"Sweet home Manitoba,
Where the sky's cold and grey,
Sweet home Manitoba,
Alexandra's comin' home to stay!"
Well, after 37 days away from home we are back in Canada with our new daughter. And about 2.5 years after we started this process, we are now a family with a daddy, mommy, and child. The airlines and airports tried to work together to conspire against us to make the day more challenging than it needed to be...but regardless of the mix-ups and delays, we finally made it back to Manitoba. That is really all that matters.
As soon as we boarded the plane for the last leg of our journey, from Toronto to Winnipeg, Alexandra fell asleep. She was still out when we came down the escalator at the Winnipeg airport. Despite having a really long day, Candace and I could not sleep during that final flight. The excitement of finally being home was tremendous and the anticipation of seeing everyone we care about and introducing them to our daughter was almost too much to bear. What a wonderful reception we received when we arrived at the airport in Manitoba. Looking down from the top of that escalator at all of you who came to welcome us back, one couldn't help but feel a bit overwhelmed. Seeing all of your smiling faces made everything so concrete in an instant...Candace and Stephen and Alexandra were finally home and we were finally a family. To those who came to greet us, thanks of course for the gifts for Alexandra and the Tim Horton's coffee and the kind words and hugs and handshakes. But thanks mostly for taking time out of your busy lives to come and help us welcome our daughter to Manitoba. For those of you that did not make it, and we certainly did not expect anyone to come, know that you were with us all the way through our trip, in our hearts and in our minds. We can't wait to see you all.
Reflecting upon all that has happened as we left Frankfurt, I almost had to shake my head with disbelief. Looking over at Alexandra in her plane seat listening to the in-flight radio on her headphones, I realized how happy I am that things worked out as they did. I am so glad that we chose to adopt, I am pleased that we found our way to the Ukraine, and I am very thankful that our trip did not happen until it did. I would not choose to change a thing, because in doing so, the three of us may not be together as we are now. I am thankful for everything that has happened during this little adventure. Since this will be my second last posting, I will indulge myself and take a moment to acknowledge those people that have helped make this all possible. Thanks to the Ukrainian Adoption Services of Winnipeg and their Ukrainian facilitators for leading us through the myriad of steps necessary to make this all happen. Thanks to all of those wonderful people at the orphanage for caring for our daughter until we could come and get her. Thanks to all of those people who posted comments on our blog. It would be an understatement to say that your thoughtful words were merely helpful. Every single comment kept us connected with home and made us stay focused, even during some challenging moments during our time away. It seemed whenever we needed a boost you gave it to us. Thanks to our family and friends for all of the love and support during the entire process. Your encouragement has provided us with considerable strength and hope along the way. Thanks of course to Candace, who is already proving herself to be a wonderful mother by showing compassion, wisdom, patience, and unconditional love for our new daughter. And finally, thanks to our beautiful little girl Alexandra. We promise to do something every day of your life to remind you how much you mean to us. It starts tomorrow on our drive back home...anything you want at Walmart is yours...except for a Montreal Canadians jersey that is...the David's are Maple Leaf fans.
For what it is worth, I did kiss the ground when I got back to Manitoba to show my joy in being home finally. I had contemplated doing it at the airport but I was worried about what some people may have thrown on the ground outside the terminal, so I waited until I got back to Candace's sister's house.