We are safely home and what a long journey it was, but luckily, w/o too many bumps.
We left Ethiopia around 10:15 p.m. on Friday night. The kids were awake for about an hour or so, got a meal and then konked. Beza had an extra seat so she was able to lay down. They slept for about 4 hours – maybe 6 total of that 16 hour flight. Mark and I maybe got 2 or 3 hours. We arrived in Washington D.C. about 30 minutes early. After getting off the plane and through immigration (which is about a 2 hour ordeal) and onto the big “people mover” that goes between terminals our sweet Beza started to cry. They were quiet tears but they came nonetheless. It is heartbreaking to watch and we tried to comfort her best we could.
The tears were still coming as we got to our gate. We asked if she was sad, afraid – she said yes to “afraid”. I can only imagine that it is so much to take in and the short night of sleep did not help. The best distraction seemed to be a movie and some food from Wendy’s – ther first american hamburger.
Our flight to Denver was on time and about 3 and a half hours long. Shortly before we boarded we got a call from Dustin and Jen that their flight (via Atlanta) had been cancelled. (They did get home last night finally – have not talked w/ them yet.) The kids stayed awake on the Denver flight but they were so tired. I told them “Next flight, no film, go sleep.”
Our Denver to Phx flight was delayed somewhat in departing because we were waiting on the pilot who was working another incoming flight. They waited a bit before loading us on the plane. We found ourselves blessed with extra leg room in economy plus. We waited on board for maybe 40 minutes while the pilot went through customs. The kids were both asleep before we even took off and slept the entire 2 hour flight. I did too. (I don’t think Mark was so lucky as he had a rather inquisitive 3 year old in his row 🙂
It was a small but fun welcome party – Grandma (Cathy), Grandma Speer, PaPa (my dad) and Stacey (videographer extraordinaire). I don’t have any pictures since they took them but I will get them soon I’m sure. The kids were shy, as to be expected, but it went pretty good. We went down to baggage claim and while waiting for the bags Wendemagegn, Noah and Natalie took to goofing off right away. Beza was more reserved and had a few more tears but she came to me for comfort which, again, is good. We ended up only getting 1 of our 4 checked bags. The one we did get is the large mesob we bought in Ethiopia (a large basket woven “table”). The other 3 bags with dirty clothes and souvenirs made it as far as Denver but after that we’re not sure. Hopefully they’ll get delivered some time today.
We fed the kids some dinner and got everyone in bed by about 9 p.m. Mark woke me up about 4:30 with a teary Beza (he had been up and heard her). I climbed in her bed with her for awhile but after while I realized that she was not falling back asleep and probably the best thing would be a distraction so we came downstairs and laid on the couch watching Tom & Jerry. Since Mark was up he relieved me and I went back up to bed until about 8 when he woke me up. Wendemagegn was crying this time so he went to comfort him while I was on duty downstairs.
All the kids are awake now and they’ve been happily playing, going from one thing to the next. They’ve had the nerf guns out, a puzzle, K’nex, now I think it’s Hot Wheels. They are getting along great and the language barrier doesn’t really seem to be an issue. I don’t think Noah and Natalie realize how much or little they understand, the just keep going and it seems to be working.
Unfortunately there has also been some sad news today, Mark’s grandfather, Wiford Gumm, died this morning in Arkansas. He was a beloved man and truly one of God’s great warriors. He has been an incredible Godly influence in the life of my husband and for that I will be eternally grateful. We would covet your prayers for Grandma and for the rest of the family.
Here’s our first pic as a family of six.