Thursday, June 16, 2011

fiona's homecoming

a little over a year ago i did this post to tell you about my lovely niece fiona and the amazing journey that my sister and brother-in-law were on to adopt her from Uganda.  and even though I failed to post an update on fiona's room after i finished it you can finally see the pictures now!  

this is the first thing you see when you enter her room, arching branches with an owl to watch over her as she sleeps!

to the left is her dresser with some photos of the first trip sara & dave made to uganda, an adorable owl print from target and a mirror, apparently it's a pretty big deal to have a mirror in the house in uganda because she loves looking at herself

to the right of the headboard is the only window in the room, fiona's name is on the wall above her toybox and, at some point, will be a beautifully framed picture of some sort.  the butterflies are from target and they were beyond easy, they're plastic forms that clip onto the attached pushpins, you just stick them in the wall and rotate the butterfly whichever direction you want!

the butterflies continue around the corner and over her desk which holds more photos, a lamp and a few stuffed animals that tyler won in a claw game

the photos on her dresser, as i mentioned, are from sara & dave's first trip to uganda which, as i talked about in my first post, we were hoping would be their only trip to uganda.  you can read the full story here but i'll post a short refresher for you.  after several weeks in uganda they learned that they weren't going to be getting a court date for quite some time and because of some trouble with the lawyer they hired there it might take even longer so they returned home, sad that they couldn't bring their daughter back and frustrated.  several months later sara & rachelle returned (without dave & mark) because they finally had a court date thanks to corrections in their paperwork by their new lawyer (also named sarah).  after making a huge amount of progress with their court dates, both sara & rachelle were granted full adoptions of their daughters.  unfortunately though, before they could celebrate too much, the american embassy denied their paperwork for visas, basically saying they didn't believe that the girls were orphans and that sara & rachelle must have paid off the judge or somebody to bring the girls home.  because of their immense faith sara & rachelle again returned home without their girls, put their faith in God and prayed that soon the embassy would grant their visas.  after several months we finally received the news that their visas has been granted and that sara & mark would be returning to uganda to finally bring their daughters home.  the first step was to get plans together for an airport greeting followed by a small welcome party at the brodzinski's house when they got home.  wednesday, may 25th, we piled into two vehilces and set out for chicago.  tyler and i practiced the self-photoing in the backseat while papa bruce (my father-in-law) drove.

 the closer and closer we got to chicago tyler kept asking about the sears tower.  i told him how it was renamed the willis tower and talked about how soon we'd be able to see it.  at first i was surprised that it wasn't on the horizon but figured we just weren't in the right spot.   then, almost magically, the clouds started to part and we saw that it was much closer than we though, just heavily veiled in fog!

we made it to the airport and quickly found their flight on the big board... see the post for amsterdam at 1:22pm? do you also see that the time on the clock is 1:40pm? ugh... this is why i dislike waiting at the airport, as it turns out, their flight never showed 'arrived' on the board, it just kept moving up the line until it disappeared.

so we waited... and tyler played with the welcome home sign he made

and after a couple of hours (seriously) we got a call from Mark's cell phone asking where we were because they had exited the gate (not the gate we were waiting at after being directed by airport staff) so we ran to the other gate and there they were!

slightly dazed and definitely very tired but both families were very happily reunited

fiona was definitely tired and overwhelmed by all of the attention but

and she stayed close as we exited the airport as well

after arriving home we picked up lots and lots of fried chicken, had many more family members and dear friends join us and welcomed everyone home.  fiona kept sneaking away to explore her room and several times focused on this photo, one of the large group of family and friends in uganda that had helped her survive over the last six years

a few days later was a bittersweet sunday at church as the entire harris prairie family welcomed racheal and fiona home we also said goodbye to the grahams who left for seattle that afternoon.  thankfully we got some pictures of everyone together one last time before they left.

we were so glad to have dr. larry williams, our senior minister join in some of the photos

within a week or so fiona had pretty much adapted to the family and church family and attention and was surprised by some neighbors with lots of hand-me-downs, including this bike which, thanks to tyler's training wheels and an old helmet, she was ready to ride!

i could post for days and days all of the pictures we've taken of this newest member of our family but, i suppose, it would just like any other family welcoming a new child.  we're just so thankful to be able to say 'welcome home fiona!'

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