Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Journey Home: Kiev Airport

Tuesday morning.

My alarm clock went off at 1:30 am. I got up, got dressed. I got all my bags lined up by the door and looked out side the window. It had started snowing the night before and it was still coming down. It looked beautiful. I then got Nina bundled up and went outside to get our driver who was waiting for us. We walked out of the apartment. It was 2:00 am.

The trip to the airport lasted about an hour, a few times we were stuck in the snow and there were no plows at that time at night.

3:00 am we arrived at the airport. I was not familiar with the setting and was left sitting on the stairs, with my bags and all. I was on my own and the airport slept. At 3:30 am the Lufthansa booth opened and I realized that there was a long line of people waiting. I had my suitcases, backpacks and Nina. I had to put the sling on to carry her. We stood at the end of a long line. A woman came out and made an announcement in Russian. Frustration was in the air. I asked the lady if she spoke English, she did, and I asked what she had said. Our flight had been cancelled, and that was that. I needed to stay in line and reschedule.

Nina was heavy, I was dumbfounded. I went to get a chair so I could sit down and a man told me I couldn't take the chair (2 feet from where it was) I lost it (yes, I did) I told him in English, even though I knew he couldn't understand that my child was disabled and that I was exhausted and that I was going to sit on the chair weather he wanted me to or not, all while trying not to cry too hard. I made a scene. I didn't care.

I sat on the chair and prayed for God to send me an angel, but everyone just started at the crazy American. I looked at a lady in front o me who kept glancing at us, "Please don't stare" I asked. "Sorry, I don't speak much English, but can I help you?" I talked to her a little and was able to communicate to her that Nina had CP and that our plane was cancelled. She then talked to every single person in front of us, and then came over to me and said it was my turn, I could go next. God did send me an angel.

They said my flight was cancelled but I could reschedule for the next day. I asked to be rescheduled for a different flight for that day, they agreed. I would leave at 10:00 am. Only 6 hours to go. We went to a cafeteria and sat there, our angel lady came too. She was Ukranian and spoke Ukranian. Nina attached to her quickly, and it gave me the freedom to go and arrange a wheelchair for Nina and find out more about our flight or possibilities. At 9:00 am the flight was delayed to 12:00 pm, we would not make it to our connecting flight, so I did reschedule for the next day.

I called our missionary friends and asked if we could stay with them for the night. I arrived at their house and we ate brunch. Then Nina and I slept until late, we had been at the airport for about 10 hours, we were exhausted.

Wednesday morning.

My alarm clock went off at 2:00 am. I was ready to go by 2:30. I saw our flight had been delayed until 8:45 am, however, the taxi was already there waiting. The roads looked clear so we were hopeful we would be able to fly home.

We arrived at the airport at 3:30 am, right as they opened the airport. Our angel was there, waiting for us. She had breakfast ready for Nina. She was there with a nice man from Canada. We all waited for the same flight. They both took such great care of Nina and I.

At 8:00 am they delayed our flight to 6:00 pm. The airport was still closed and they thought it would be closed until 12:00 pm. We waited and waited and waited some more. I don't know what I would have done without my angels. We shared stories and brought each other comfort.

Finally at 12:00 pm we were able to check in. The airport was open. I am not sure how long we waited inside, quite a while, but we knew that our flight would leave any time and we had to be alert to hear the new time. At around 4:00 pm we were able to board and we arrived in Frankfurt at around 6:00 pm. It was a long long day, but I was finally out of Ukraine.

I was on my way home.


Leah said...

Oh Ellen! All those days, while you were trying to get home, all I could think about was you stuck in an airport with Nina. Exhausted, uncomfortable, and stressed to the absolute max. I cannot even imagine how miserable it must have been. And yet, God sent angels, and got you through. I know that I would have been a blubbering mess at several steps along the way!

Nan and Dan said...

omg! what a hard experience :(
thank heavens you are now home and it is hopefully a distant memory.
I can't even imagine the relief when the plane lifted off the ground!!

Bethany said...

OMG that is horrible. Seriously, kuddos to you for making it through. I would have freaked on the guy too. :) LOL

Qadoshyah said...

Oh my, that's horrible!! I probably would've broke down crying at that point too. So glad you had a couple people who were kind :).

AddingOn said...

Hi, My name is Cara, we adopted a little girl from Russia who is 7 and has CP, she came home a little over 7 months ago. From what you have said about your little girl, I think it is the same kind, spastic diplegia. Our daughter has full function of her arms, although it didn't really seem like it at first, she was just very uncoordinated and her muscles were not developed.
When we first got her she could only walk a very short distance, on her toes, legs bent, etc... After not even a month of therapy and stretching she could walk much further, feet were closer to the ground, etc... What the doctors usually recommend for this type of CP is muscle lengthening, we took Anastasia to one of only a few doctors who do a very noninvasive method. 5 months after her surgery she can walk heel to toe, feet flat, she is learning to run, etc... She wore braces until about a month ago but does not need them anymore, Feel free to visit my blog or email me if you have any questions or just need someone to talk to.