And Janaury 10th, 2011 at 3:15p.m. we boarded the first of those 3 flights on our way to Ethiopia and to our son, Ade.
One year ago we embarked on the greatest journey of lives to date.
If you recall we received our long-awaited, much-anticipated, highly-stressed-over Visa for Ade on December 28th, 2010. I woke up to an email from a friend who was in Addis Ababa and had been with our representative over their when she picked up our visa. She knew the CAFAC office was closed for the holiday season and she didn't want us to wait one more day to find out Ade was finally ours to go and get.
I screamed when I opened the email and read the words, "I'm thrilled to tell you this, - ADE'S VISA IS IN!!!!!!!" .
I yelled to Yvan and my mom that Ade's visa was in and then started to weep! All the worry, waiting and wondering came rushing out in one swoop as I cried and cried and cried! Yvan and my mom encircled me with their arms and we all cried together.
The next 2 weeks were spent finishing up packing Ade's bags and getting our bags packed as well. List were checked and re-checked. Calls were made, work was organized and soon it was time to leave.
But wait! What about flights you ask? Well, Yvan and I had taken a leap of faith before Christmas and had booked flights on December 23rd. Something told both of us we it was time to go to Ethiopia and not leave Ade waiting any longer. So, flights, well, they had already been waiting for us!
January 10th, 2010 was a Monday. We had most of our bags packed with just a few last minute things left to go in. We had a couple of things to run and get and one might think we were unorganized but this was probably just to keep us from sitting and pacing at home until it was time go.
We were both so nervous and emotional. We knew life as we knew it was about to change big time. As we zipped up our bags and hauled them all downstairs to the back door, I started to cry. It was here. The time had come. We were going to Ethiopia. Going to meet our son. Become a family.
Yvan gave me a big hug and told me to take a deep breath. It was all going to be o.k.
As we waited for Yvan's dad to pick us up, we talked about our past life together and how the future was going to change. We imagined what it was going to be like to see Ade for the first time and how he and we would feel in that moment.
I cried all the way to the airport. The rest of Yvan's family met us at the airport to see us off. I cried the whole time. I cried all the way through security and while we waited to board. It must have been the last 18 months of stress and waiting working itself out. It was also excitement, fear, happiness, uncertainty and so much more.
I settled down as the plane took off and we relaxed back into our seats and held hands.
When we landed in Toronto we made our across the airport to the International area of the terminal for our flight to Dubai. We had booked to fly on Emirates airline through the UAE with a one night stay over in Dubai. Just weeks before we travelled, the UAE had put a new Visa rule in place for Canadian citizens but luckily since we were travelling with Emirates they would sponsor us.
However, we had not been told how to pick up our visa, hotel voucher and food vouchers for our stay in Dubai. (Emirates pays for your hotel and food when you are on a layover.) The first boarding agent wasn't very helpful at all and told us she couldn't help us and we would have to go back outside of security to the front desk to collect our papers. Boarding had just been announced and I panicked thinking we were going to miss our flight. Yvan managed to talk to someone else who was kind enough to radio and have someone bring our documents to the gate.
We boarded the A380 (which holds 500 people, has a first class with suites, and business class with flat-beds and an economy class with the night sky on the ceiling!) It is absolutely the biggest airplane either of us have ever been on. Yvan and I marvelled at the smoothness and quietness of it as we took-off into the night sky.
13 hours later.....we landed in Dubai.