been a part of my life forever. They are my everything. They have filled a void in my heart and have made me happier than I could ever imagine. No matter what happens in this life, I can be content as I have been more than blessed by my two little angels. We love you Ben and Seb.

1 comment:

Heather & Adam said...

Man, I am too emotional to read these! I love it though. Happy Mother's Day! I love you guys. Your boys are amazing.