Here’s another local news story on our arrival home with our sweet boy Amos: KXAN NEWS
Okay so I left off with the last post about us getting to the airport in Houston. I can’t explain to you enough how much we should NOT have made that flight and yet we did. It was a pure miracle. Not a chance. Not a freak accident, but a miracle of God. It was as if he was saying to us “trust me”. We have been through a long and hard journey and not sure why we thought the end would be any easier. It was the weirdest and longest 24 hours of my life, but yet the sweetest and most joyful as well.
When we landed in Orlando we were giddy with excitement. I called Mark and Jen and found out that yes the kids had landed already but they didn’t know where they were. We found our friend Carolyn that was riding with us and went down to get our rental car. The nice man upgraded us to a minivan and we were off. We had to drive to Sanford airport which was about 30 minutes away. The whole ride my stomach was in knots. As we got closer and closer I felt like I was going to throw up. Had I known that it would still be 6 hours before I would see my son, I would have slept and made myself a little pallet right there in that minivan. Little did we know! We got to the airport, parked the car and literally ran in to find the other parents that were waiting. I ran down the hall in excitement as I saw Kim and Jen who were both their waiting for their kids as well. We hugged and felt reunited since we were just together a few weekends ago for the Disney marathon.
We were so anxious. I was scared to go and get a drink or go to the bathroom out of fear that we would miss them. We paced and talked and Aaron began interviewing people. It was as if we thought any minute our kids were going to run out and we were going to go off and live happily ever after!
One of the hardest thing about the night was the unknown. We had no idea where our kids were, what they were doing, were they okay, hungry, sleepy or even if they had any clue what was going on. As a mom that broke my heart. I wanted to run and find Amos and tell him that he was with his momma and papa now and everything would be okay.
I could be off on my times here, but as far as a remember this is how it went down. About 5:45 the first family walked out with their son. I will have to admit this was one of the most emotional nights of my entire life. I was so thrilled for these families. It was as if I hurt more for them and was more excited for them because I knew EXACTLY what their hearts had been through over the past two years. I knew their hurts and I knew their joys. All of us parents shared a common bond. Kim, Dave & Emma Rhodes were united with their son and brother Frankie. It was a moment to remember. All of us other parents were so excited for them and so thrilled that our turn was soon to follow.
Then about 6am (EST time) we were all sitting there chatting and we look back and there was a woman holding Kembert, Mark & Kristen Howerton’s son. We were all shocked because Mark hadn’t been back there or anything. It was as if each time a kid was reunited it was done a different way. Mark jumped up and we all gathered around as they told him about his paperwork and handed him his son. Once again my emotions were gone. It was so much to take in. These kids had been through hell the past few weeks, and this was never the way any of us thought their journey would end. I was so excited for Mark and Kristen as their journey has been 3 years trying to get this little boy home to his family in CA.
A little bit after this it was our turn. A woman came out and asked for the Ivey family to come back with her. We were finally being called and were going to go past the doors that we have wondered where they led to all night long! We followed her back and gave her our drivers license and went to a room where the boss man was sitting. He goes over the papers and tells us what to next with our local USCIS office and then asks if we have seen our son. Um NO! We are freaking out. I hardly remember anything he said to us and my hands were shaking. This was it. 2.5 years into this and here we are. Our son is about to be handed over to us for good. It was a surreal moment and words can hardly do it justice. We were anxious to get him and get home. We followed this man, and on the way saw Tim, the man that had spent countless hours at the embassy on our kids behalf. How do you say thank you for this? There are no words. They took us to the room where he had been all night. It was a conference room I think and all the kids were all over the room sleeping or laying down resting. As soon as we opened the door we saw our son. He was standing next to this table drinking blue gatoraide. I remember seeing Megan and thinking that I wanted to hug her forever and didn’t have the words to thank her for loving on my son in my absence. Aaron picked him up and we could tell he was shocked and became very shy. We hugged him, cried and told him he was leaving with us forever. We then followed the man back out to the “waiting area” where our friends were. That walk down that hall seemed forever and we were honored to be welcomed by the friends that new our journey better than any once else can.
Amos was very shy at first, but warmed up when Aaron started talking about his machine (kreyol for car) and Amos was so excited to go in Papa’s machine. I loved that! It wasn’t long until his shyness was coming off and his true crazy self was shining through!