I remember on that Tuesday afternoon and evening (1 week post quake)talking (via instant message) with Dixie that they were compiling all of the information that the government needed (they hoped) with the hope being able to get the paperwork on Wednesday and then begin the process of flying the kids out on Thursday.
A couple of memorable moments that stand out from that time period……
At 3:30 in the morning, I got an instant message from Dixie that made it obvious that they were all working yet. I went to bed early that night, I think I was in bed by 1:30.
By Wednesday night, we knew that the paperwork had been issued and that things were looking really good for a flight to Miami on Thursday. So a large part of Wednesday night was spent notifying adoptive parents that they had to be in Miami by Thursday afternoon. Those were fun phone calls to make!
One particular call that stands out as fun was to a single mom (you’ll read more of her story later). After a week of going nut waiting, her sister told her, turn off your computer, you’re coming with me and we’re going out for dinner and going to go shopping (for kids clothes). I finally got in touch with her when she was in the middle of Target. “Hey Jayne, where have you been?” “Out for dinner and shopping for clothes for my Elli who I hope…..” “Well, you better go home.” “Why?” “Because you need to start packing – you need to be in Miami at this time tomorrow!” HOLDS PHONE WAY BACK FROM EAR TO AVOID GOING DEAF AS SHE SCREAMED FOR JOY IN THE MIDDLE OF TARGET…….
Another phone call – it’s about 1:30 AM on Thursday and I had one more adoptive parent to call. “Hey Mark, it’s Tom Vanderwell.” “Huh… Oh, Tom, hey let me call you back in 60 seconds.” “Tom, it’s Mark, what’s up?” “Mark, I just got done talking to Northern Air and you and Julie need to be at their terminal tomorrow morning (actually later this morning) at 10:00 to fly out.” (The private plane part is another story.) “Really?” “Yes, Mark, are you awake enough to understand what I’m saying?” “Yeah, the wait is almost over and we’re going to go get our son!”
All over the United States, there were over 60 families who were having the same type of conversations. They were trying to figure out how to get to Miami in time, they were figuring out if they had enough clothes, diapers, jackets etc. Because many of them weren’t expecting their kid(s)to come home for a very long time.