"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ethiopia - Trip Two - Day Six - Flight Home

With mixed feelings, we arrive at Bole International Airport.  Mixed feelings of excitement that we are that much closer to going home with our daughter to sadness that we are leaving Ethiopia, the people we met, and the birth country of our daughter.  We had such a wonderful time while in Ethiopia but then again, thinking of what was waiting for us in 24 hours back at home was just as exciting.

As we arrive at the airport we drive into the parking lot and unload all of our luggage.  Once we are unloaded we head up to the airport but have to go through the police check-in.  At this booth, they check peoples passport.  It's a quick check but some level of a security check for them.
Once we pass the security check, we head up to the airport.  Through the front door and right into the x-ray machine line.  All our luggage is placed on the belt and viewed and we go through the metal detector.  After that, we head across the room and right into the line where we check our luggage onto our flight.
Here Adam holds a container of dental floss.  Back home, our dentist office has a world map on their wall and if you hold some sort of dental supply, they will post the picture with where you visited.  Now they will have a picture of someone visiting Ethiopia! 
Seble's first airplane ticket.
After checking in our luggage, we take our carry-ons and head over to the Immigration table where we have to fill out the Immigration index card for each of us. 
Seble wakes from her nap and takes in all the new sights.
After filling that out, we head to the Immigration booth where the card is checked with our passport and our tickets.  Our passports are stamped and we are now officially "in" the airport. 
As mentioned in the sign, we DEFINITELY loved Africa!

We head up the escalator to our gate.  We arrived pretty early to the airport.  One reason was because we had to be out of our hotel room by 4pm.  After that, we had all of our luggage and really nothing else to do but go to the airport.  We thought we would go early since we heard there were shops in the airport and we could look around before boarding.  On our first trip, we did not have any time to do this.  After the coffee ceremony in the hotel lobby for us, we headed to the airport arriving about 5:30pm.  We don't board our flight until 9:30pm so we had PLENTY of time to just finally relax and look around.  It was nice for a change rather than being all rushed at the airport.
It was feeding time for Seble.
A view of the stores.  It reminded us of a mini-mall.  To the left of the picture was another long hallway like one pictured.  One side of that hallway is where all the gates were located.  Across the hallway were restaurants and stores.  Then you get to the end and pass over to this hallway.  Both sides of this hallway were more stores.  We just took our time and wandered through each store just to see the things they sell or how they set up the shelves.  Kind of comparing to how it's done back home. It was pretty empty people wise but as it became closer to boarding time, the hallways sure filled up.
This particular store had nothing but entire shelves filled with the same bag of candy all lined up.  The next isle, the same thing with another bag of candy.  We figured it must be popular sellers or they are only trying to fill in all the dead space......otherwise someone made an order mistake. :-)
Anything but Duty Free :-)
Within the hallways of the mall, they had prayer rooms but it was one room for males and one room for females.  Not sure why they have to be separated but they were.
The crowds began to get bigger so we thought it was time to sit next to our gate and wait.  It was fun just to relax and people watch too.  It was very interesting to think where everyone was going since tonight was Christmas Eve in Ethiopia.  We were planned to board at 9:30pm so we would not be in Ethiopia for Christmas.  We were bummed as it would have been fun to say we were in Ethiopia for Christmas. O'well.

It was check-in time.  This is where we waited in another line just outside our gate but all the people waiting were going to be on the plane.  We all were going to America.  The first guy checked our tickets and then placed a colored sticker on our tickets.  Ethiopian Airlines has a loading routine regarding the colored stickers they place on the tickets.  The stickers are the colors of their planes and load in order by the colors. 

After getting our color sticker, we proceed through yet another metal detector.  After that, we are in what looked more like a holding tank.  There was a huge wall of glass that separated us from the mall hallway and rows of chairs that we sit in waiting to board the plane.  Once you are in, you are in.  If you left, you would have to go through the whole check-in and metal detector process all over again.  As we wait in our chairs, Seble holds her own passport/visa until we hear that it's time to board the plane. 
This is inside our "holding room" as we wait to hear that it's time to board.  The black frame in the back of the picture is the wall of glass separating us from the rest of the airport in the mall.

We were suppose to be flying out about 10:00pm but every time we looked out the window, the plane was not sitting on the tarmac.  Our flight was delayed and they extended our boarding time an hour.  We kept thinking we just might be in Ethiopia for Christmas. 

