We had to wake the kids up around 2:30 am. The kids jump right out of bed with no issues. We arrived at the airport three hours early just in case there was an problem due to our kids passports not matching the plane tickets. I have heard this has caused other families to have some issues. When we walk up to the counter I noticed right away that the person was the same one that handled our issues on trip one. She actually remember us. I was not sure if that was good or bad. The problem was 6 months ago and she see millions of people and yet she remembers me. So she just stamped our stuff and said we all have seats. I thanked her and was glad to be moving on to security check point. I know I was upset and crying at some points. I never did my "business voice" with her but she did hear me talking to United that way. Yikes!
Our first flight was very short, only 2 hours or so. Once in Germany we had to check in again. It really was not a big deal we maybe took 15 minutes total. I decided i needed some humor so when the German custom guy asked if we had anything to declare I said "Well we just spent $50,000 on three kids do we need to claim that?" He laughed it off and then checked the pass ports and realized that we were adopting and started laughing at us saying he thought we were just kidding around with him.
We get on the big plane for the long flight. Everything went most uneventful besides Spencer got locked in the bathroom this time! He freaked out. Screaming on the top of his lungs. People came running. I had to talk him into opening it. At first he just wanted to curl up in the corner to calm himself down but in the end he wanted me to hold him and calm him down. I kept saying "Mommy is here and all will be good." He is starting to come to us when he hurt or scared. It will take more time of proving to him over and over again that we are there and we will protect him. After that issue I had to hold the door wide open for him to use the bathroom. I blocked the door so no one could see in.
We finally land in Toronto, Canada. We had no troubles going through customs, just showed them the adoption paperwork. We jumped back into our car and started the 5 hour drive back home, the kids immediately crashed. We get to the US Boarder after two hours. I was very nervous about this. Our agency, support groups, Latvian Lawyer and the US Embassy have never heard of anyone from the US driving to Canada to fly to Latvia. The reason being that we have to give a huge stack of sealed documents to the US customs agent and that individual would place a special stamp on each of the kids passports which basically stated the kids were now US citizens. Everyone does this when they land at the US airports but since we were not landing at a US airport no one could tell us the proceedure.
We go to the first boarder guard and tell him we need to see a immigration officer. So they flagged our car and pulled us over and we had to wait in the room. It was around 8:15 when we were flagged. We waited in the room for 30 minutes and our name was called. The lady was very nice and excited for the adoption. She took the giant package that we had to keep enclosed. We sat back down and talk to a few other people around us. The kids were passed out and very tired. She called us back up and said it was all done. I did ask her if they do this often and she said it was not as common as in the airports but they do a fair amount of these. I plan on passing that message on to other people adopting as well. The total amount of time was one hour and 20 minutes. So at the end of the process she placed the special stamp on each of their passports. They are Americans!!! We told them and Jeff and I were clapping and dancing. The kids just stared at us and Hunter asked for his bed. HA.
We finally get home around 1:30am. We open the garage door and someone that was watching our house locked the door to our house from the garage. We did not bring our keys so we ran around the house hoping we missed locking a window. We were lucky somehow we did miss the skinny bay side window. It was small and a really tight fit but thankfully one of us fit through. We get the kids in and immediately Jeff and I noticed a change in the kids. The kids have been freaking out about this trip to Latvia. Honestly it has been horrible leading up to it. Even when we were over there the kids were freaking out all the time. Yes you can see random shot where they were smiling but there is a lot of time between those picture that were really tough. We kept reminding ourselves that the kids are scared and that their acting out behavior was probably due to a combination of them being scared, not on a normal routine and lack of sleep as none of the kids slept very well at all.
The next day we are home the kids were tired but again they were back to normal, a little cranky but normal. Elliana did not have any more nightmares. Spencer has not had a single tantrum in two days, of being home!! Hunter is not clinging to me like before. That trip scared them more then I think it even did. Today is day two home and Spencer stress bumps are going down even more.
These kids mean everything to us. This adoption journey took us over 3 years total. Before that we did try for kids and were never successful. In the end God put us with the kids we were meant to have. They were born to another mother and then put in a place where they were not given the kind of love they needed. Before I was matched up with our kids, I used to at night wonder if our kids were wishing for a family, or if someone tucked them in for bed, or if they were given hugs, kiss and told how special they were. I now know the answer to those questions and it breaks my heart. I can't fix their past. I can only help them heal from it and have as best of a future as possible. They are home. Home where they have food, shelter, love, hugs, kisses, and family. It is our families fairy tale ending.
I may randomly continue to blog. There is a spot on the right side where you can put in your email address and it will email you when I update again. Our adoption paperwork is not 100% completed, we just have the follow up citizen paperwork like SSM cards etc..and the two post adoption reports due one year from July and the second one the following year. Thank you to everyone who made this happen. I can't express in words what the support means to us.