I”m waking up this morning wondering if the past 24 hrs have really happened. I walk upstairs and check the room one more time. I count, 1..2..3… Yup there are three kids in there. Yes indeed the past 24 hrs have happened. My heart is full.
We were in holding pattern all day Friday. Waiting on news that all kids had their paperwork and were getting on a plane to head somewhere in the USA. We had someone offer to charter us on a moments call so we were ready to go. By 7PM we still had not heard anything… then at 8PM we get the call. They are on the way to get on a military plane and their destination is Sanford International Airport in Orlando, FL. And we are off! In this plane below. Yeah, I took a pill before leaving and to my surprise the flights to and from were such a fun part of our journey the past 24 hrs. I’m so thankful we flew this way! Thank you Jason and Integirty Management group for making this possible for our family!
We arrive in Orlando about 11:30PM. We hear that the kids plane arrived about the same time and then we sit and wait with all of our friends. The Hyatts, the Ivey’s, the Pearsons, the Howertons, Tara’s mom, and others.I was thinking that in an hour or so all the kids would walk out to us… Not the case. 6 hrs later our family gets called back to go and sign papers releasing Frankie to us. Dave, Emma and I walk back to get Frankie and see him for the first time. All the kids and other people were in a large dark room sleeping. Byron from Heartline foundFrankie in the dark room and handed him over to us. And that was it. We were free to go. We were beyond tires and ended up leaving the airport at 6AM to head to a hotel to get some sleep. I was hard leaving the airport because our friends were still waiting on their kids and it was going to take a few more hours. We did leave and Frankie was passed out and did not wake up till around 11am!
Here is a first picture of us in the hotel room.
We enjoyed our first morning together in the US with Frankie. Then we headed with the Hyatt family for pizza before heading back to the airport to get on the plane and head home.
I will never be able to describe our home-coming. We pull up in this small plane to see a crew of people waiting for us. Dave told me later that night that he knew he was about to totally lose it and decided he couldn’t if he was going to have any composure the rest of the night. So if you know Dave and know he was feeling those emotions you can imagine the feelings we were having. And then we were Welcomed home. We will NEVER forget that moment…EVER.
We did have a lot of news crews there to capture our story. That was very weird. After we left the airport a crew from ABC Nightly News came to our home to do some immediate interviews with us and capture some footage of the kids. They were wonderful and so respectful of our first moments home. Jane Robelot and her husband Mario were fantastic. Mario has been to Haiti countless times and speaks creole. It was really the perfect closure to telling this part of our story and I’m glad it was Jane and Mario who were here. I’m not sure where ABC is using the piece but will let you know when we find out. It was also good because we are not finished pushing our heart for Haiti and the kids there. Two dear families to us were to get their children with us yesterday and for some reason the kids were not given the paperwork to leave Haiti. These children have been in the adoption process as long as Frankie has with our family. As much as we are so blessed by Frankie’s arrival we are broken for these families and will do whatever we can to make sure their kids Naomi and Ronel come home too. We are fighting with them. Last we heard Jason has a flight in to Haiti on Tuesday.
The girls have done superb in immediately welcoming and taking Frankie into our home. It’s as if he has always been here. We know we will have our tough moments of transition to come but for the moment things are going really really good. Right now they are all three on the couch having their morning milk and watching Max and Ruby. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives as a family of 5. Our journey continues but now it continues together.
Thanks Lauren Walker for the great pictures. Here are a few I found on Facebook.