I am so surprised that Toby fits perfectly into our family....I feel so thankful for so many people that have supported us this year. Here are just a few of the feelings that I am experiencing.
We started out early to get to the airport, check in our 10 bags and head home. We had an extra blessing at the start. We got to the American Airlines check in area and the line was a mile long and moving VERY slowly. Toby started getting fussy and loud so I wanted to use that to our advantage. wink I tried to go to the self check station, but it was closed. I asked an attendant if there was something we could do because our deaf baby was fussy and didn't understand why we were waiting for so long. The lady quickly brought us to the first class lane that was empty and checked us in saving us about an hour long wait. I winked at Toby and said "Thank you, Buddy for helping us out." It was definitely a blessing to not have to wait with a screaming child for an hour!
We all were SO excited to get on the plane, but we all knew how long the ride would be... This time around it was a 12 hour flight because we were going another way (Russia, Alaska, Canada, Chicago).. On the way there, we flew over the North Pole. Yeah it was pretty cool to say that you had been to the REAL North Pole a few days before Christmas. That way was 13 hours. Saving that one hour was a great thing! Toby didn't know that it was that long and he said something funny to me halfway through the trip. He said "airplane finish" and he wanted it to land. For 12 hours, he only slept less than a hour. The other 11 1/2 hours were a challenge for all of us.. We tried our best to entertain him, but wow... it was hard. I do not desire to do that ever again. When we landed in Chicago, I can't express the sheer joy that we all had. Phew!!! What a trip! A few minutes later, we had to deliver "the package" to Homeland Security where Toby would become a US citizen. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed so I don't have one of those to share, but just know that I can't express to you the joy and satisfaction I felt when the officer said "You are done." The family picture below was taken as soon as we left the Homeland Security office. (: Captain America has finally arrived in America. (I was saving those underwear just for today..haha)
We met a great Chicago friend, David, at the airport. It was so nice of him to come to the airport. I felt bad that we were SO tired and we were not ourselves, but it was sure good to see him. Toby was wide awake and really interacted with him. That was special for all of us.
Our short 47 min flight to Dayton from Chicago was a time of reflection for me. All the feelings that I had posted above were all hitting me at once. I couldn't believe that we were almost home. Toby finally fell asleep at this point and could not be woken up. He was out cold. We got off the plane exhausted but delighted to be in Dayton. When we crossed the security section, we saw something so unexpected..... A HUGE crowd of family and friends with signs, balloons, flowers, gifts and smiles. We were all so taken back by the love and support that we all "lost it". The emotions were too much to hold in and when I hugged my brother and sister in law, I just couldn't let go. I had missed my family and friends so much and I still tear up thinking about that moment that will be etched in my mind forever. Unfortunately, Toby was out and I was so disappointed for him that he did see all that love pouring over us. I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone that came to the airport. That meant more to us than you will ever know. It was so thoughtful and it was the best way to end our epic adventure. I also want to say thank you for all of the little gifts for Toby (he can't stop playing with them), the roses (gorgeous), balloons (boy did he love those), signs,(Loved the kids holding them all) a ride home (Thank you Rohrers) decorations at our house,(Good job Meslohs) tears of joy, and hugs. I also want to say a big thank you to my sister in law and brother, Rachel and Matt, who came from Columbus, made us dinner and dessert and gave us a few groceries to start out week. That was SO thoughtful and touching to all of us.
So now the real adventure begins... on December 9, we were just a family of five and today on December 28, we are a family of six. We are the parents of 4 beautiful children.. gifts from God. Three are biological children and one adopted child, but all four are loved the same. Words can't express how we truly feel on this day.. Thank you for being a spectator on our journey. All I can say is we love you and as far as the journey ...."To be Continued......"