Friday, February 6, 2009

The Trip Home (The Horror and the Joy)

(The horror, The horror, The horror....)

Have you ever been in an airplane for 20 Hours?
Have you ever been in an airplane for 20 Hours with 300 other passengers and only 2 working bathrooms?
Have you ever been in an airplane for 20 hours with 300 other passengers, 2 working bathrooms and a 17 Month old?
Have you ever been in an airplane for 20 hours with 300 passengers, 2 working bathrooms, a 17 Month old who has a stomach ache, screams for several minutes non stop and people are trying to comfort her and it only makes her worse and some drunk guy on the plane tried to kiss her on the head, threatens to take her and you are 36,000 in the air above the Atlantic and you cannot do what you would do if you were in the United States to him??

Well, that in a nut shell was our trip from Ethiopia to Washington D.C. and that is just the adventure on the airplane. We began our trip at 10:30 pm at the airport in Addis and Abeba was somewhat content, but still a bit fussy. We boarded the plane and began our flight to Rome. The flight was completely full. Abeba was fussy on and off and screamed several times and threw a couple of her tantrums that we saw when she was really upset. We landed in Rome for refueling and a crew change, Abeba had fallen asleep but this, as you can imagine, woke her up. Well of course their was a small mechanical problem with the plane and we were in Rome an hour longer than we should have been to fix the problem.
It was then that we learned that only 2 of the bathrooms worked...
Awhile after takeoff I noticed a man who appeared to be intoxicated confronting another man and trying to start a fight with him. Many things were going through my head given my profession and training. I did however realize that I was in an Ethiopian airplane above the Atlantic ocean and my options were limited given the circumstances. About a half an hour later Melissa took Abeba to the back of the plane to change her diaper. She returned to our seat and said that a man had been following her, tried to take Abeba's bottle and she was concerned. Well the man showed up at our seats and you guessed it, it was the drunk guy! He kissed Abeba on the head and said "I like your baby" and acted as if he were going to grab her. He and I engaged in some verbal sparring and he went back to his seat...again I thought about my options being 36,000 ft. above the Atlantic Ocean and in an Ethiopian airplane. The outcome would probably have been different if we would have been in U.S. airspace and in a U.S. airplane.....

Finally we landed in Washington D.C.!
We got off the airplane and into the line for Customs, where there were two Customs officers to process 300 + people. It took awhile, but we got through without much trouble and Abeba was fairly compliant through it all.
We boarded the plane to Indianapolis and warned all on board that Abeba did not like being on an airplane and we apologized ahead of time for what would surely be a dreadful flight with her screaming the entire way. Well, she fell asleep and slept the entire flight, by God's grace our trip to Indy was actually the most pleasant of all the flights.

We returned to Indy to a great welcoming committee of Church Family, Family and Friends. We were able to tell our friends who are waiting for their court date that we were able to see their son, hold him and take video and pictures of him. We handed off the video to them there. The best part was being able to hug our other 3 kiddos that we hadn't seen in a week and to realize that we were together for the first time as a family of 6! We were overwhelmed by seeing our family and friends there to welcome us home. We have received so much support from so many of them and we were thankful once again to them.

The trip in the 2 hour trip in the car was not as bad as we had feared it would be. We knew that Abeba did not like to be confined and surely was not going to like a car seat, but she did really well considering what we had all just gone through.

We arrived home in Delphi and the house had been decorated inside by the kids and my parents to welcome us home. We put Abeba down in the living room and she immediately got down and started playing with her siblings, just like she had always been here. What a picture of God's grace and Mercy to see her here finally in our home with her brothers and sister. God is good.


Eddie Eddings said...

I can identify a little with your flight plight. I had a 19 hour (one way) trip to Kuwait City last year. The trip back took less time but one man, four seats in front of me, had such strong body odor...and he was the most active one on the plane! He would get up, stretch and pace every twenty or thirty minutes. When he would pass by I tried to breathe from my mouth helped a little...but, not much. He, of course, was oblivious to it. What can you do? I just felt sorry for the two guys who sat next to him. Oh well, don't mean to sound just that sometimes, life reeks!

Cindy said...

We feel you. We had 34 hours of travel before walking into our home. I cried twice. Mihiret screamed the whole 30 minuted in the car seat and tried to make herself vomit...good times.
Abeba is a beauty and I am so glad that you have her home.

The Roberts Family said...

UGH!!!!!!!!! That brings back memories from our flight! What is it with drunk people on LONG flights? HORROR those long flights can be! So glad you are HOME and all doing so well! Blessings, Shelly