I can only imagine how exhausted my daughters were as we settled into our seats on the plane. I realize now, that God must have really sustained them that day. How could they not have been completely overwhelmed and unnerved by the newness of this world into which they had been thrust? They must have thought it a frantic, insane place where one ran everywhere as fast as possible, never stopping to eat or rest, carrying great burdens all the while. Such a dramatic shock after the predictability or orphanage life – a life in which the only time they even left the building was to go receive their vaccinations at the hospital.
How could I have been at all surprised when Claudine was faced with the prospect of a seat belt for the first time ever in her life (the flight from PAP had been lenient and allowed her to sit on Michael’s lap) that she began to cry, fight and scream?
Although it was too dark to see much, we had given her the seat by the window and Michael sat beside her. Because Roseline was two years old, we had purchased a seat for her but she was far too small to sit there and it remained empty between us Michael. I sat on the aisle with her in my lap. Michael secured the seat belt around Claudine as she fought and cried. He attempted to soothe her as I watched helplessly, well aware that I had little influence with this my new daughter. My contribution was to explain in Creole why she had to wear the belt and that once we were in the air she could remove it. It did not help and she worked herself into a frenzy.
A female flight attendant who had been speaking with us previously came by to tell us that people were very anxious about Claudine’s crying. She said she tried to explain the situation to them but it was obviously hard for them to take. One woman asked why they did not just try to find someone who spoke Creole to explain the situation to her. I assured her, I had already done so.
It was stressful for everyone, but God is faithful to turn all things around for the good of his children. Suddenly, in the midst of her flailing and wailing, she looked across Michael to me and stretched forth her arms.
“Mama! Mama! Mama!” she cried.
We moved her to the seat between us and she sank into my arms as I again reiterated there was no way around wearing the seat belt if we were to go home. At this time the head flight attendant came to us and kindly inquired about the situation.
“I tell you what,” he said compassionately “Why don’t we just leave the seat belt off until right before take off and then you can loosely buckle it for just a few moments until we are in the air.”
I unbuckled it and explained to Claudine the situation. She quieted, took my hand, and almost immediately began to fall asleep. In a moment it was time to take off and Michael and I buckled the seat belt without waking her. About this time, a young couple behind us tapped me on the shoulder.
“Excuse me,” the man said “Did I understand correctly that you just adopted these girls from Haiti?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” he said “was it very difficult?”
I lowered my eyes for a moment, took a breath and said a prayer. Then, I looked at him and said, “Yes, it was the most difficult journey of my life but it was worth it. I believe in adoption but I also believe it should not be entered lightly. Before you seriously consider adoption you must first ask God if that is his call for your life. If it is, I can tell you he will sustain you.”
Later, in the quiet, soft glow of the cabin, I relaxed enough to realize the journey to bring Claudine and Roseline home was almost over. The long nights of weeping and longing were gone. Never again would I wonder how they were doing or if there was any progress on our case. Never again would I repeatedly, obsessively check my e-mail for some word of them, any word of them and find it empty. The barrenness of wait was over. God’s promise had been fulfilled.
Tears filled my eyes as I looked to Michael. He wearily smiled at me and I said, “It’s over. It is over.” A quiet sob caught in his throat as he nodded with understanding. Then, we both took deep breaths and looked away in order to keep from completely falling apart but I know the prayers within our hearts were the same.
“Thank you, Jesus.”
“Thank you, Jesus.”
“Thank you, Jesus….”
“Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.”