When titling this post, I realized that I didn’t begin numbering the days of our journey until we actually landed in Ghana. Hmmm. Oh well. If you prefer to think of this post as days 12-13, be my guest. I’m too tired to go back and re-number each post from the last 2 weeks.
Friday was one of the longest, most difficult days I have EVER endured (and I say that after spending 47 hours in labor with my first born). The day began like the one before…with breakfast on the hotel patio. It was the hottest day we had experienced during our stay, with highs reaching near 90 with ~95% humidity. I had packed our bags the night before while the children slept, so as not to upset them. After breakfast we walked to the local basket vendor for a few more gifts. Mind you, I had bought several items from this woman the day before, so I knew what she was willing to take on certain items. This day, however, she had decided she didn’t want my money. She was not willing to budge on her price and it was FAR too high for the items I wanted. I was disappointed, but have the benefit of knowing I will be returning to Ghana to bring our kids home, so I can go to a full market for a day and buy all the souvenirs and gifts I wasn’t able to get this time. My apologies to those who have to wait. I didn’t even get anything for myself! Just a few little things for the girls.
After our unsuccessful trek to the basket lady, we headed back to the hotel for some quality time with the kids before their caretaker from the orphanage, Jeannette, came for them. We played with balloons and a beach ball, snuggled, skyped with Ivy & Mya, and watched VeggieTales. Oh how those two love VeggieTales! It cracks me up watching Cora sing along with the songs. Too cute I tell you!
Both Liam & Cora were asleep when P & Jeannette arrived, but they said there was no hurry and they just waited on the patio, talking, until the kids woke from their naps. When we took the children outside, they became shy & sullen. They knew. They were not happy. Either was I, but I tried my best to put on a brave face for them. I was able to stave off the tears until their taxi pulled away (at which point I crumbled). I hurt so badly. I never want them to have to spend another day in an institution! I ache for them to be home, HERE, with us.
We got into P’s car to head to the airport. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 9:30 pm, so we needed to be at the airport no later than 6:30. Traffic was worse than usual and we didn’t make it to the airport until about 6:45pm. We made our way through the initial Delta security area, checked our bags & proceeded through the standard airport security. As the technology in American airports (full body scanners) haven’t made their way to Ghana yet, each and every person goes through the old-school metal detectors then gets a full pat-down. So thankful Michelle had given me a heads up on that…as I am VERY uncomfortable with strangers touching me! Once we cleared security we grabbed something to drink & a snack and proceeded to our gate. Because it’s an international flight we are supposed to be at our gate no later than 2 hours before departure.
SURPRISE! Delta requires you to go through yet another baggage search (after clearing airport security) AND another pat-down! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! To top it off, they confiscated the UNOPENED bottle of water & can of Fanta we had JUST purchased, telling us we could not even have them at the gate!
Now, I’ve already had a rough day…and then they confiscate my water (that was still sealed & I had the receipt to prove it was purchased AFTER security in the airport)…then we find seats in the gate area (locked down, no restroom, no beverages, NOTHING)…and our flight was 2.5 hours late!!! SO we sat…with no hydration…in Africa…in an airport gate area…for over 4 hours before finally boarding our plane. It was midnight before we took off, and then there was a slight time lapse before “dinner” was served.
Ahhh…dinner. I was so looking forward to something American on this long flight home. Unfortunately the beef I was served was so spicy I took 1 bite and couldn’t take another! So I ate the rice it was served with, drank my tiny cup of Coke, and wanted to watch a movie and go to sleep. Joke was on me! My television monitor didn’t work!!! When it was turned on, only a bright white screen appeared. No sound…no picture…NOTHING. I honestly began to weep. I was so broken. My wonderful hubby was willing to let me cuddle with him & share his headphones to watch Z**keeper, but he was sound asleep before the movie ended & I couldn’t get to the controller to watch anything else. On the 11-12 hour flight to Atlanta, I sat in my seat, unable to get comfortable, unable to watch any shows or even listen to music (my mp3 player was packed in the checked luggage accidentally), and unable to sleep. Not that I didn’t doze off occasionally, but on a red-eye transatlantic flight, it would have been nice to get more than a combined 2 hours of rest.
Once we finally arrived in Atlanta (2 hours late), I was SO thankful I had thought to plan for delays and scheduled a 5 hours layover…which, after flight delays and immigration/customs, was only about 2 hours. Plenty of time to grab breakfast before finding our gate for the final leg of our journey. Fast food has never tasted so good!!! Seriously, the highlight of our trip home was getting to have Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. Oh how I love Chick-Fil-A!!! mmmmmmmmmmm
We were back in the good ol’ USA. It was bittersweet. I was super excited to get home & hug Ivy & Mya…but I was so sad for having to leave Liam & Cora in Ghana. As we waiting for our flight to board, the announcement was made…our flight to Buffalo, like EVERY other flight on this trip, was DELAYED.
I have never felt so deflated in all my life. I am still…almost 2 days later…exhausted. Physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted.
I’m jet-lagged and still operating on Ghana-time. I am thrilled to be holding my girls and sleeping in my own bed…but my heart is broken for my children who are sleeping in an orphanage tonight. Praying the Father of compassion and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) holds Liam & Cora in His almighty hands until I can hold them in mine once again.