We are so grateful to finally have a concrete embassy date...December 8th!!!
While we are disappointed that we won't be able to bring Karis Lemlem home for Thanksgiving, we're so thankful that we'll be home in plenty of time for Christmas-in 25 days, we will all be under one roof! Plus her health has improved tremendously, so we're relieved of that!
Logistically and financially, the December 8th date is working so much better than if we left this week! Although our plan isn't entirely what we had hoped for, it will still work reasonably well (though don't ask me how well it's working 10 hours into our flight...you might not get the same answer)!
There were several issues to work around. One is Mark's work schedule. While he's allowed to take the time off, he still needs to service all of his stores, and would have to make it up...meaning a double load after our trip. Also, our flights were going to be over $3000 each. So, we were trying to use our airline miles to at least get to the east coast, which would make the international leg that much cheaper. But, in trying for Thanksgiving week, it was no surprise that there were no flights available. Now, we can use our miles!
At this point, I (Wendy) will leave very early a.m. on Dec. 5th, which will get me into Addis at 2:20 a.m. on the 7th. After a (hopefully) good hard sleep, I'll be off to the Transition House to bring Karis out of the orphanage for good and forever!!! That would be 20 days from now, in case you weren't counting! :)
Mark will fly out on the morning of the 10th, getting into Pittsburgh late that night. Karis Lemlem and I will fly out late Friday night and get into Pittsburgh the night of the 11th. We'll have a few precious hours with Mark's parents, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and anyone else who blesses up by showing up! Then we leave Pittsburgh at 6:30 the next morning, and arrive in Anchorage at 2:30 p.m! While we're disappointed to not have more time in Pittsburgh, it still absolutely boggles my mind that it worked out at all, and that Mark's whole trip and my trip from Pitts to Anchorage is all free with miles!
There are still a few financial variables, like the in-country cost (which should be much less now for just one person), & Karis Lemlem's ticket (international flights still charge even for a lap infant), but we know it's going to be much more manageable and we won't need to sell nearly as many shirts! But please keep spreading the word about our t-shirt fundraiser, and thank you to every one who has ordered so far! At this point, we're just about giddy with excitement that we are THIS CLOSE and GETTING CLOSER to bringing that baby girl HOME! We're as happy as she looks!