Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Okay where was I........

Oh ya...... It's our first full day with our son and he now has Malaria (for at least the 3rd time in 6 months). Thanks to the wonderful missionaries who opened up their home to us Kamble had his medicine and was on the mend. In all of this chaos we had to continue packing so we could leave the following day. We left most everything we brought with us there, so it was pretty easy to pack our larger bags into each other so only had to check 2 bags on the way home.

The next day Kamble was feeling much better and we were just hanging out while daddy went to do some errands. He had to go with our translator and driver to pick up some medicine and test kits to replenish what we used from the missionaries and they were going to try to get some more fabric but the store was closed. They returned from their first outing and grabbed our luggage that needed checked and headed out again. Everyone kept telling us that we couldn't be flying out from DRC on Brussels on a Saturday. It was funny the translator, the driver, the missionaries, and anyone else around told us we had to be wrong. But we went anyway and sure enough there was a special flight out on a Saturday because of the holidays. It was definitely a God thing because that was the only flight that was going to get all three of us on the same flight home before Christmas! 

The airport check-in happens early in the day and at an office in the city not at the airport. This proved to be a little more difficult than we thought. They showed up at the Brussels air building and then were told they had to drive to another place to get a ticket for Kamble (you have to pay for a lap child ticket on international flights) and then drive back to the first place where he finally went through a check-in process. Then you just leave your bags there and they somehow amazingly make it to the airport and on to the right plane!!

Aaron came back to the house and we said our good byes to the missionaries and got our stuff into the car to head to the airport. We left about 6 hours before our flight for a few reasons but the first reason is the traffic! The traffic there is crazy, I'm talking pray for life type crazy! I couldn't even tell you the distance from the house to the airport but it takes forever to drive between the two. There aren't really any traffic laws as far as I could tell, however I did see a police man stop a man on a motorcycle and give him some sort of ticket. Cars, vans, and buses were packed so full of people and were so beat up that they looked like they shouldn't even be on the road as it was.  It was so hot in the cab Kamble was loosing it and we just couldn't move anywhere. We were stuck on an hill/dirt embankment between the two ways of traffic just trying to get through. I saw 15 passenger vans loaded with at least 30 people (and two hanging off the back) drive up over the center dirt/hill section and into the other side of traffic and just start weaving through traffic and going the opposite direction. With all that said our driver was amazing. He did some crazy things, but I could tell he really valued us and our safety. He got us there in one piece and we were ready to get on that plane and begin our trip home to America!

Once we arrived at the airport we met our helper. He was the same person who helped get out of the airport when we arrived. He was wonderful! We heard how challenging it can be to get through the airport with an adopted child but we had no problems at all. It was a quick and painless process and we made it to the waiting area with like 4 hours to spare! :)  So there we sat and waited for our plane. Kamble was not happy with our food options and was having a really hard time while we waited. It was also getting late and he hadn't napped so we were struggling keeping him calm. While at the airport we met a friend of our directors who lives there so that was a fun connection to make during our wait. After hours it was finally time to board the bus to drive us 50 ft to the plane. We got our carry on luggage checked  (again) and then were able to finally get on the plane and settled. All the plane rides have become a blur in my mind but Kamble did great. He cried only a few short times and people continued to tell us how well he had done. We left at 9:50 pm and arrived in Brussels at 5 something the next morning. We were all exhausted, we found a couch in a dark area to sleep for a little while. The next flight left about 5 hours later and we were lucky enough to get a row with an extra seat (Thanks to the nice lady at the help desk).  This helped make our journey a little easier. We still had a hard time getting Kamble to eat anything, so you could tell he was hungry on top of being extremely tired. We (aka Aaron) also left the lingala words cheat sheets on the airplane so that made things The next flight went well but it made our internal clocks all messed up! Poor Kamble didn't know which way was up!

Customs was our next stop on our adventure. We heard this could take us a little while but we hoped for the best, because we wanted to get Kamble some chicken and rice. We waited in a short line and made our way up to the officer. He then said we had to go with another guy to another place. So we followed the officer to the downstairs and sat down while he took our packet to another officer. I think we barely sat down and they told us we were free to go! What?!?! Another place we thought we would have to wait and deal with crazy things and we didn't. It was smooth sailing! So went went and got our bags to re-check them and headed to find some chicken and rice for our son! While we were eating our huge burgers ( yeah, something other than top-ramen) and Kamble was eating his food plus some of our sweet potato fries Aaron ran and bough Kamble a Statue of Liberty. Can't wait to take some pics of him holding it (once he's ready too, of course)! We had another 5 hour layover so we just hung out and walked around. It was so nice being back in the US. We had familiar foods, pricing, and people speaking the same language as us (well not Kamble, but he will soon enough).

This last flight was the worst out of all of them. First is loaded about an hour later than it was supposed to and then we sat at the gate for another hour while we waited for a place broken down behind us to get towed. We were so excited to see family and friends at the airport but by the time we got there we were even more exhausted than we would have been. Kamble slept pretty much the entire flight from Newark to Portland on Aaron which made his flight really uncomfortable. Thankfully a nice older couple who requested aisle seats across from each other were our row mates, because they switched us one of our middle seats (we were originally separated across the row from each other both in middle seats) and allowed us to sit together. Other awesome thing was we were in the economy plus section where there was more leg room! We finally made it to Portland around 10 pm and were welcomed by a lovely group of friends and family! Thank you everyone for who came to support us that night and through this whole journey! We are so in love with our little buddy and couldn't be more grateful to everyone who helped us bring home this little treasure!

One theme I hope I was able to convey in the past few posts, is that God's hand was on us through this entire process. For some reason everything seemed to go very smoothly for us. We had great helpers along the way and they were all followers of Christ. We know we were being lifted up by God while in country and through the whole trip back home. Kamble was meant for our family and we believe that this process has been a blessing to our family. We learned so much about ourselves and our relationship with God has benefited greatly from this process. There were many ups and downs but we learned a lot about our selves and strengthened many relationships along the way. I'm not saying this process wasn't extremely hard and frustrating at times, but in the end every step was worth having our precious son in our arms. I will always wish we were able to get him home sooner, but with all adoptions it's a process. And in the end it really only took 6 months from referral to his Gotcha Day (But during the process these 6 months felt like an eternity)!!

Next post I hope to talk a little bit about our transition and time at home so far!

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Love, April 

1 comment:

  1. Hey there April! An old high school friend of yours, Jessika Doolittle, just referred me to your blog bc we are doing our homestudy toward adopting from Congo too! The DRC adoption community seems so small so we love any glimpse we can get! I'm already enjoying reading your backposts! congratulations and keep blogging! xo