"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Once we hung up the phone we headed to Aunt Rebecca's room for a distraction. Later, we had some dinner, said our prayers and fell into a deep and sometimes troubled sleep - knowing that the next day we would be leaving Ethiopia.

From Part VI
We woke with excitement, nervousness, sadness and fear. Ben and I could hardly wait to get home and have all 6 kids together. Joseph was so sad to be leaving his home and Marti and Jacob were terrified of the plane ride. We finished packing and took our bags down to the lobby. We checked around the room for the 100th time and finally went to check out. Rebecca paid an extra fee to keep her room until we left for the airport at 5pm that night. When I showed Ben the hotel receipt we had to laugh when we saw that we had spent over $500 calling home - we knew it had been worth it!

We had some major shopping we wanted to get done today... and Marti's hair to get done too - we headed out for our last day in Ethiopia...

We decided to start with the haircuts... We took Marti and Joseph to the Ghion hotel for their appointments. Joseph was in and out in 15 minutes... after an hour we sent everyone shopping while Marti and I stayed at the salon. 3 hours later, Marti's hair was still being done. At one point there were 6 people braiding her hair... we started getting nervous that we would miss our plane. The Ghion is the 3rd nicest hotel in Ethiopia - I expected clean bathrooms and cockroach free floors. I was wrong. The salon would have never survived a health department inspection here in America, but the ladies were all so nice and Marti loved being the center of attention!

While we did hair, everyone else shopped. They went to the world famous Mercado but only sent Joseph and Dawit in for the soccer jerseys and dolls that were on our list. It is not safe for Americans to go into the Mercado so Ben, Rebecca and Jacob took pictures from the van. Next, they went to the"Fixed Price" store which does not haggle with prices and does a good job of giving ferenji's a good deal. While there, they ran into another ferenji couple and Ben started talking to them. It turned out that they were related to a friend here in Kennewick - what a small world it is!

Finally, Marti's hair was done and we returned to the hotel for dinner. We said a tearful goodbye to our driver Dawit and headed inside to eat. We decided to eat in our room so that we could shower and pack our purchases. The kids loved their doro wat and Coca Colas and I just sat there hardly believing that our time was almost done.

We got to the airport and had 2 hours to spend doing nothing. We met 2 girls who had been adopted 10 years before and had returned with their mom and dad to see their older sisters for the week. The girls were so excited to have had the chance to see their sisters and they were so glad to be going home - it was a great meeting for all of us.

Getting on the plane was terrifying to all 3 kids. But they fell asleep within 10 minutes of take off. They slept off and on all the way to Germany and couldn't believe we were almost half way home. We ended up having 3 hours in the German airport but we were all so tired I don't remember any of it. Our flight from Germany went directly to Portland which was great - everyone settled in and slept for several hours again. I am sure they were tired but I am guessing they slept out of fear too. At one point, half way through our flight, I lost it. I tried to be discreet in my tears but I am sure the man next to me thought I was crazy. It started because Marti didn't want to watch Enchanted with me and got worse because I was sure that my house would be overrun with laundry and I would be a horrible mom and that I was crazy to ever think I this was a good idea. I am really not a cryer - but if you ever run into anyone who was on that flight, they would probably remember me differently. It was bad. I remember that at one point, Ben got grouchy with me. He reminded me that I could do this and it would all be fine. He was right. I pulled myself together, washed my face and got ready to be home.

When we arrived in Portland it was chaos. The flight was late and there were so many people waiting to go through customs. All I could think about was the people waiting for us at the Pasco airport and that I was pretty sure that if I had to wait to see Danny, Lilly and Addy for the next plane I would probably lose it all over again. Normally when you adopt internationally there is an interview process at customs and immigration. Sometimes it can take quite a while. Let's just say that God blessed us HUGELY and we were ushered through in 20 minutes. The next job was to say goodbye to Aunt Rebecca - the kids and Aunt Rebecca were sad. I was too.
From Rebecca: Some of the things I most vividly remember about landing in Portland that you left out were that wonderful man who helped usher us through customs. What was his name? He was a sergeant or a colonel or something and he was super friendly. He worked it out so that Ben and I could gather luggage and go get everyone checked in at the Alaska/Horizon counter, and you could take the kids through for the INS interview. He gave us his name so that the people at the ticket desk could call him if there was a problem. There was a lot of mayhem, Jesse showed up and handed me some tulips, and then everyone was at the counter and it was time to say goodbye. The whole airport might have swirled around a bit, or perhaps that's just my memory. I don't think the kids understood that I didn't live in your house or at least in the same town, so there was a bit of surprise that you were leaving me behind with the strange, tulip-bearing man. It was such a sad parting, but I was anxious to get home and so were all of you. (Anxious in more than one way, I would imagine!)
I couldn't believe we were back in the Portland airport and that we were on our way home. We quickly ran into bathrooms to put on our red shirts. I frantically searched through the gift stores for something to make us smell better - but there was nothing to be found. We got to our gate and waited - the grin on my face might have made me look slightly deranged but I couldn't help it... we were almost there!

The flight to Pasco was relatively quick, very bumpy and I am guessing that I talked a mile a minute. The kids were nervous - really nervous and so excited too! I remember getting off the plane (we left our video camera on it but got it back a few days later) and walking across the tarmac. I remember wondering if the blond kids remembered to put their red shirts on too. I remember holding Jacob's hand and feeling him shudder. I remember hearing Lilly SCREAM when we walked through the security gate. I remember thinking that there were a lot of people crying. I remember hugging onto the 3 we had left home and searching the crowd to make sure that Marti, and Jacob and Joseph were OK. They were hugging everyone and holding onto their little brother and sisters too. Lilly still talks about the way Marti hugged her. She hugged hard. :) I remember taking some pictures and getting into the Suburban. I remember turning around in the Suburban and bursting into a huge smile. It was just as I had imagined it. Everyone cuddled together and talking loudly.

We were home. We were together.

That's what it was all about.

Home together!

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