God Does The Impossible After a crazy 10 day rollercoaster of emotions after the earthquake… we were united with our son on Friday, January 22nd. Here is how the week went down… Wednesday – Ryan and I drive to Denver to be fingerprinted for the 3rd time by the Department of Homeland Security (keep in mind the fingerprints expire every 15 months, so yes, it has taken that long)! We are driving home when we receive the call that all of the U.S. kids at God’s Littlest Angels were coming home. We were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. We were in complete shock and couldn’t wait to get home and get better updates. At one point, I look down and Ryan is flying through Castle Rock going 90 mph. We were excited to say the least. We immediately called our moms to share the good news. I then realized that we had nothing prepared to bring a 1 almost 2 year old home. I quickly called my best friend, Amber (the queen of shopping), and got her on the job. She rose to the occasion and delivered clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, etc. for Jeffry. We got word at 8:00 p.m. that the trip was a go and that we needed to be in Miami by Thursday evening. We bought tickets, finished packing, made arrangements for the other 3 kids, and went to bed
God Does The Impossible Thursday – We were up at 5:00 a.m. and were in the air by 7:20 a.m. We arrived inDallas as scheduled and quickly got to our connecting gate. After enjoying an oatmealand latte from Starbucks, we were informed that the plane waiting at the gate was notin fact flying to Florida. They quickly had another plane ready and sent us back to theconcourse from which we had just come. After waiting there for 30- 45 minutes wewere told that the 2nd plane was not able to fly due to mechanical problems (good toknow)! They sent us on to our 3rd gate and plane, and we boarded and flew to Floridawithout incident.We met up with some friends from Denver (also adopting) for dinner and then headedto the airport to wait for our babies. We were told to arrive at the airport at 9:30 andwait in “Concourse G” for further instructions. The plane was supposed to land around9:40 p.m., but did not end up leaving Port-Au- Prince until 11:00 p.m. The kids andstaff waited on a grassy area next to the Port-Au-Prince runway for 2 ½ hours beforethey could find someone to push their plane back from the gate. They said the kidshad a great time singing songs, playing games, and laughing.
God Does The Impossible There were probably at least 60 families waiting for 81 kids, andI’m sure we were quite the sight to behold. There was mediaeverywhere and we completely took over a carpeted area in frontof a ticket counter. Through the night there werecheers, tears, prayers, rejoicing, heart to heart talks and a bondingthat is indescribable. At times we found ourselves laying on thehard floor using our diaper bags for pillows and trying to get a fewminutes of sleep with other people laying on the floor just inchesaway trying to do the same thing. We sharedsecrets, dreams, fears and everything in between. The night wasalso filled with tons of joking and laughter. Pilots from VisionAirlines (they flew our kids home) kept us stocked withwater, coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts all night.
God Does The Impossible Friday – The plane landed at 12:52 a.m. Our babies were officially onU.S. soil! We erupted in cheers. We were now confident that our babieswere safe and would be in our arms very soon. Now all we had to do waswait for them to go through customs and immigration. Everyone involvedthought this process would take a couple of hours… we were all wrong! Ittook 8 1/2! Can you imagine processing 81 children, ages 2 months to 15years, through immigration? Fingerprints, photos and unimaginablepaperwork. So, while parents paced, sat and slept on the floor of“Concourse G”, 81 children weresleeping, playing, singing, eating, takenpotty and changed while being fingerprinted, photographed, etc.AMAZING! Around 3:30 a.m. someone discovered that there was aSubway that stayed open all night in the airport. I have to say, that wasthe most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten! The night wore on andthe airport that we watched go to sleep… woke back up, and we werestill there, WAITING.
God Does The Impossible Around 7:30 a.m. the airport decided we were too much of a “motley crue” and kicked usout of the now famous “Concourse G”. We were escorted to a holding room, where wewould meet our children, at the other end of the airport (a 10-15 minute walk away) andbegan waiting again. The Red Cross, the Miami airport and other volunteers had drinksand snacks for us. We were now getting regular updates and knew that we would bereunited with our kids very soon. At approximately 9:15 a.m. the doors to our holdingroom were closed and our kids were escorted into the room next to us. Talk abouttorture! We could hear them and we were now within feet of our precious ones!Dixie Bickel, the orphanage director, walked in and the room erupted with applause. Shetold the story of the journey to the U.S. and explained the process by which we would beunited with our kids. We were called out 3-4 families at a time (alphabetically by ourchild’s first name), met our kids in the lobby with lots of hugs and kisses and then wereable to take them back in the room with the rest of the kids to talk and take pictures withthe rest of the families. This room was also stocked with snacks and drinks for the kids aswell as the parents. There were also items available (diapers, wipes, bottles, formula,clothes, etc.) for those families that didn’t have time to shop before flying to Florida. So,at 10:00 a.m. we took Jeffry into our arms and knew that we would never have to saygoodbye again! 34 months of waiting melted away in that moment. At 11:30 a.m. wecollected Jeffry’s paperwork, said our final good-byes and walked out of the airport withour son!
God Does The Impossible There were no tears from the kids, only JOY! They knew in their hearts, nomatter how young, that they were with their FOREVER FAMILIES! Our sweetJeffry was in complete amazement at all he was seeing…cars, trucks, escalators, elevators, ceiling fans, lights… a whole new world wasbefore him. We brought him back to our hotel and bathed him and dressedhim, for the first time, in his very own clothes! After his bath, he fell into apeaceful sleep! When he finally woke, he was starving as were we. Whatshould his first meal in the U.S. be?The answer was obvious… Chipotle!You should have seen the look on his cute face as he peered through the glassand saw the food… PRICELESS! He filled his little tummy with beans and riceand meat and a big sippy cup of apple juice! We then drove to the beach (butJeffry fell asleep) and sat under the stars listening to the ocean, drinkingStarbucks and praising God for the miracle in our arms! Watching him sleepbetween us that night was incredible, his innocence and peace unimaginable.He was safe and in the arms of his parents at long last!
God Does The Impossible Saturday – We had a very early flight and had to leave the hotel at 4:30 a.m. Jeffry was a doll and enjoyed eating breakfast in the car on the way to the airport. Again, he was amazed by all the sights and sounds. He loved flying and was great for both legs of the flight. His tummy, however, was apparently having some trouble and so, after 3 ½ years with no diapers, I got a crash course in exploding diapers times 5! Thankfully, since the last time I flew with a child in diapers, the airlines have installed changing stations in the teeny, tiny bathrooms! We were welcomed home at the Colorado Springs airport by 2 big sisters, a big brother and Grandma Cathy! He recognized his siblings immediately (from pictures) and began waving at them as we approached. They fell in love immediately. Our life as a family of 6 is nothing short of incredible. We love every minute of it and cant imagine it any other way. God loves to do impossible things, and He did! Ryan and Naomi Thomas
If you’d like to talk about helping God’s Littlest Angels, please contactLaurie Bickel at 719-638-4348 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Vanderwellat (616) 884-8901 or email@example.com. Thank you!