At present time, I’m lacking pictures of our homecoming both at the airport, at home, as well as during the trip.  It’s 4:32 am I’ve been up for an hour after only sleeping for almost 2.  So glad Dan is off ‘til Thursday!

Mayah was a rockstar from beginning to end of our traveling!  She went to bed our third night together without really rocking herself  to sleep. It was almost 9:30pm.  At 1 am I was awake and ready to get the heck out of there!  So at 2:30 I woke up Mayah and we waited to Nicolai to pick us up.  He called at 3:05 and he was waiting for us downstairs.

We got to the airport in what should have been plenty of time.  HOWEVER. we waited in the slowest check-in line ever!  AND when we got to our turn, we found out we couldn’t take our originally planned flights.  Our agent had routed us to PIT via Toronto, though my passport was good enough for me to get through Canada, that wasn’t the case for Mayah.

The clock was ticking.  The lady at the counter asked me to take my bags back off the conveyer belt and “wait over there.” 


I’ll get into more “things” later; however, the only thing I can say now is I have never absolutely never felt more abandoned by God than I did in my last week in Ukraine.  Especially  the last leg of the journey home. 

Did God abandon me?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Yet my flesh screamed otherwise.  What a battle.

Finally, the woman says we will go to Frankfurt, then Philadelphia, then PIT!  Just 2 hours later than planned.  Whew!  Yet, I had no idea how I was going to contact Dan and let him know of the changes. 

More problems arose, Mayah’s first boarding pass was printed and mine had to be handwritted.  I had to double back to the Lufthansa service center at the entrance of the airport to get an itinerary from the grumpy lady at the window.  Mayah and I ran!!

Then the line for security was crazy long, and if you’ve been to Ukraine you know working efficiently don’t go together.  Wonderful people let me skip ahead of all of them, seeing my desperation to make the flight.  THANK YOU, KIND PEOPLE!

THEN we had to go through border control or something of the like.  Another long line.  I was told again, to ask in the front to skip line.  One man told me no.  “you’re not going to let me go even though I’m going to miss my flight with my daughter?”  He nodded his head no.  Thankfully the man behind him let us goWinking smile  THANK YOU KIND MAN!!

Of course, border control man wanted to see adoption documents, yet I had no idea which ones, so I just piled them on.  He took his grand old time.  I imagine he stopped for coffee along the way back to us.  FINALLY he said we could go and we RAN as fast as we could down to our gate. 

They hadn’t even started boarding. 

Probably the only time their lack of working efficiently benefitted usWinking smile

I talked to a nice American man who knew I was a believer after telling Jesus thank you so many times for allowing us to get this flight. 

He was on his third trip home, childless.  On the 10th day of the appeal period, the inspector in their son’s region appealed.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!  It’s a long story, but he and his wife have been trying to complete this adoption for a year now and it’s been moved well into the new year for the appeal period.  Please say a prayer for them??

We made it to Germany for our 7 hour layover.  But by the time we passed through security and what-not it was more like 5.5 hours.  This time, we took our time getting to our gate.

At about 10am I went up to the Lufthansa counter to get our new boarding passes.  The girl asked me to wait until she was done with people on the currently flight.  When I returned, she clicked away and told me she couldn’t help us and we needed to go to their service desk.

Why was I not surprised?

At the service desk:  2 or 3 reps helping, 1 bottle of water and 1 candy bar (for Mayah) and 45 minutes later, we had new boarding passes!

For the remainder, we sat, we walked, we sat, we walked, she read the newspaper, magazines, and played with her mosiac toy.  An absolute blessing to have her as my travel companion! 

Once they opened the counter for our flight we returned to line.  I knew better  than to assume our boarding passes would be perfect without checking. I wasn’t surprised when the girl was clicking away…but she was just getting us official seats next  to each other!  “you’re boarding passes are fine, I’m just trying to find you seats together so you don’t have to do it when you board.” 


We sat back down, she came to us later and gave us new boarding passes.  She also returned again for new boarding passes for our flight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh!

Mayah rocked it on the flight across the ocean.  She watched a few movies, and finally with 3 hours to go, she started to cry and fell asleep.  She wasn’t a happy camper when I had to wake her up to put her shoes on.  When we landed in the US!!!  (hooray!) we hit customs, the man was nice and walked me through everything I needed to do.

What I didn’t know, was at this area people who weren’t allowed to come into the country, didn’t have proper paperwork, illegal aliens were also sent here.   The man told me I’d be waiting a while. 

