Thursday, May 1, 2008

First Class is the Only Way to Fly!

The photo of me with Elizabeth was taken a few minutes after we met when we arrived at the orphanage. The photo of Tim with Michael was taken right after we saw him for the first time since we hosted him.

We have been home for one week. We are so glad that we were able to get on that flight last Thursday. If we did not receive the visas on Thursday morning last week, we would of had to stay in Kiev until at least Monday (4/28). The big May Day holiday celebrations start in Ukraine around April 25th and last approximately one week. Most people travel for the holiday so all of the airlines were booked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We couldn't get a flight out of Kiev during that time. Starting on Monday there were flights, but they were very expensive. The cheap fares wouldn't be available until May 2. It was all about the timing with receiving the visas and booking 4 one way tickets to the US. We couldn't book our flights until we had the visas in hand, but we didn't know when the visas would be issued. We had a flight reserved for Thursday morning at 11:00am which was the last economy airfare available. Tim wanted to be at the consulate when they opened Thursday morning just in case they had the visas. They didn't have them at 8:30am so we couldn't make the 11:00am flight. They did have them ready at 9:30am so I called every airline I could think of and found 4 one way tickets from Kiev to JFK, but the only thing available was in First Class on Aerosvit (Ukraine Airline). I booked the flights and we had to race to the airport to purchase the tickets by 11:00am or we would lose them. I was so stressed out! Tim got back to the apartment around 10:00am and we had to pay our apt. rent and load our bags in our facilitator's car. The ride to the airport is 45 minutes. We were cutting it so close. There is alot of traffic in Kiev and sometimes it can take 30 minutes to go 5 miles. We hit a couple of traffic jams, but we got lucky and weren't delayed too long. Then we were at a big intersection and the police stopped traffic. I was thinking what are they doing????? Then our facilitator said, "it's the president. He will be passing by in a minute." I'm thinking....this cannot be happening. I was picturing the US Presidential motorcade. You know, 10 police cars followed by 10 suburbans, followed by 5 limos, followed by the President, followed by 10 suburbans, followed by 10 police cars, followed by a few motorcycle police, etc. Well, this one was 2 police cars, an SUV, the President's limo, a police car and that was it. I couldn't believe it! We made it to the airport at 11:45am. We got the tickets and were so happy to be coming home. The only catch was that we didn't have a flight from JFK to Houston. I sent an email to our travel agent as we were leaving Kiev asking him to find us a flight that would get us to Houston. I sent him our flight information so he would know when we were scheduled to land at JFK.

The story continues.... our flight was 2 hours late leaving Kiev. We had already boarded the plane. The good news is that we were in first class so we were very comfortable while we waited. The bad news is that the later we arrived at JFK the fewer flight options were available to get us home the same night. Spending the night in New York isn't something we wanted to do, but at least we were almost home. The pilot made up an hour in the air so we were only 1 hour late arriving. We had to go through passport control and customs. Once we got to the luggage carousel we turned on Tim's blackberry to see if our travel agent had a flight for us. He did! He booked and paid for the tickets using my credit card so all we had to do was check in and make the flight. The race was on again! We landed at 5:35pm. By the time we cleared passport control and got our luggage it was 6:30pm. Our flight was at 7:15pm in another terminal. We didn't have time for bathrooms or drinks. We had to take the tram, get through security, take a shuttle and get to our gate. We got to the gate at 7:10pm. The flight was late arriving so we didn't board until 7:45p. Then they had electrical problems. So we sat on the airplane for another 45 minutes. The kids were great through the entire trip. They were exhausted so when we finally took off and they dimmed the lights the kids passed out.

The kids love their rooms and all of the gifts they have received. Babushka (Grandma) and Deyadushka (Grandpa) came for a visit and took them shopping for school clothes. Babushka also bought them toys and candy. They LOVE their Babushka & Deyadushka! They are sleeping and eating well. We are so happy to be a family!

We are watching my sister's dog, Joey for a few weeks. He is now bilingual. Elizabeth speaks to him in Russian and asks him to sit, lay down, and roll over. He does it as requested. Max responds to anyone in any language as long as they have food.

We had a wonderful dinner with the adoption group last night. It was great to see everyone! We all share this wonderful and complicated experience of international adoption. You all have been there with me every step of the way:-)!

Thank you all for the gifts, cards, emails, and phone calls. Your support means more than you know. We plan to keep the blog updated. Check in with us if you have time. We love to read your comments.


adopting2fromUkraine said...

Ah, living the good life! They take to it just like they've always known it! lol

We're glad you're home, too:)

JLW said...

We are pleased that the Coons family is home safe. A little rest and you will begin to realize how much the trip really means to you both and to Elizabeth and Michael. Congratulations to a great family.
John & Ann

Marilyn K said...

Sharon - Wishing you a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! I hope your day is enjoyable in every way.

It was so nice to see the pictures and hear a little of the news since you've gotten home. I hope you will continue to post follow-ups. I presume this was the first time Elizabeth and Michael have flown... were they excited or did they just take it in stride? What new experiences do they seem to be enjoying, what new foods do they like, what new foods do they not like, do they still like Fanta or has that has been replaced by something else and about a thousand other questions. I so look forward to getting them all answered in due time. Again, Happy Mother's Day.