The next announcement was that our flight was delayed again and we would not be loading for another hour.  The flight coming in is behind schedule.  We should have known this as when we flew into Ethiopia a week ago, our flight was 2 1/2 hours late coming in.  Being on the new Boeing 777, non-stop flight from Dulles Washington USA to Ethiopia, Africa, we just figured that they don't have the times down right and are still ironing out the schedule.  Apparently they must still be ironing out the flight plan because the plane we were waiting on was the Boeing 777, non-stop fight coming from Dulles Washington USA.  
This is the sign that Ethiopian Airlines follow when boarding passengers.  A green sticker is for elderly, people needing assistance, and people with young kids/babies.  Thanks to Seble, we get to board first. 
It was officially time to board our flight home.  We finally started boarding about 11:45pm. It looks like we did get to end up celebrating Christmas in Ethiopia at Bole International Airport IN the airplane.  We flew home with the Morrills which was fun.  We used Candy with Reach One as our travel agent for both trips.  She was great and we never had any issues with either of our trips.  We would definitely recommend her to anyone.  We can give more details if you are interested. 

Anyway, for the flight home, the plane was packed.  When we looked at our tickets Candy had booked us with an empty seat between us which we thought was weird because we wanted to sit together but she definitely knew what she was doing.  If you think about it, most people don't want to sit in the middle unless they really have to and are flying solo.  IF someone had the ticket for the middle seat, we would then just ask if they would like the isle seat and trade so Amber and I could sit next to each other with Seble.  Seble had a lap ticket meaning she just rides on one of our laps.  Well, the gamble paid off for us.  We did not have anyone purchase the seat between us so we were able to give Seble her own seat for a lap seat price. :-)  Thanks Candy!!  It was very useful through-out the flight as we were able to lay her down to sleep and it gave us extra room to eat ect..  We didn't fly out until about 12:45am. 
The back of each seat had a television where we were able to plug in headphones and listen to music, select a movie from the movie lists, track where our flight is in relation to outside, and what the temperature is outside and the speed we were going. 
Seble being a big girl!
Seble is ready for some shut-eye with her blind fold and music listening with her headphones.
And out she goes!  (just kidding-it was just for a picture)
Now Seble AND mom are out
Here we are utilizing the extra middle seat for Seble so she can lay down and give our arms a rest.
Seble, looking all grown-up
Dinner time or was it lunch or breakfast.  They fed us so much and with the time changing, you kind of forget what meal it was.  Here Seble was sitting in her seat playing and watching a movie.
After changing Seble's diaper for the umpteenth time, a stewardess handed Seble a kids book from the airplane, a coloring book and color crayons.  It was very sweet.  So here is Seble looking at the books pictures with mom.
After leaving Addis, we had to re-fuel in Rome and then continued onto Dulles International Airport.  Here Seble is changed into her clothes for the lay-over in Dulles.  Out of the 11 hour flight, her diaper was changed a total of 8 times.  She definitely kept going and going like the energizer bunny.  She did VERY well with the over all flight.  She cried when she was hungry, which we just kept feeding her, when she was poopy, which we kept changing her which also allowed us to get up and move around, and then when she was tired.  When she was tired, that was the hardest because Amber just had to hold her and console her.  There was 1 or 2 times she was so tired we felt bad for others around listening to her cry.  Other than that, compared to the family of kids behind us, they put on such a bigger show than Seble EVER did. :-)
We arrived at Dulles International Airport, USA, Friday, January 7th at 6:45am.  It was so nice to be back in America and on solid ground.  On International flights, at least on the Ethiopian flights we were on, once the plane lands, the whole plane bursts into clapping.

Because of 9/11, we know being able to see the cockpit and/or get a picture with the pilot would be next to nil but as we were exiting the plane, Amber noticed the pilot coming down through the first class sections.  She asked one of the stewardesses if Seble could get a picture with him which she said absolutely.  Amber handed Seble to the pilot who was so nice.  We were happy to get that chance but didn't realize how cool this picture and meeting would really mean to us until we were home for a few weeks and Amber found something on-line.  

