We came home and decided to go out to eat for supper. Nathan and I made a pact not to check email until 7pm. We were told we'd get an email from Barbara if Charlene had gotten a Visa, so I put my phone on vibrate, then he stuck both phones in his inside coat pocket.
Well, we never heard my phone, heard Nate's phone, but didn't answer in time b/c it was hard to get to. I checked the phone # via White pages and it was from Westchester, D.C. I thought that was strange, but they didn't leave a message and I said if it was important they'd leave a msg.
We ate and got back in the van. This time we were going to have the phones ready. Well, my phone was ready, but it was Nate's that rang. Again, we missed the call, again from D.C. We had also missed a call from SecureNet about the alarm at the shop (not an uncommon call), so I wasn't too worried. However, we had missed 2 or 3 calls at home as well and this is the message we had on our home phone..
"This is (___) from The Department of State Adoption Task Force regarding Charlene. Please give us a call back." WHOA. Maybe that call was important :)
We finally got a hold of them and they said Charlene had been issued a Humanitarian Parole, they would call us back when they had the manifest stating which plane she'd be on. WHOA.
At this point, Nathan is calling Barbara wondering what is going on.
While we were waiting for the State Dept. to call back, I ran to Wal-Mart to send money to a friend who lives ini PAP and has helped with our adoption, but who is currently in the Dominican Republic buying supplies, then driving them back to PaP to help people who don't have food. I get a frantic call from Nathan telling me I need to come home NOW.
We learn that Charlene will be on a plane to Florida the next day (Sat. 1/23) and Nathan needs to get to Orlando ASAP. So, I got him a ticket for Sat. at 5:50am, he was in Orlando by 11:30am Saturday morning...(about 12 hours after word from the State Dept.)
He patiently waited at his hotel all day. We were told this is what would happen:
Barbara and the kids in their private plane would fly to West Palm Beach, FL.
They would clear customs there, get back on the plane and fly 1 hour North to Melbourne, FL (that's where the pilot's hangar is).
Then they would get in a Limo (another nice man wanted these orphans to arrive in style and donated his limo!) and drive to Orlando and meet Nathan and the other waiting families at the hotel.
That's not what happened. Nathan gets a call about 8:45pm (FL time) saying the kids are stuck in Customs and the families need to West Palm Beach NOW. So, I rented them a 15 passenger van (that's a God thing...do most car rental places have that on hand??) and they all drove 3 hours to West Palm Beach. Customs usually closes at 10pm, but the Customs officials stayed there until 1am to process these kids--Awesome. If they hadn't been able to get there, Charlene and the others would've been placed in custody of someone overnight-ugh. Another God-thing!!
Nathan called at 11:50pm (12:50am FL time) to say Charlene had cleared customs and she was in her Daddy's arms! Praise God! They were still waiting on 2 other families to clear customs, then they were going to drive the 3 hours back to Orlando. He said Charlene fussed about the carseat, but quieted down when the van started moving!
Apparently there were 2 couples and 3 dads and if I or anyone else had gone, there wouldn't have been enough room in the van. A God-thing!
Nathan called a few times throughout the night reporting on Charlene. It was absolute music to my ears. He says she's taking it all in. They rode a glass elevator to the 6th floor to their room and she just looked and looked.
Can you imagine for a moment? She just left her devastated homeland with sights/sounds/smells that are probably unimaginable to us, then a few hour later, she's in America, in a 5star hotel with completely different sights/sounds/smells/air temperature.
They will fly into Springfield tonight (Sun 1/24) and I can't wait to see them (less than 48 hours after "the" phone call!). I have a full day planned (Church, Shopping--I still don't have anything for Charlene- and Groceries) so maybe the day will go fast before we have to go to the airport. I'm so excited to have her here finally and be a complete family.
For us, the wait is over. For many others, many of our friends, it's not. Please pray for them, that their kids get out quickly and that their kids remain healthy through all of this!
Thank you Barbara for working so darn hard to get these kids their needed paperwork! And thank you to the U.S. Government and all of the Senators who pushed hard to make this happen! And thank you, God, for being a rock and letting something good come out of this devastating tragedy!
BLOGS I've read to keep up-to-date on Charlene's orphanage:
www.dieunika.blogspot.com (he's awesome and his updates are awesome)
www.reachouttohaiti.com (Barb's site. Daily updates on the left)
www.laceyinhaiti.blogspot.com (1 of 2 American nannies at the orphanage. Her Dad is currently visiting there and her Mom will post if she hears from Lacey)
Prayers have been answered and in God's perfect timing and perfect way.