Let me start by saying that you would be wise to not ever ask me to be your partner on the Amazing Race... I crack under pressure!
Last night we had dinner with my parents, prayed over our trip, and kissed our girls good-bye. It was surreal to be leaving them again and knowing that when we saw them next, we would (finally!) be a family of six!
This morning we woke up (actually, I don't think either of us slept enough to really have to wake up), packed our final items, and met our friend Ronnie in the driveway in the wee, dark hours of the morning. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and joined the other passengers in the check-in line. I was feeling positively giddy at this point! Were we seriously at the airport on our way back to Ethiopia to pick up our son?!?!
We were standing in line, ready to check our bags, when one of the airline employees loudly asked, "Is anyone here heading to Washington, DC?" Yes! We were. We raised our hands with several of the other passengers, and she asked us to step to the side. "Your flight has been cancelled," she said casually. She asked us to give her our names and then she'd tell us when the airline had rescheduled us. At first, I really wasn't worried. I figured that we'd just get on the next flight to DC and still make our flight to Ethiopia. BUT THEN.... the two passengers in front of us were told that they had been rescheduled for flights tomorrow. Tomorrow?!? There was no way that would work for us. I knew how few flights Ethiopian Air had available into Ethiopia and we were lucky to be on the one we had... the one that left today. There was no way we could get into DC tomorrow. We wouldn't have a flight into Ethiopia. We'd miss our Embassy Appointment to get Elias' visa. I began to panic and instantly burst into tears. Yep, that's the way I roll. Tears. When it was our turn, the not-so-lovely airline employee said simply, "We weren't able to reschedule you because today is the only day for your connecting flight to Ethiopia. There's no other way to get you there. We've cancelled your ticket. You'll just need to head home." Waaahhh!!! Serious sobbing at this point. I called my parents, bawling, woke them up and asked them to pray for us. I was just devastated. One of the other passengers asked where we were trying to go, and I choked out that our son was waiting for us to come and get him in Ethiopia, and that he had already waited long enough. Bawling, pacing, wringing my hands... none of it helpful, but it was all I could do. My dear husband, on the other hand, kept such a cool. I don't believe he could stomach the idea of having to tell me that we weren't going. He went right to work exploring other options. He ran around the airport looking at the departing boards and saw that there was another airline going to DC shortly. They were flying into Reagan, and we needed to be at National, but we would at least be in the right city! He quickly got us new tickets, checked our bags, and with a brief 10 minutes to spare, we went running through the airport to catch our new flight! Thank you, God, for my level-headed, problem-solving husband!
We arrived in Washington DC, collected all of our baggage, and hired a taxi for the 45 mile drive to National Airport. We got there just.in.time to catch our ET Air flight to Ethiopia! I don't think I started breathing again until we were in our seats, ready to depart to Addis.
The rest of our trip was, thankfully, uneventful. We arrived in Addis on time, saw our good friends, David and Job, waiting for us, and felt instantly grateful to be back. The familiar sights and sounds were so comforting. We were finally back in the same country as our son. We went to the guest house to check in, unpack and shower. David, Job, and Yonas picked us up an hour later for lunch and then it was time to head to the Transition Home to pick up Elias for our "Gotcha Day!!"