Saturday, October 2, 2010

Coming Home

2:30 AM, waiting for Niko to pick us up

America has never felt so sweet, nor home so precious.  Simple pleasures like toasters and bathtubs and rocking chairs have brought great comfort to three weary travelers.  We are so grateful to be home.  Jetlag still plagues us, and we're still suffering the aftereffects of culture shock, but we are doing well considering everything we have been through over the last 3 months.

Poor Aaron was so confused the day we left for America. He knew we were going on an airplane, but no one told him about the lines: lines for boarding passes, lines for passport control, lines for security checks, lines to board the plane. He waited with us patiently, but his distress increased as time wore on. By the time we reached the ticket counter after a solid hour of waiting, his eyes were beginning to leak tears. We didn't know how to comfort him, but we signed to him that we were indeed going to get on an airplane.

If you're an old hand at air travel, as we now are, you know that your best bet is to get your boarding passes for each leg of your flight at the first ticket counter. That way you know you have a seat on every flight, and you don't have to stand in line again for more boarding passes. We got our first boarding passes, but our second and final flight was overbooked by 21 passengers. There were no boarding passes available for our second flight. After everything that had gone wrong for us on this trip, we were virtually certain that we would get bumped and have to spend one more night away from home, this time in Frankfurt.

Aaron happily danced his way out of the ticket line, thinking we were going straight to the airplane.  His hopes were dashed again when we entered the passport control line. Again the tears began to leak out of his eyes. We could not console our little guy, who understood only that we were not fulfilling our promises. We handed over Aaron's passport, and the officer left his stall without comment, leaving us to wonder where he had gone and for what reason. At least five tense minutes passed before he returned, handed us the passports and waved us through. Aaron perked up again, only to face another disappointment as we entered the security line. When we sat down to wait for the boarding call, his disappointment was too much to bear. He fell apart, tears pouring down his face. We bought him a drink, gave him comfort foods and tried to convince him that all was not lost.  Since he could not see an airplane from where we were sitting, the child must have been convinced that we were the biggest liars he'd ever known. 

     Finally we were able to carry the child onto a real live airplane.  He was beyond happy.  The entire short flight was pure joy for him.  We could not have asked for a better behaved little boy. 

Fortunately, the overbooking problem didn't materialize, and we were able to get seats together on our next flight with just a bit of wrangling. Our sigh of relief could be heard across the ocean.  From Germany to Virginia, Aaron watched cartoons and was just as happy and content as if he had been flying his entire life.  He slept for only a few minutes on each flight, so by the time we arrived in Virginia he was fairly exhausted.  This may explain why he elected to stick out his tongue at all of the family and friends who came to greet us at the airport. This was a bit of an unexpected greeting, since we had never seen Aaron stick out his tongue before. Fortunately, everyone took it in good spirits. Hopefully that will be one of those memorable moments that Aaron will never be able to live down.

     After a rough first day at home, Aaron has settled down. He's even made friends with our golden retriever, Summer. We expected dog trouble because everyone in his village treated dogs like, well, dogs. Our biggest issue is finding food that he will eat without crying in frustration. He is happiest with fruit, yogurt and cucumbers, and since all of these are healthy foods, we are quite happy to oblige him. Of course if there happens to be a bit of candy or chocolate on the counter, he will happily eat it as fast as his little jaws will go!  He also thinks that cake is worthy of his attention, and he doesn't mind potato chips either.


  1. I can't tell you how happy I am. I can't even express it.

  2. Hehe Junk food is always easy to eat! LOL!! So glad things are going relatively well!! :)

  3. It's so wonderful to see him home!

    I loved reading your post with my coffee in the morning. I'm going to miss Perry.

    by the way, your dog is beautiful and she and my daughter Summer share a name :) We have a Golden named family dogs. :)

  4. Julia,
    I love your new pictures, he is so cute!! I laughed so hard at him sticking out his tongue at everyone! It will be a fun memory one day!!
    All I could think of was Raquel doing that as well. I could not get her bun on her head for ballet class (she was also speaking Spanish) and her older sister Autumn put it up. During the recital it was coming loose and all she could concentrate on was her hair, watching herself in the mirror. Everytime she danced passed us she stuck her tongue out at us!! It was halarious to us, but I am sure others did not understand.
    We are so glad you are home, we will keep you in prayer. I know he will have many adjustments and one day all of the difficult things will fade away...just keep journeling as its a joy to look back and see how much things have changed or just to have fun reflecting on it all!

