Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

I took my four youngest kiddos to McDonald's today.  After they ate their Happy Meals I went to the bathroom to change the boys' diapers while the girls started playing.  I had a conversation in the bathroom with my little Buche.

Let me take you back a to just a few months ago.  We got home with the boys on June 26th.  That means that they have been home for 21 weeks.  I don't think I've ever blogged about this, but our plane ride from Ethiopia to home was ... well ... awful!  It was terrible!  I'm not sure if I've wanted to forget about it and that is why I've not blogged about it - or if I just didn't have the words to describe the 25 plus hours of planes and airports.

We left our guest house in the early evening hours.  We made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some Addis Tea.  I wanted to get things that the boys were familiar with so that when we got home I could give them familiar things...something that might comfort them.  They loved dipping their "dabbo" in tea. They still do!  Besides getting in a small fender bender with a large rock in the parking lot of the grocery store which got our driver who spoke no English into a long and what sounded like an angry conversation with a man that came out of the grocery store the car ride to the airport was uneventful.  I just remember holding tight to my little boy and telling Ryan to do the same.

We had the boys in carriers in the front of us.  Buche thankfully fit in his with his hip-spika cast he was sporting from the upper femur break that had just happened a few days previous.  It was just the day before we left for home that he had been put completely under general anesthesia to get him in that large cast!  Ryan and I were determined to push our own bags because our previous trip through the airport had cost us quite a bit of money.  At the Addis airport you are quickly surrounded by men that want to carry your bags for you.  But, the last men who we had carry our bags had requested a lot of money and for the sake of arguing we ended up just giving them it.

We made it through check-in.  We made it to the hallway floor, where we sat and had a Coke.  Then we spilled the Coke all over the floor.  I was feeling stressed.  I was feeling happy.  I was feeling sad.  I was feeling overjoyed.  I was feeling crabby.  You know that feeling, or is just me???

I decided to change the boy's diapers.  We found a bathroom and I took Burka in first.  Then Buche.  They both cried the whole time I had them on the diaper changer.  I went as quick as I could.  The lady that was cleaning the bathroom came over and rubbed their heads as she said "becka (baa-kaw)"while I changed them.  I had learned by now that everyone didn't know my son Burka's name because that is what it sounded like they were saying, but rather they were telling my child that "it is over - it is finished".  The nurses said this to Buche when we were in the hospital.  The doctors said it to him too.  This lady in the bathroom was just telling my son that the diaper changing was finished and he could stop screaming.  

But, this trip home was far from finished!  We boarded our plane late after a very trying, L O N G wait in the terminal.  At least it seamed long to me.  To finish it off one of the boys went "kah kah" in their diaper right as we were finally getting to board.  Ryan quickly changed it - right there in the terminal.  We tried to hide so that people didn't have to watch, but did get a few dirty looks anyway.    

Diaper changed, we boarded the plane.  I have to say, the boys did sleep a bit on the plane ride to Amsterdam.  So did my legs.  From the very first time we met the boys Buche was drawn to me and Burka to Ryan.  Although we had a seat for each of the boys, they didn't sit in them much and Buche was my boy ... bless his heart.  But, that cast was miserable, for both him and me. When he did fall asleep I didn't dare move him .. AT ALL.  So, I'm quite sure that there was NO blood flow to my legs.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk again, but what do you do when you are on a plane with a little guy that you know if you wake him up the whole plane will be awake because sitting quietly and reading a book was NOT going to happen.  

We made it Amsterdam.  Then we went to McDonalds.  It was yummy.  We all thought so...

...but looking back at these pictures I can see the fear in my babies eyes.  I knew they were scared.

We left the Amsterdam airport and I'll spare you the details of that plane ride to the states, but it was not pretty.   We had two little boys that were doing everything they could to control life at that point.  And, I don't blame them one bit!   But, it wasn't making life very easy ... or what at times even felt tolerable.  

One of the tricky parts about riding in airplanes for hours on end with little ones in diapers was changing them.  The little diaper changing table in the little bathroom went about as well as changing the boy's diapers at the Addis airport where the kind Ethiopian lady told my babies "becka".  It was a smaller space to change them in, but not a smaller scream from them as I was doing it.  

At one point the lady in front of me turned around to congratulate us.  I was thankful she wanted to congratulate us and not ask me to control my sons.  She was a sweet lady and I know she just wanted to encourage us.  I couldn't respond with anything other than tears. Later, after I had kind-of composed myself I told her thank you.  She said, "oh... you have a beautiful family and I'm praying for you."   That made me cry even harder ... happy tears.  

The gentleman behind us told us about how he had also adopted and their plane ride looked much the same as our was going.  He assured us of one thing ... we would make it.  We would make it to the point when we could get off the airplane and regroup.  And we did.  We  landed, made it through customs and had some awesome friends waiting for us at the airport to bring us home.  We were ever so thankful!

We made it.  It was not pretty.  But, we made it and it was worth every minute.

Now, speed ahead to today in the McDonald's bathroom.  I had a conversation with my little Buche as I was changing his diaper on the diaper changer.  He started the conversation.  This is what he said, "mommy ... airplane ... Ethiopia ... Buche .... scared ... Burka ... Daddy .... airplane ... Ethiopia ... scared"  Again, I found myself in tears, but today I found myself in tears looking into my sons eyes whose eyes were telling me that he wanted me to comfort him.  He wanted a hug.  He wanted me to hold him.  He said "I love you mommy".   So much has changed.  

Can't image how I would act if I were in my son's shoes on that airplane ride just a few short months ago.  But, I believe that those moments mold me into being a better parent.  I need to remember I don't know much at all about the first years of my son's lives. It reminds me that I can not judge people on how they act... because I have not walked the road they have.  

Indeed so much has changed and now I see much more of these types of faces instead of the scared faces I saw just a very short time ago.  I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.


Kristen said...

What a great post! Hard to believe how far these little guys have come!

Katy said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you sweet friend!

Jennifer said...

Very sweet photos. I remember changing those diapers in the bathroom on the plane. ;-) I could count the number of diapers I had changed on one hand prior, and the food change enabled me to be a quick learner on the plane. :-) Luckily I only had one little one, and the kids were very excited to go.

I wish I had thought about the tea. My oldest constantly told me the tea I made was not the same as there. Did you mix anything with it? At one time I remember the yahoo board having posts about baby formula or something mixed in it.

Karee Koepp said...

I sit with tears in my eyes...tears of thanksgiving. God is good and God is gracious. Thanks for sharing this post, it is beautiful. May God continue to bless your family! Happy Thanksgiving!

kwatkinsinfl said...

Thanks for sharing your travel story. I admit, I am not looking forward to it at all, and I'm asking Santa for a pair of ruby red slippers to wish myself home when the time comes. But to see how far the boys have come in a short time, I know it will be worth all the headaches. I can do anything for 28 hours, right?

kwatkinsinfl said...

By the way, that is a BEAUTIFUL picture of them!