As I indicated a post or two ago we also hoped to travel for the summer. Our plans came crashing down when we found out that Chris could not take the leave we had been hoping for, not even just the time to accompany us there and quickly return (for all of our safety and sanity). We then had to face the dilemma of deciding between going to Florida without him or going crazy in our fifth floor apartment. Neither seemed acceptable so we brainstormed more and talked about pursuing a rental home with fenced yard, pool, etc. for the summer. However, certain aspects of that option weren’t sitting well with us either. So we did the best AND worst thing for our family and decided I would travel to Florida with seven children, unaccompanied by Chris.
I call it the best thing for our family because the kids and I have nine weeks scheduled in Florida to take a break from Kiev city/apartment confinement and instead, be in our hometown with family just a few miles away. We can swim, run, climb trees, ride bikes, kayaks, and other summer pleasantries in the scorching Florida heat.
But I also call it the worst thing for our family because we aren’t together which is never desireable, but even more so because of the new children. Our new kids are supposed to be bonding and attaching to their new parents/primary caregivers; mama and papa. How can this important phase for our family take place without papa? It was a dilemma I didn’t want.
And that is where the story picks up because I am on the airplane as I write this post.
It was a whirlwind getting to our too-early-in-the-morning-flight on time, but we miraculously made it. Note to those of you going through this process: Despite taking the normal line out of the airport regarding passport control and exiting to the USA with our USA passports, they took a considerably longer time to scrutinize the Ukrainian children’s passports and even requested the adoption documents. I felt tense, not because I feared we were unprepared (legally), but because of the extra time it added when we had already cut it too close. As it was, we had to cut people to get to the front of the passport control line because of our flight time, and then delayed to the point of me sending the American children ahead since their passports had been handed back first. I figured they’d be more likely to hold the plane if four children’s mamma was “still coming”. Yes, Denis, Ana, Edik, and I were last to board and we even got to hear our names called over the speaker to report to the gate. So please, take my advice and don’t show up only an hour early despite the terrible feeling of getting a family to the airport at 4:45 a.m. It ain’t early enough for a 5:45 flight. “Duh.” I know you and I knew that already, but the things fatigue and other external pressures does to the mind is a strange phenomenon.
And another word to any other crazy, traveling-alone-mammas-with-newly-seven-kids out there, don’t haul along your two oversized and heavy car seats for the children “especially for the long flight” if you have a 5+ hour layover in Frankfurt. Please, learn from my mistake and just pack them with the other checked baggage. It will be a big enough task to wander the airport wilderness for that long without them in tow and not drive yourself and your easily embarrassed 13 year old daughter crazy. Let alone not being able to exit the airport as previously assumed (and mentally planned) to help kill time because A) the Ukrainian kids are not allowed to exit into Germany with a USA visa (even though the Americans can), and B) you must exit into the general area for the baggage storage area where I thought we could ditch the seats during that time. Thankfully, free carts were in surplus, but it was a major headache since we couldn’t take them up or down escalators, on the airport train, or through security limes. We did lots of loading and unloading the seats with each change of scenery, which I assure you was necessary to pass the hours. I told the older girls they could be thankful they weren’t Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years since the modern airport was considerably more temperature controlled, stocked with food, smooth floors, seats, and distractions of trains, escalators, etc. and we had still had more than our fill. 😉
So, yes, now all eight of us are crashed in a general vicinity of one another with endless movies and drinks, bathroom breaks, and “Close your eyes. It is time for a nap.” on the nine (?) hour flight from Germany to Orlando.
I would say it is going well. Even though when I did the journey without Chris last summer (with only four kids), I made several statements and mental notes NOT to repeat the experience. So for this good report, I am thankful to God, as well as for those of you who prayed for our travel day and also have continued to pray for our family adjustments.
Still reading? Whew! Tell me what you’ve been up to and whether or not we will visit with one another before I leave Florida on August 8. No, I don’t plan to travel beyond Inverness. But feel free to come to us!