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Posts from — December 2010

To Haiti (oh I mean Miami) and back again

Wednesday morning, Dec. 8th, I headed to the airport en route to Haiti. All went fine, checked our luggage, made it through security, found our gate, ate a little coffee cake, and waited for our plane to board. We made it safely to Miami with very little layover and ran to find the nearest departure screen to see where we needed to go for our next flight. Ummmm, except the screen said…CANCELED! (as did all other flights to Haiti we noticed) I think we actually chuckled out loud because we were so confused. We found the closest American Airline counter and explained our situation to see if we could find out what was going on. Lo and behold we were told that there was rioting going on in Haiti as of that morning and all flights in and out of Port au Prince, Haiti were canceled until further notice. We were shocked to say the least. We knew we only had a small window of time to try and figure out what we should do. We were directed to a “rebooking counter” and were told that American wasn’t going to compensate at all since it wasn’t their fault. Ok, I get that…but it sure wasn’t our fault either. We definitely would not have chosen to fly to Miami and spend all day trying to figure out how to just get home! All they did for us at that counter was change our flights to a Friday flight that would probably be canceled as well. Great, that was sure helpful, huh?

From there that agent sent us to baggage claim, claiming we HAD to claim all of our luggage before we could do anything further. We had 8 heavy bags between the 4 of us, because there were a lot of donated items for the girls home that we were taking. So off to baggage claim we went, upstairs, downstairs, tram, and finally came to the baggage claim where we just HAD to get our luggage…………………but wait, our luggage was nowhere in sight. Our journey wasn’t over yet oh not even close. Off to find the main ticket counter we went. But wait, there were multiple counters…which one was the right one? We asked everyone we saw and were told different things. Each line was so long we sure didn’t want to pick the wrong line…but we did. We waited in one line for at least an hour only to be told that they couldn’t actually change our flights and directed us to the correct counter. WHAT? Oh but they were kind enough to print off a copy of our itineraries for us…of which we ALL had a copy of already. That was helpful. We laughed about that later, deciding they just wanted to act like they were doing something for us. Anyway….about 5 1/2 hours after our plane had landed in Miami we all had tickets back home. But to add fuel to the fire, we landed in Houston WITHOUT our luggage…not even one bag. I guess we should have known that would happen when the ticket agent looked at us and asked if we believed in miracles…we said yes…and he said then maybe our luggage would make it to Houston with us. Haha! Funny guy. Our luggage finally arrived on another flight.

All that to say that the situation in Haiti went from bad to worse. We were so thankful for God’s provision over our lives that day. Thankful we were not in Haiti when the political unrest began. Had we gone even a day earlier, we might have gotten stranded over there until the airport opens back up. You have to drive through Port au Prince to get to the town where the girls home is located. It has caused the cholera situation to get even worse because people can’t make it to the hospital because of blocked roads. Hospitals are also understaffed due to the situation. Pray for the Haitian people and for things to settle down.

One positive thing to come out of my preparations for Haiti is that our Christmas shopping is finished. I wanted all of the shopping to be done before my trip. I addressed our cards, we decorated, and are now pretty much ready for Christmas.  Good thing because I really dislike the crowds during December. I loathe them actually. If I ever had anxiety attacks, that would definitely be a culprit. I almost get hives just thinking about it. Ok, just kidding.

We received great news about our darlings in Ethiopia. Their 2nd set of medical tests came back without any major concerns. One has a slight heart murmur, but after having our pediatrician look over the echocardiogram results she is pretty confident that it is an innocent murmur and may even correct itself over time. We are so very thankful. Our documents were submitted to the courts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week. Now we are waiting to find out what our court date will be. Our agency is speculating that it could be as early as the end of February. However, we will not bring our children home on that first trip. We will go back about 6-8 weeks later for their Embassy appointments and to bring them home! Oh we long for that day….to be a family of 6.

Are you enjoying the Christmas season? We have done one of our annual traditions thus far. We typically run in Starbucks for a hot drink and then head out to find some Christmas lights. This year it was warm so we thought milkshakes were a better choice!  We toured the Dickinson Festival of Lights which included a visit with Santa. After that we drove through the surrounding neighborhoods admiring the different yards. We do this every year and it is definitely something we all look forward to! Today the children are making their gingerbread house…..ok, I always cheat and buy the kits (but they love it anyway). We will also get some cookies made.

Are we the only ones that kind of dread all the work that goes into decorating for Christmas? Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE it when all is said and done…but it is a LOT of work. However, one thing I do love is going through all of the ornaments on the tree. They are more than ornaments, they are memories. Memories of Ali as a little girl, Clark’s itty bitty hand print from several years ago,  handmade ornaments for preschool days gone by, many wonderful vacations, pictures of the children through the years, a new one this year was a beautiful ornament from our nephew’s birth country (China), some from our time in Ukraine, oh and the list goes on and on. I catch myself glancing around the trees all the time. Every year we give Ali and Clark a new ornament. It is something they look forward to when we are decorating the tree. My parents did it for my brother and me, and we have passed on the tradition. When I left home, I was able to pack up all my ornaments and have something familiar to decorate my first tree with. I wanted that for our children. We try to find an ornament that reflects their interests for that year. Ali has quite an assortment from Elvis to dancers to horses to swimmers to Converse tennis shoes! Clark’s include trucks and soccer balls. Our soon to be children have their first ornaments hanging on the mantel with their stockings. Ali chose Hello Kitty for her sister and Winnie the Pooh for her brother. One day I will shed many tears as I pack them up when they each leave home!

On Christmas Eve we (along with my parents and my brother and his family) we will be loading up and heading out. Heading out to Destin, FL! We all decided to do something different this year and spend Christmas on the beach. Like I told my sister in law, Paula, even if it’s 50 degrees….50 degrees on the beach is better than 50 degrees anywhere else! I can still enjoy the view! We are hoping for nice weather though, so all the children can enjoy the sand. Ali and Abby think they are getting in the water…I think not.

We hope you enjoy a wonderful Christ centered Christmas season! It is what our family is striving for, though it is so difficult to achieve today. We are so bombarded from every direction with the latest craze, every toy known to man, the latest and greatest electronic device, etc! We just hope we can point our children (and ourselves) to the manager in Bethlehem so many years ago. To celebrate and remember the birth of our Savior. Savor every precious moment. Make memories. Children will remember the cookies baked, the crafts made, the time shared…so much more than the gifts received.

Merry CHRISTmas friends and family!

December 11, 2010   2 Comments