As young children we develop an idea of what we want to be when we grow up. For some, the vision and drive they have propels them to realize their childhood dreams. For others, certain life events or changes in interests lead them in another direction. Regardless of what happens, I believe it is all part of a bigger plan that God has for us. I know that not everyone believes what I do and many choose to believe that they make their own luck and their own success, but I trust that God has our lives mapped out long before we are born. Sometimes this can be frustrating because as human beings we can be selfish and well…just want what we want. It is hard for some people, including myself sometimes, to understand that occasionally when things do not work out the way we want; it is for a good reason. Tragedy, sickness, death…it is all hard to understand why this would be part of a bigger plan, but I have learned that in all instances, good or bad, something positive results from it if we have faith.
I say all of that to say this….This journey we are on can sometimes be very frustrating. Many parts of the process have not gone as planned. We have wanted everything to go smoothly, but sometimes God has other plans. From the realization that we could no longer have kids of our own to the original thought of adoption, it has never been our plan, it has been God’s plan and every part of it has just worked out. We were able to be in the Ukraine in one of the coldest winters on record. Days before we left to come back home, we were informed that many flights had been delayed or cancelled due to wintry conditions; severe weather…. even for the Ulkraine. Now in Texas, if it snows, everything shuts down. Schools close and Texas roads resemble a hilarious rendition of the Ice Capades , “The Comedy of Errors “ version. My thoughts were that in the Ukraine they are used to this weather and on our day to leave, everything would go as planned. Well I was wrong! I checked flight status up to the point we left the hotel…flight status…on time. About an hour before flight time we realized that we better go get a Snickers, cause we were not going anywhere for awhile. Our original flight was pushed back several times and it was obvious to us that we would not make our connection from Frankfurt back to the states. We spent several hours in line with customer service, changing flights and coming up with a new plan. We finally settled on a later flight that would get us home early the next morning, but would allow us to spend the weekend with our son Carter. By this time was just flat out wondering where the heck we were and if we were ever coming back home. After finally boarding our new plane we sat for an hour waiting for the wings to be de-iced and by the time we were in the air I realized that we might now still miss our new connecting flight. There were many people on that plane in our situation, but I thought that if we could just not lose any more time that there would be a chance.
I spent a lot of time on that plane thinking about a lot of things. One concern was whether our son at home would be mad at us at all. The other thoughts were of Stasik. We hated having to go back home, but with the extended time the process was taking, we did not have a choice. This child that we had loved from the start was now back in the orphanage without our daily visits or playtime; without our hugs and affectionate for 11 days. This is the definition of irony wrapped in a conundrum. It seemed that staying and leaving both carried a burden of guilt and there really is no way to feel good about either situation. On this flight I considered the multitude of health issues that we were going to contend with when Stasik came home with us and also the discussions that Debbie and I had about how to resolve them. The not knowing is the toughest part. Should we admit him to the hospital as soon as we land or should we wait to look for symptoms? If we do take him to the hospital…where? We knew that Texas Children’s Hospital was our best option for diagnosing the needs of a child with Down ’s syndrome, but the wait to get in there could be months. We were still not sure what G.I. or heart issues we were dealing with because the Russian to English medical translation left so much room for interpretation. I had prayed for days that we would find the correct answer, but at that time I just wanted to make my connection, get home to see my son, and then start making these tough decisions.
When our plane landed we realized that we had 20 minutes to make the connection. The Frankfurt airport is not really big, but it was still gonna take some effort and luck to make the next plane. First hurdle….Instead of going out through the jet bridge to unload we were all going to be put on a bus and taxied to the terminal. That took five minutes! Second hurdle..passport control. This was only slightly relevant due to short lines. Third hurdle…extra airport security station. Take everything out of your pockets, place your bags on the conveyer belt, walk this way, put it all back in your pockets… three minutes! We can still make it! Plane leaves at 5:00, we arrive at gate with one minute to spare only to see the plane move away from the gate and start its slow crawl to its runway. It was at that time that I became very upset with the situation. We worked so hard to catch this flight and missed it because they left early! That flight was the last one leaving back to the U.S. and we found ourselves stuck in Frankfurt overnight. We really wanted to get home and now we would be away for one more day. Needless to say, we were very disappointed.
The next day we woke up and went to the airport to catch our plane back to Texas. We boarded and took our seats at the back of the plane. The seats filled up around us and as we prepared for takeoff, this man to our left started talking with us. He asked us how we were doing and where we were coming from. We told him we were coming from the Ukraine and filled him in about our last three weeks. He told us that he had a cousin with Turner’s syndrome, which is also a condition caused by a chromosomal abnormality. He asked about Stasik’s health and if he had any heart issues. We explained that he had had a surgery and that the incision marks were in Stasik’s back and not his chest. He started explaining that some surgeries done on infants for congenital heart issues are done this way and is common in European countries. We asked him if he was a doctor and he said that he was actually a cardiac surgeon from Houston. Coincidentally, he also said that his office was right across the street from the Texas Children’s Hospital and two of the best pediatric surgeons in the nation work with him in his office. After continued conversation he also added that if we needed to get our new son admitted that we only needed to call him and he would get him in the next day. Prayers answered!
There are no coincidences!!