[Russ here.] Right about this time last year, my parents and I were frantically converting our house from 8 months of being a bachelor pad back into being a home for our new family. OK, it wasn't that bad, and actually I was quite proud of how impressed my mom was at the condition of our house. I kept it up pretty well. That said, we still had to take down Katie's decorations from the fall. We didn't want her walking on a house full of pumpkins, etc. That's the kind of thing I miss... sure, the dishes and laundry were cleaned and put away, but dusting? Thanks for the help, mom and dad. Maybe I was impressed with how "well" the house was kept up, but Katie would not have been.
July 9th was the day it all went down. While Katie (and Lisa A.) and Eliot were getting all their stuff to the airport for a day long journey home, I anxiously awaited phone updates and cleaned. And what a long day it was. Katie was scheduled to arrive around 8 (or something like that) and ended up being delayed in Atlanta. Myself and 60+ people (family, friends and folks from church) just sat for hours at the airport waiting for any sort of updates. Life was about to change dramatically and I was excited and nervous. I imagine it felt like sitting in the waiting room waiting for the doctor to pop out and tell you the baby's arrived... after 8 months of labor. She was so close to being home. Eliot was in the US and yet they were still 3 hours away. Ugh! What a night. Needless to say, I was pacing the airport terminal like crazy.
Finally (10:30ish) I got the call from Katie that they were pulling into the gate. Airport security let me go back and greet them just beyond the security checkpoint and bring them out. It was awesome! Turning that corner and seeing a hallway packed full of signs, balloons and all the people that had been praying and waiting for Katie and Eliot for 8 months cheering and screaming was the best feeling ever. We were there for what seemed like a couple more hours while everyone hugged and kissed on Katie and Eliot (who by the way was a champ considering it was hours past his bedtime after a long day of sitting in planes and airports).
If you'd like to view Katie's blog entry and pics from last year's homecoming click HERE. It's an interesting trip down memory lane. I'll let you check that out rather than posting all the pics all over again, etc.
A friend of ours from church brought some friends from work along that night. The Fox 2 News team, that is. They did a "human interest" story on the adoption and sat and waited it out with us with camera's rolling. Here's the story that aired the next day on the local news...
I'll never forget that night. We'd looked forward to it for so long. It was the only thing that kept us going on some days. It was as awesome as we'd dreamed it'd be. It's weird to me that at that point only a couple people had ever met Eliot. It seems so normal having him here now. He knows so many people, calls their names when he sees them, and just knows the world around him so well. He loves our home, our friends, and it just seems like it's been this way a lot longer than a year. It's so bizarre. He's grown so much and has had so many experiences in the last year. It's really amazing, actually.
I'm not even sure what we'll do to celebrate today, but we'll be together. Maybe we'll go to the airport and sit around for a few hours for old time's sake...
(click on the picture to see larger image)