They were scheduled to fly home today, May 7th, but the world changed during their short trip to India to adopt their little girl, Sarah, from an orphanage in Kolkata.
The trip in was smooth, the 15-hour flight over the North Pole from Chicago over Russia and into Delhi comfortable. Upon arrival, they learned of a pilot strike in progress and that their flight to Kolkata was cancelled. They joined hands and prayed and in short order, God answered. Minutes later they were sitting in a plane to Kolkata with one of the only pilots that showed up for work.
They left the dilemma of their flight back to Delhi for their final adoption appointments in the Lord’s hands and focused on getting their girl.
Sarah stared at her new parents with big brown eyes filled with fear. Her shrill cries slipped away as her new mommy softly sung the words of Amazing Grace in her ear. She had never seen a man, so initially, she was frightened of him, too. But a few nights in their local hotel gave them time to get acquainted and soon Sarah was smiling and checking out her new daddy’s face–stubble, eyeballs, etc.
Back at the airport, the kids found their flight to Delhi cancelled, but God again provided and they boarded a plane and made it on time to their Saturday appointment with the doctor for Sarah’s final checkup. One more day and they would be at the US Embassy to acquire the final paperwork to adopt Sarah. That one day changed everything.
Sunday, May 1st the news broke that Usama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan–approximately 400 miles north of New Delhi. The US Department of State issued a global travel advisory to all Americans in anticipation of Al Qaeda reprisals and I was gripped with terrorizing fear. Twelve hours ahead of us, our kids were already at the US Embassy in Delhi, battling bureaucracy and a ‘code-red’ due to the breaking news.
A million ‘what if’s’ rushed through my brain. All the news reels and pictures of the past 10 years of terror since 9/11 flashed in front of my eyes–Please God! Get my kids out of India!!
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night. Though my kids apologized for calling me at 2:30 a.m., I was so very grateful to hear their voices.
The next seven hours I worked with them through e-mail and Skype to get their flights changed. They wanted out. They wanted to be home. I wanted them home! We couldn’t reach their travel agent. The airlines wouldn’t help them because of the strike. Then, I grabbed the paper my daughter-in-law left me with important phone numbers. The phone number of the travel agent who handled their flights to Vietnam when they adopted their son was still on the sheet, so I called him. The agent was in Colorado sound asleep–it was 3:30 a.m. mountain time.
Finally a human voice! The groggy agent was kind and helpful and soon our kids had tickets on a non-stop flight that left Delhi at 1:30 a.m. India time. But even that was a struggle! Back and forth it went until finally–we thought–they were home free.
What was the deal? Why were there so many obstacles? Why was it a cinch to get into that country and not out of it? We set the prayer chain in motion, “Deliver us from evil, O God!”
My kids faced a myriad of obstacles that day. Out of a sea of 112 degree heat, they faced armed guards on high alert at the embassy, obstinate government employees and an unexpected trip to an “office” buried deep in the slums of Delhi to obtain a form that had to be presented to the embassy before departure–a form the embassy already had! On and on it went, all the way to the airport where the airlines refused to sell our son a ticket for Sarah to board the plane with him and his wife!
I didn’t sleep Monday night either.
But now it’s May 7th and my kids are safe at home. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I have the most priceless gift on earth: safe and happy children.
You, O Lord, delivered them from evil! I know You have great and mighty plans for our little Sarah. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever!!
My heart and prayers are with all Mothers whose children are in harms way.