Tuesday, April 17, 2012

WE'RE HOME (for a week)!!!

Daddy and Mommy with Libby before court

We are now officially the parents of Elizabeth Joy Rector as of April 13, 2012!! We had a smooth court proceeding and our judge was very kind! We were nervous, but our facilitator, Violetta, is AMAZING and she did a great job preparing us! The judge was very curious as to why we, being so young, wanted to add another child to our family especially one that has Down syndrome. We explained that ALL children are a precious blessing and we are excited to add our baby girl to our family. She smiled and then we left the room to wait to hear the date we could return and start the final paper chase to bring Libby home. Our facilitator came out with a big smile on her face and told us that the judge was allowing us to start the paperwork on Tuesday, April 24th!! We were SO thankful to hear this as it was a BIG answer to our prayers. There is a mandatory 10 day wait between court and when you can get the necessary documents needed to bring your new child home. Most of the time weekends and holidays are not counted in this time so the 10 day wait turns into 12-14 days. We were informed recently that the first couple of weeks of May have a few holidays and could be shut down the entire 2 weeks depending on the office from which papers were needed. We had been praying to be able to get her home before all of the holidays and didn't know if it was going to work, but God, in His mercy and kindness, allowed us to be able to start 3 days earlier than expected, so we should be done before the shut down!!

The court building

We headed back to our apartment to get ready for our 15 hour train ride to the capital so we could fly home for the mandatory 10 day wait period. After we arrived in the capital, we mostly rested as we had a VERY early flight home and our driver came about 2:30am to take us to the airport. We were excited to be going home to see our kiddos so it wasn't too bad until we got to the airport to find...
our flight home was CANCELED!!

We were in shock to say the least and when we found the airline counter with about 100 people in line in front of us with one agent working, I was ready to cry! It was 3am and we were standing in a crowded airport in a foreign country with no flight home! While Richard stood in the line, I called our travel agent to see if he could help us. It was Saturday evening (his time), but that didn't stop him from jumping right in and finding us a flight home! About 20 minutes later, he had an itinerary for us and got our tickets booked. We were able to avoid that unbearably long line and go check in for our new flight. I HIGHLY recommend Golden Rule Travel!

Our new itinerary had a couple extra connections, but we were thankful to be on our way. The first flight to Munich was pretty uneventful, then we boarded for a long flight to Chicago. We were pretty tired by this point as we had our 17 month old son with us who didn't sleep much which meant that we didn't sleep. We were told we needed to go through customs in Chicago since it was our first stop back in the States and we needed to pick up our bags and recheck them.

Only one problem...

Our connection was only a little over an hour and we had to clear customs, go through security, get our bags from baggage claim and recheck them AND make it to our gate before our plane left. All in about an hour's time! We were praying for a miracle and for grace if we missed our flight because we JUST. WANTED. TO. BE. HOME!!

We finally got to the customs area in Chicago and the line was, well let's just say, there was NO way we were going to make our flight! I had Luke in the Ergo on the front of me and saw a lady who worked for the airport so I asked her if there was a line for families with small children. She pointed me to another lady who then opened the gate and let us bypass the LONG line of people and go directly to one of the customs booths! It was an answer to our prayers and because of that we actually had a good chance of catching our flight home!

The customs officer was very kind and we breezed through without any delay. We then quickly got our luggage, rechecked it and headed to the security check point. After getting through security, we literally ran to our gate at the other side of the terminal and boarding was in progress as we arrived. We made it just in time!

As we were boarding, we realized our seats were scattered throughout the airplane and tried, unsuccessfully, to get seats together. It was a short flight of 2.5 hrs so we just sucked it up and sat in our original seats. Well, it was pretty much the W.O.R.S.T. flight EVER! It was the most turbulent, rough flight I've ever been on and if you know me, I'm not real fond of flying to begin with so being by myself was really scary! As we started to descend, the pilot came on and instructed the flight attendants to be seated as we were in for a bumpy landing:/ Not exactly what I wanted to hear, and boy, was he right! The plane felt like it was being thrown around like a rag doll and I began to shake as my tummy felt like I was going to lose it. I wanted to cry, but knew the 2 men sitting next me wouldn't appreciate it, so I tried with all my might to hold it in. I guess the guy next to me saw my shaking hands gripping ever so tightly the seat in front of me as I was turning 3 shades of green, so he started talking to me and asking about our trip. He kept me talking to keep my mind off of the sheer horror I felt and it mostly worked although I intermittently would grimace and say something about hating turbulence when we would feel like we were going to fall out of the sky. When we finally touched down, I wanted to kiss the ground and shout for joy, but I was too exhausted to do much more than weakly get up and walk off the plane. We got to baggage claim and our bags were no where to be found. So we went to the baggage recovery area and found out that our bags were on a later flight due to us barely making our flight so I guess there wasn't enough room or time to get them on the plane with us. The lady took our address and said they'd be delivered the next day.

It was almost 10pm and we had been awake for 29 hours and counting. We were exhausted, but looking forward to seeing our kids. They were excitedly waiting for us in the van so we headed out and it was wonderful to hug them and see them again after 3 long weeks without them! I didn't realize how much I needed to see them and be with them until right then!

We've SO enjoyed our time with them and know it will be hard to leave them again, but we are excited to bring our newest daughter home so our family can be together! We leave in 5 days and Lord-willing, are planning to be back the following Saturday with Libby Joy!!

Please pray for her birth certificate to be completed on Tuesday the 24th! Our facilitator believes that it will be done then, but there are some circumstances that could delay us. If all goes according to plan, we will be gone less than a week!!

I'll leave you with some photos of the last couple days of our first trip with Libby. They include getting to feed her for the first time(!), taking her outside for the first time, and her beautiful smile: )

Note: It was 65 degrees out and the nannies put a snowsuit on over her already bundled self: )

Libby's funny face when the sun was in her eyes: )
Taking her outside for the first time!

1 comment:

  1. She is so precious and I am so happy for you guys! Can't wait to hear more about her and the family