Saturday, April 2, 2011

the trip home

we have now been home exactly 2 weeks and i can hardly believe it!!! in some ways it seems that we just stepped off the plane and in others it feels like our little "natty greer" has been with us forever! i have lots to update on life since coming home, but i don't want to get ahead of myself, so first things first...i will tell you guys about our trip home.

we left ethiopia on friday, march 18th for our long flight home. it was a hard day, and especially hard because we had to say goodbye to some dear friends and the wonderful caregivers of our son. despite being so happy to finally bring greer home and start our life together, i still cried on and off a good part of the day. i cannot put to words how grateful i am for all the love, attention, and adoration the staff of the west sands transition home gave natty greer during the 13 weeks he lived there. i don't think there is one person there that didn't know his name and dote on him every time they saw him. here are just a few of those who loved our boy so well:

natty's beloved mimi

sweet aster, who definitely had me crying the hardest!!

nurse hanna {who's known natty since he was first admitted to the orphanage} and jemma fikre

and last but not least, selam

also, here is a group shot of all the arise for children families that were in ethiopia with us bringing home kiddos:
i love that now 6 former orphans have families to call there own. plus, all these kiddos are in the same city as us so i see many play dates in our future!!

our flight left around 10:00 p.m. so we headed out in time to get to the airport a little before 6:00 p.m. so that we could ensure that we'd get a bassinet on the plane for greer. however, despite being towards the front of the line when ethiopian air opened, we were told that all the bassinets on the flight were taken. this initially freaked us out but we quickly resolved that everything would be alright because the guy checking us in told us that we had a row to ourselves so that greer could lay in the middle. the wait in the airport went pretty quickly and it was fun to get to finally have our little greer to ourselves. up until that time, he had still been mainly under the care of his nannies at the transition home so we were trying to prepare ourselves for our first night as a family of 3 to be spent on a 17 hour plane ride :)

once the plane started boarding, we were pretty nervous about how the next several hours would go but we were ready to get the flight over with. however, our nerves hit an all time high when we got on the plane and realized that the flight was full and we didn't have a row to ourselves as we had been initially told. i honestly started to panic a bit thinking about having to travel all that way with a pretty active and at times, unhappy toddler on our hands, and not much room. thinking quick on his feet, ryan went back to the nearest bulkhead area on the plane and asked if anyone would be willing to switch one of us seats so that we could sit there and use a bassinet for our son. by only the grace of God, two very nice ethiopian gentlemen volunteered their great seats so that ryan and i could switch them. i was so relieved that i almost cried!! one seat with the bassinet would have been awesome, but two seats together was more than we were even hoping for!!!

thankfully, with our new seats and bassinet ready for greer to sleep in, the rest of the trip was pretty easy. greer was a champ and slept the entire first 6+ hours to rome without interruption, drank a bottle and played for a few minutes during our stopover in rome, and then went back to sleep for another 3 or 4 hours after rome. although he definitely had his moments, overall the flight was easier than we were expecting and the people around us were very gracious when our little guy had a hard time. when we hit US soil in washington d.c., we were ecstatic! i may or may not have even shed a tear or two :) we were soooo glad to be off that plane and we were also pumped that our little guy was officially a US citizen!

the rest of the trip home was pretty much a blur. we had to fly from d.c. to chicago, and then chicago to louisville still that day. in d.c. we began to panic again because the airline couldn't find our flight reservations at first but thankfully they worked it out! greer was still a trooper but i definitely think the short flights were more challenging than the long one. i guess that is to be expected though because we had been traveling for over a day by that point so i know he was exhausted! plus, i think americans are generally less understanding of screaming babies...

it was so exciting when we arrived in louisville and knew that our little man was finally going to meet so many people who helped bring him home, prayed for our family over the last year, or were about to become his forever family. i don't think he had a clue what was going on but it was so awesome to have so many close friends and family members celebrating our little guy's homecoming. after the airport, our parents came back to our house with some wonderful american takeout and they got to see their first real glimpse of mr. personality :) i know he was running on fumes because ryan and i both were, but you'd never know it! he was his super smiley and typically singing self, and we were happy that our parents got to see it before we all headed to catch up on some necessary sleep.

while the trip was pretty easy and we couldn't have asked for a more cooperative toddler to travel with, i'm glad that we don't have to do that again!!! to end our day of travel, here's a few pictures of our little guy's first bath experience at home that night:




6 comments:

Barry and Amy said...

That is so awesome!

What precious pictures!

Welcome home sweet Natty Greer!

Stunning- said...

Congrats - it's so great he's finally here!!! You must be over the moon - thank you so much for sharing your story!

Meliski said...

There you are! I have been SOOO EXCITED for an update! Love the info and the pics of your beautiful son. I laughed to myself as we have that same frog for the tub, the fireman ducky AND that towel! Actually, the fireman ducky was chewed to pieces by our big furry terror of a dog, but we USED to have it! Be careful, that frog has to be stuck VERY tight to the wall-- and redone every month or so. It has fallen on Corban once and fallen in the middle of the night once causing a HUGE crash and scaring the pants off of us!

But anyway, thanks for the update and welcome home!

ARMSTRONG ADVENTURES said...

Ok...I am crying now. Let's play together soon.

jody said...

woop woop!!!! I'm so glad that Natty is finally home and with his forever family. PTL! Can't wait to meet him!

Love you guys!

The Moore Family said...

Even though we hung out and I heard the beginning of this story, I was so happy to get to read all of it here! (Babies interrupt everything don't they!) Such a sweet story and I'm so glad God provided that seat with a bassinet! YAY! You all seem to be adjusting so well... we are praying for you guys! See you soon, friend!