Joy.  Wait?  Why didn’t I think of that.

Mayah was miserable by this time and all she wanted to do was sleep.  After waiting for an hour she was able to nap here and there.  They finally called our names, gave us our stuff back, and off we were to find our luggage.

it took a while, since ours was already cleared off the conveyer, but we found the 2 bags…I lugged the bags yelling at Mayah to stay with me.  I wasn’t able to hold her hand and if she’s not looking right at me, I have to yell her name for her to realize I’m talking to her. 

Baggage rechecked!  Now onto security.  Another line.

I didn’t feel pressed for time so we waited with a bit more patience.

We breezed through security and we hauled off to our gate…which happened to be the farthest gate away…

Of course.

Mayah was completely exhausted and NOT HAPPY about having to wait some more.

I was able to call Dan while at the gate.  The older 2 boys wanted to talk to me, he said they were so excited to be on their way to the airport. 

We had no boarding problems for our last flight!!  We were seated together at the very back of the plane.

Perfect.  Who wants to sit at the front of the plane when you can sit allll the way in the back after traveling for longer than a day with a new child and all you want to do is lay eyes on the 3 little boys you haven’t seen in over 40 days? 

Me.  That’s who.

The flight attendant doted on Mayah and gave us  a huge bag of goodies for her to take home to her brothers. 

Mayah returned the good deed by barfing 10 minutes before we landed.

She was simply so exhausted.  My poor girl.  She looked so miserable.

Yet when we were getting off the plane she immediately perked back up.  I think even she knew that was our last flight. 

I saw Dan and the boys waving the American Flag…I yelled to mayah, “Papa!” and we ran!  She went right to Dan and let him hug her.  I just dropped to my knees opening my arms to any boy who wanted to jump in them.  They were so excited to see their sister…and their Mama they kept going back and forth between us.

My mother in law, Dan the boys and my sweet friend Jenn Wells and her friend Steph met us at the airport.  They even brought her presents!  The kids played together like they’ve always known each other and I just watched and cried. 

Steph and Jenn were wonderful to have as shoulders to cry on.  They knew my heart was overwhelmed with so much of everything.  Incredibly comforting they were to have welcoming us. 

We finally made it to the van, Dan got all 4 kids in their seats while I just stood by taking it all in.  My emotions were on complete overrive.  I have never been to physically and more importantly spiritually tested and drained as I was at that moment.  (More on that later)

We made a few stops on the way home with dinner for Mayah, bathroom breaks for 2 of us and I have no idea what time we got home…but 3 kids were sleepingWinking smile  In about 10 minutes 4 kids were awake and running through the house!  We most certainly didn’t rush bedtime.

Alexander wanted to see his sister the whole way home.  They were supposed to be seated next to each other, but she was too tall for one carseat so she and David had to switch.  The kids played together until 11 something and we finally got them all settled.

Mayah took a bit to get to sleep.  But it’s 5:08 am and she’s still sleeping in her new bed in her own room.  David slept in our bed, Gage in his crib, and Alexander in his bed. 

Everyone else is still sleeping.  We’ll see how they all do this morning before we made the decision to head to church or not.

Stay tunedWinking smile

I’m so incredibly thankful to be back in my home with my family of 6!!

Thank you for your prayers.


5 responses »

  1. Hi Tammy!
    It sounds like you two had an interesting time getting to America BUT PRAISE JESUS you MADE it!! I’m SO thankful to hear that the boys have adjusted well as did Mayah! That’s GREAT to hear that she slept in her own bed in her own room! I’m glad to hear that they all got to see each other and play, etc! I hope you got to make it to church! If not, don’t stress there’s always next Sunday! Just enjoy your beautiful family that GOD has given to you! Praise Jesus for His wonderful gifts! This is a PERFECT Christmas gift from God to ALL 6 of you! I can’t wait to see pics of everything! Thank you for sharing your experience with us! It is SO awesome to see how God works in each of our lives! God Bless all of you! We love you all and can’t WAIT to see Mayah! Enjoy the snow!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Praise God, Tammy. I am so glad you are safely home. I’m sorry about the struggle but you overcame! Praise God. Home for Christmas. Home with your family. Wonderful!

  3. Tears of absolute JOY that you are home! What a journey, friend. I wept as I read your story, and ALL that you endured. What a test of your faith. I know you will be able to encourage MANY who walk the same road you just did. Wow.

    So happy you are both home and settling into your new normal. It’s a beautiful thing.

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