  5. Whew!! So happy to see you've made it home and Aaron is officially yours! Thanks for sharing your journey, I've been glued to your blog from the beginning. We adopted from Ukraine back in 2004, we live in Florida but most of our family is in Staunton, VA!! Welcome home!!!

  6. Congrats! He is so precious! Oh man I want to cry sometimes standing in those lines too :) LOL.

    What a great pic!

  7. What an angel. :) I don't think I've ever been so happy for people that I don't even know!

  8. I am so happy that you guys are all home now. I don't know why I can't make the tears stop, but as soon as I saw the shirt that he's wearing in the first photo they started. It's as if we can all finally breath deeply now that you are all HOME.

    Although I am a little stressed about coming home with a 6 year old now, as I will have my 4 year old with, and no husband (he's heading home after court, and we will be staying the whole time).

  9. A boy and his dog. Such a beautiful moment : )

  10. Welcome home! Isabel subsisted on bananas, yogurt and crackers for a few weeks. There are so many adjustments more important than food though, so we didn't worry about it too much! Be glad you live on the East coast and didn't require a third long flight like we did!

  11. SO GOOD to see you finally HOME!! Yes, those first few days can be utterly exhausting, but each day will get easier than the one before. Nice to see he took to your dog so nicely! (Goldens are the best!)


  12. Yes, your home! I can't wait to tell my 10 year old daughter Journey, who asks me every Aaron home yet? Now I can say yes!

    I can't imgaine how nice it is to sleep in your own bed again.

    We will keep praying for this time of transition.

  13. He's so sweet. I'm glad ya'll made it home, finally!
    As I was reading about him getting upset waiting to get on an airplane, I was thinking about what his little mind was thinking, and how terrifying it must be to someone so young leaving his country, friends, everything he has ever known. But, then you said he was so happy all the way home, it gave me relief to know he was not terrified like I was thinking.
    I was a nanny for a little girl with arthrogryposis, that is what Aaron has, right? Anyway, she is the sweetest little girl, she is 11 now, and so smart. She loves life to the fullest. She is one of my favorite people.
    I hope that Aaron will be like her, in that he will get all that he wants out of life.

  14. Praising God you are all home safe and sound. Many blessings to you all!

    Amy <><

    PS...I meant to send your boys a carepackage an time for away from me. I am so sorry!

  15. My son when he first came home would only eat yogurt, apples and turkey. He wouldn't touch oatmeal with a six foot pole.

    Congratulations to you and your family.

  16. There is nothing better than coming home at the end of a long journey and being surrounded by the ones you love ( including the furry four legged friends)! :) I am so happy for you! Aaron looks very happy and I bet you all are enjoying being together as a family.

    I just wanted you to know that I have been following your journey since this summer, and I have been praying for your family. My kids reminded me every night to say a special prayer for your boys who were at home in the U.S. while you were in the Ukraine. Your family will continue to be in our prayers.
    You have been a special blessing and encouragement to our family.

  17. Such a sweet picture of Aaron and the dog!
    So glad you are home! We'll keep praying for your smooth transition!

  18. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful! I am just a lurker but am reading each day's entry with a HUGE smile on my face. WELCOME HOME!

  19. What a sweet picture! He sure looks happy in that airplane! Those lines are so scary in Ukraine. We thought after our first wait we were home free, only to find a second one...UGH....
    Erika got scared in Paris when they were demanding she remove her braces for a security check. She was terrified to have them removed, so I refused. She was crying and they sent cops over to do the magic wand thing to make sure she was not planning to blow up our plane. I was pretty mad at the frech that day, but we all made it through.

    When we arrived, she said, "Erika America!"

  20. I must be wonderful to finally be home as a complete family!! I'm so happy your adoption adventure has come to an end and now you move forward with life with your three sons :-)

  21. Dear Julia,

    with our son recently adopted from UA every food works if we serve it together with yoghurt (this goes for cereal, potatoes, any vegetables, fruit....). We have to start with plain yoghurt first (the non sugared, non flavoured one) and can then pour it over the other ingredients :-)

    Maybe this will work for you too.


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