The pilot of our plane was the pilot of the most deadliest hi-jacking in aviation history prior to 9/11.  Back then, the cockpits were not separated from the passengers where as now, they are double locked and always watched by a stewardess.  Back then, 3 hi-jackers forced their way into the cockpit and took the plane hostage and flew the plane out of fuel until the pilot had to land the plane in the water just off the beach of an island.  It would have been a beautiful landing if the one engine didn't snag a coral reef just below the water level which catapulted the plane up and broke it apart.  Anyway, he was the pilot of that plane and Amber found the interview on-line which she posted on our blog page earlier.  It was really sad but neat to hear him talk about the whole situation and how he is STILL flying.  Amazing.
As we were exiting our plane we walked past the passengers that were getting ready to board our plan to head back to Ethiopia.  As we were walking out, we ran into the Coopers as they were heading over to pick-up their baby girl.  It was fun to actually meet face to face even though there was a glass wall separating us. 

As we are on the shuttle heading toward customs, here is a picture of our plane we just spent 11 hours on.
Welcome to Dulles International Airport. Seble is officially a US citizen as we just went through customs!
United Airlines plane coming in.  Shortly we will be on one, heading to San Fransisco.
As we were backing out of the airport, we saw our Ethiopian plane heading toward the runway.  We were just behind it.  The Coopers were on it heading toward Ethiopia.
The Coopers plane accelerating down the runway.
And off they go to Ethiopia.  We are next to take off!
View of Dulles International Airport just as we lifted off from the ground.
The front of the airport.
Seble and mommy taking a nap on United Airlines en route to San Fransisco.
What a different feeling in this plane compared to the jumbo one we were just on.
San Fransisco bay area.  Descending as we are getting ready to land.
We had a shorter lay over but still a lay over.  We were then ready to get on a pretty small plane.  We went from a jumbo Boeing 777 to a middle plane to a small plane, but this will be our last flight then we will be HOME!!!  We got onto the plane and settled in.  Since this plane did not have any TVs, the stewardess had to act out all the safety rules and precautions and where all the emergency exits were.  It was kind of fun and funny to watch.  Much different than the videos we've been watching.  I bet more people actually pay attention more when it is acted out than the videos.

We then started backing up away from the airport.  We backed all the way up and then stopped.  We were just sitting there when the pilot came on over the intercom.  He said that San Fransisco just had an earthquake which is why we are sitting.  He said that the airport has emergency vehicles driving up and down the runways to make sure there are no cracks or major holes that would swallow us up as we take off.  We all laughed and a short 10 minutes later, we were taxiing down the runway getting ready to take off.

We were running about 45 minutes behind but our pilot made up some good time and actually got us to Portland International Airport early.  It was a good flight.  Being a small plane, we actually parked at the end of the building at PDX and exited the plane onto the tarmac and walked into the building.  It was different.  But we finally arrived in Oregon.  It was so nice to be home again including seeing the rain!  We couldn't wait to see our kids again who were waiting for us in the airport.

We grabbed all our carry-ons and walked into the building, hit the restrooms, took a few pictures and headed to see family and friends.  Here Seble is with Grandma Karen!
Amber and Seble Stutzman saying bye to Angela and Isabella Morrill just before heading out the gate to see family.
Our adoption "journey" has physically ended with the whole physical process of getting her home but it really only begins as we get ready to introduce Seble to family and friends.  A new chapter of the whole adoption process begins in less than 5 minutes. 
Seble, get ready to meet your immediate and extended family and friends!!!

3 comments:

  1. Just wonderful pictures!

    Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again (Luke 7:4, 30)

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    Let's give a helping hand to each other. And someday we will also be able to give a dollar to the poor in our turn. Thank you very much! Be happy!
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    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved this post!! So many great pictures of things I totally forgot to capture like all of the things in the airport and the plane, and Dulles and customs. May have to steal a few when I capture our trip for his lifebook. We were so shell shocked traveling with our new 4 year old, plus our 3 bio kids ... survival was the word of the day. Hoping to meet you all some day. We're just off I-5 ... south of Portland a bit.

    ReplyDelete
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Our Airport Homecoming for our 2nd Adoption~

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Our Journey up to our Referral

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Seble's Referral Video

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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely

LUCY LANE-AGCI-ADOPTION VIDEO! This inspired us to follow our dream!

WHY WOULDN'T I....WHY WOULDN'T YOU?

What Adoption is About! What a Testimony! Lundy's Adoption

We Love this family and this video is inspiring!

HANNAH'S HOPE ETHIOPIA

FATHER, BREAK OUR HEARTS FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS~

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