Monday, August 17, 2009

At the Airport

On Saturday we went to the DM airport to pick up Jean (pronounced John - with a french twist) who is the young man coming from Lebanon as the second student in Jake's hosting program. Jean will be staying with a host family in Pella, IA and he will attend school at Pella Christian. Jean had been in contact with Jake for about 2 years...with the initial connection being basketball. They had emailed back and forth over time, and eventually Jake found someone to sponsor Jean's schooling here in the U.S. and then Jake found a host family for Jean shortly after. On Saturday, while we were waiting in the airport lobby for Jean to come off the plane we noticed a HUGE crowd had gathered there in the lobby, also waiting for someone. It was easy to see that this group of people was all together, and a few of them had signs saying "Welcome Home, Brianna, Brayden & Christopher". I thought that they must be waiting for some students to come back from a missions trip, as I noticed that many people in the group had polos on with a church name embroidered on the pocket. So, we stood there and waited. A few people got off the plane and Jake and I did not spot Jean yet (I might add that Jean had sent Jake pictures of himself so that we could recognize him, but Jake hadn't opened up the email attachment before we left for the airport.) Then, all of a sudden the huge crowd that had gathered started clapping and smiling as they spotted whoever they were waiting for at the top of the stairs. Some of them even started view was blocked by the stair wall because of where I was standing, but then, as they came down the stairs, this is what I saw:

Yes, you guessed it, this family had just adopted 3 children, and we were watching their welcome home party unfold.

Of course, I was overcome with emotion and tears just started rolling down my face. I looked over at Jake who was standing right next to the stairs as this family had made their way down, and he had the biggest smile on his face and was clapping along with the rest of the crowd. It was just the neatest thing to watch this all unfold, especially since I didn't expect this big group to be waiting for a new family who had just adopted. Of course Jake had to find out the details right away, which I was so glad because the entire time I had a million questions that I wanted to ask this family! It turned out that they had started the adoption of the two younger children, but then when they went to bring them home (they adopted from Haiti), they found out that they had an older brother, so they couldn't imagine leaving him there - they adopted him as well. Their adoption from start to finish took 27 MONTHS! So, over 2 years! WOW! It was the coolest feeling to be standing there, watching all of this, and I just cried and cried the entire time.

A little while later we found out that Jean had already gotten off the plane, and we missed him coming down. Actually we saw him as one of the first passengers who came down the stairs, but we didn't think it was him, so we kept waiting. Jean also saw us, but thought Jake looked too young to be the President of a basketball organization, so he didn't think it was us (Jake had even told Jean that he had a shaved head, and he told him what he was wearing, but Jean still thought Jake looked too young). :) I think all that happened so that Jake and I could see this adoption welcome home party. If we would have known it was Jean right away, we would have headed to baggage claim and missed it all since Jean was one of the first passengers off. On top of all that, Jean was actually supposed to be coming in a flight the night before, but he got stuck in immigrations in Chicago, missed his original flight, spent the night in the Chicago airport, and hence was scheduled the next morning for the flight with the adoption family.

Later, we asked Jake why he didn't open up the email attachment with the pictures of Jean beforehand, and Jake said because that would have ruined the mystery and excitement of wondering which one Jean was. In Jake-world, this makes total sense, and after he said that I thought that I could have guessed that was what he would say. I am SO glad he didn't open up the pictures beforehand, because we would have missed this amazing experience!

Much more on Jean tomorrow. His story is awesome in itself, so I will save it for tomorrow!

P.S. I just emailed our social worker about this experience at the airport, and it turns out she was the caseworker for this family and their adoption! We had no idea! How cool!


Lori said...

Wow, that got the tears-a-flowin' this morning! Neat story. Not surprised, just amazed (again) at God's timing. ~Mom

Tamara B said...

how cool! Isn't it great when God does what he wants when he wants!

Jen G. said...

Well Hello Team Sullivan. Funny how God's sense of humor works. We have been on a long Journey, but God has been very faithful and we look forward to meeting you soon and sharing about it in person. Thanks for being apart of our story even though you didn't know it when you went to pick up your friend. When we started we thought is would be a very private adoption. And God has made it very public and every day he reminds us it is not about us, it is about him and him recieving all the glory. Many blessings, The gibson family

Jon and Jennifer said...

Wow, how exciting brought tears to my eyes!! God works in fabulous ways!!

Kari said...

Love that story! God is pretty amazing like that :)

Michelle said...

AH! So cool - I love how God works. All the little "coincidences" that He turns into great big blessings - what an amazing God we serve!!! So glad you were able to be encouraged and experience this Janel!

And - LOL @ Jake's thinking about the email, etc. So funny :)

Stephanie said...

What a blessing! Thanks for sharing your story!

Jen said...

I would have been crying, too! So glad God let you catch a glimpse of the adoption homecoming!