Friday, December 30
We all woke up this morning in great moods! We had breakfast, Hope decided she did like some of the baby food I brought, and the rice cereal, and then we went to pick up her embassy paperwork. She has an Ethiopian passport, but will become a U.S. citizen as soon as we enter the U.S. Then we went to this jewelery place that sells beautiful handmade bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made by single women with HIV. They make it to earn a living for themselves and their families using old artillery. It is really amazing handiwork, and of course after we left I wished we would have bought more. :)
The rest of the day, we hung out and started packing up. Hope also played a little today with the other little girl at our guest house. It was such a blessing to spend time with this family, and the other couples there, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to know them. I felt like overall we had what we needed, thanks to lots of advice and packing lists. Hope never really got sick, so I had a lot more clothes and diapers for her than we needed. And we ended up eating more food from local restaurants than I thought we would, so we had a lot more food too left over too.
Our plane left Friday night at 11:37pm, and we got there around 9:00. Hope had slept about an hour before we left, but was wide awake in the airport. It was so packed! We stood in a lot of lines, but were finally ready to take off. Thankfully for this flight we had the bulkhead seats which we put a bassinet for her to sleep, and she did! She slept about 6 hours or so, and was awake the last hour. We flew to Frankfurt and had about a 5 hour layover there. We tried to get an earlier flight, but would have had to pay a few hundred dollars. It actually wasn't too bad, we got some food, and she basically ran around and played that entire time in a corner of a deserted gate. The next flight however, was pretty excruciating. First of all I thought it was going to be a 6 hour flight, however it was 9. And we were in the way back of the plane in the middle isle, so we were also squished. She slept for about 3 ½ hours or so which was great, but seriously what do yo do for 5 ½ hours with a 17 month old on an airplane?? She ate a lot, walked around the plane, played with her toys, and cried,and we basically repeated that over and over and over again. Oh, and Aaron got the stomach flu on this flight too, so he was pretty much out of commission. I definitely felt some moments of panic thinking, what are we going to do for the next (3,4,5) hours? Anyway, we finally made it to Chicago, and had another 4 hour layover. It was just so good to be off the plane, and so close to home. Aaron was still feeling terrible, so after we went through customs and security, we found our gate and he crashed. Hope was in a great mood, running all over the place and being her cute friendly little self. Finally it was time to board our final flight home. Hope fell asleep and was out the whole flight, and Aaron was so miserable until he threw up again on the airplane, a first for him. :( I can't even describe the relief I was feeling at coming home. I missed my boys incredibly, and had been longing for this day for so long. It did not disappoint. There was a great crowd to greet us, our friends and family have truly been so amazing, and gave us such a wonderful welcome home.