Meseret and Endris Come Home
We started the morning very early, leaving in the dark for our local airport and knowing that when we came home that evening, we would have our two new children with us. It felt surreal! We arrived in Chicago after a short hour-and-a-half flight with plenty of time to get acclimated to O’Hare. Although we were early, we were eager to settle in at the international terminal to wait for Merrily and our children, Meseret and Endris. As soon as I saw on the video monitor that their plane had landed, my emotions kicked in, and every time I envisioned their faces approaching the glass entry doors, tears welled up in my eyes.
As each of the seemingly countless other passengers made their way toward the doors, my heart lept. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Dan said, “Here they come!” We all spotted each other at about the same time. While Dan videotaped, I rushed to the kids and hugged them tightly, and they readily accepted my embrace with big smiles and wide eyes. Such incredible sweetness!
We quickly made our way to a nearby seating area, and Merrily filled us in on how the trip had gone. She gave us a brief update on the kids, handed over their passports and other important documents, and gave us their few belongings, including some of their clothing and the gifts we had sent them. Then, knowing from experience that it’s best not to linger, she said her goodbyes, and Meseret and Endris waved as Merrily rode up the escalator to catch her flight home. Surprisingly, the sweet smiles never left their faces, although I’m sure they were experiencing a million different thoughts and emotions, and you could see a tinge of concern in their eyes.
We took the opportunity to distract the kids by giving them the gifts we had brought—the first surprise being ring pops, which were a huge hit. We could have quit there! Already, we were awesome parents! But we also had a doll for Meseret and a set of Matchbox cars for Endris, and they were delighted to play with them for awhile as we all caught our collective breath. Eventually, we packed up o ur things and made our way back to Terminal 2, where we would depart for home.
After going through security, we headed straight for the children's play area. The kids were already pros at the security checkpoints by now, readily shedding their shoes and placing them in the bins, as if they had been traveling all of their short lives. At first we had the play area to ourselves, and the kids loved flying the pretend airplane and helicopter, and exploring the various nooks and crannies with wide eyes and grins. After a while, we thought they might be hungry, so we made our way to Chili’s for some lunch. Once we were seated, we gave the kids the travel-sized Magna Doodles we had brought for them, and Meseret immediately started writing out the words “one, two, three,” etc. Not to be outdone, Endris then wrote down all of the numerals 1 through 10, and Meseret quickly followed suit. Reveling in our praise, each tried coming up more feats to impress us. They wrote all the letters in the alphabet, and made good attempts at printing their names. Meseret also proved herself to be quite an artist. And they ate surprisingly heartily. Both Meseret and Endris were amazed that the clear liquid in their glasses was not water, but instead, sweet and bubbly soda!
After lunch we made our way to the gate for our trip home, and it was apparent the kids were getting tired. They played with their new toys until we boarded, and then hopped in their seats and buckled up like the veteran travelers they’d already become. They dozed on the plane, and then again in the car on the way home from the airport. They needed those cat naps to prepare them for the excited brood waiting for them at home! The other five kids who still live at home were waiting anxiously at the door when we arrived. We had no more than set foot in the door when Liam, our five-year-old son, hollered out, “Hey Endris, wanna play the Wii?” He had been waiting months for this moment! Finally, a little brother to play with!
When we showed the kids their rooms and their new beds, the exhaustion and emotion overcame Meseret, and she sat down on her bed, crying quietly. Liana, our seven-year-old daughter, grabbed a book so she could read a story to soothe her new sister, and she ushered us out of the bedroom, saying, “Can we have some privacy, please?” When Liana came back out of the bedroom, Meseret was fast asleep under her covers. Both Endris and Meseret slept all through the night, as did we, finally relaxing now that our kids were home with us, safe and sound.
Having Merrily escort the kids home was the perfect option for us. With five kids already at home, and two adults sons living nearby, life is often hectic, and needs are varied and many. Merrily made it possible for us to balance out everyone’s needs as much as possible, and to greet the new children and our new life together with the energy and zest required in a large family. Thank you, Merrily! We couldn’t have done it without you!
Dan & Vicki