Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rwanda Rewind: The Journey Home

On our way home! A 17 hour flight never looked so good. We got to the airport early in hopes of snagging the bassinet seat for the babies (Laina and Jeb), but there weren't any available (although later I found out that most of the people sitting in the bassinet seats didn't have babies. Grr.)

While we waited for our plane, we saw a woman dressed in the same habit as the sisters at Laina's former orphanage. We started talking to her, and found out that she is Rwandan, and was returning from a visit to her mother. She knew Sister K and several of the other sisters at the orphanage. How amazing is that? She held Laina, and spoke to her in Kinyarwanda. Oh how I wish I could have understood what she was saying. I hoped that Laina could, and that she was soaking up the last time she'd hear her first language spoken for a while.

The sister blessed us for what we were doing (we're the blessed ones!) and told Laina and Jeb to be good. What a sweet way to end our time in Africa.
(travel buddies)

(us and the Bowers getting ready to board)

Although we didn't get bassinet seats, both us and the Bowers each got a whole center row to ourselves (another provision of God and thanks to the flight attendants that moved people just to make that happen). We were on the second-to-last row of the plane, and they were behind us. I love being in the back of the plane (not that I love being on a plane at all). It seems more private and like you have more space. Plus, you're closer to the bathrooms.

So we had three seats for the three of us. It worked out so well. Laina fell asleep on me, and I got her lying down in the middle seat. She slept that way (and sometimes on me) through the night and even through the re-feuling in Rome. She took a good nap, too. All in all, she slept for ten of the seventeen hours. And having her awake for seven of them was enough for me. What a long flight.
(I took this one for the boys who are always talking about jumping on or eating clouds)

We made it! As soon as we touched down in DC, Laina became an American citizen. Her first act as such was to cry so loudly and long while we stood in the customs line that they let us go ahead of everyone just to get us out of there. Good going, chica!

After a nap, she felt much better. After some fresh food, we did too. Here's our American citizen, sitting (propped up) proud!
Our flight to Atlanta was short and seemed long. The gentleman next to me talked to Laina until she fell asleep. He asked about our journey and then compared our long absence from our boys to how he feels upon greeting his dogs after he's been away for the weekend. (How do you respond graciously to that?! I'm sorry. Children and pets are not the same thing. But he was nice regardless.) I tried to read and couldn't. I couldn't do anything but sit and fidget. So close, so very close to my boys, to finally being together, all of us.

I always thought that the moment we first saw our daughter would be wonderful, but not as wonderful as the moment we were finally all together. I was right.

This is the part we had dreamed of for two years.


Erin said...

I've loved every second of reading about your journey. Your writing style makes it so much more captivating. I don't want it to end. At the same time, I want more. Ahhaa.

Adrienne said...

How wonderful to read about the part that we missed with you. It would have been so fun to make that last leg of the journey together. That is just great that Laina cried so hard you got to cut to the front of the line! Awesome :)