The night that Blake, Brittany, and Emaline would finally be home after 16 days. The night that would finally culminate with the union of a family. The night that would see the fruition of 14 months of work.
Friday, November 7th, it was finally time.
While Blake and Brittany were on the other side of the world going through their process, there was a big group of us on this side of the world going through our process. Mainly the process of WAITING. Yuck. But we were also busy, busy planning. We wanted their homecoming to be special, so my friend Abby and I worked on something as a surprise. We had shirts made for them, and I think they turned out quite adorable.
My friend LeAnn modeled it for me, but I will have you know she had a sweatshirt on UNDER the shirt, so that explains why it looks a little wonky. (Hi LeAnn!)
By the time LeAnn and I arrived to Nashville there was already a room full!
There was lots of love in that room.
Some seemed cool as cucumbers.
While others were so giddy they were about to explode.
Trust me, I was in that group.
The kids all seemed calm and collected.
But yeah, excited was the key word.
I finally saw a text from Britt, "Landed" and I started yelling, because calm in situations is what I am. That's also when my heart started to beat so hard I was sure I might suffer heart damage.
Layton cracked me up. We were all standing there in a nervous frenzy, and he was just cool as can be tossing a ball in the air. So cute.
Have you ever waited for someone to turn the corner at an airport? Um, it felt like it was taking FOREVER.
Almost every person I spotted I would say, "wait, that might be them!" Then I would realize it wasn't and be so disappointed. Seriously, I think it lasted all night, AT LEAST IT FELT LIKE IT.
Then I knew it really was them and I let out a loud, but brief, scream. Listen, I was excited. Then I waved, oh I don't know, fifteen times, LIKE BIG WAVES. Of course I only know what I was doing, I'm sure Brittany was busy seeing ALL SORTS OF MADNESS, or maybe all she saw was those boys of hers that I know she so terribly missed.
Have I mentioned it was a long hallway? Seemed forever to finally see them UP CLOSE.
But finally, there they stood, in person.
Oh my gosh, the tears, from ALL OF US. Well except Blake, he held it together.
It was beautiful.
Finally a family of FIVE.
For a few minutes I just quit taking pictures, and instead I just took the moments in. Seeing Emaline in person was sorta like meeting a celebrity or something. You've seen lots of pictures of them, heard all about them, and imagined what they might be like, but seeing them in person? SO SURREAL.
At first Emaline just took it all in. (Oh and do you know that they had been traveling for THIRTY HOURS? Yeah and Brittany looked this good? I'd be a crazy mess.)
But the most amazing thing happened, Brittany had described Emaline as shy in new crowds or situations, so we were all expecting her to just remain somber. Well guess who TUNRED ON THE CHARM? It was like she sensed that we were the good guys, or maybe just felt the love and attention? I don't know, but it was great! She was laughing and smiling and playing peek-a-boo, and trust me she had all of us ooooo'ing and ahhhh'ing.
THIS PICURE! This was from someone else on their cell phone, I'm not sure who it was, but look at Em's face looking at her brother. OH MY GOODNESS! Completely ecstatic as if she knew that he was hers. I die.
I've only been around her a brief time so far, but I know she's wonderful.
Hope and Emaline had a few moments together.
Uh yeah, Hope was completely smitten.
I think it will be fair to call it love.
But that's what I call ALL of this.
Love to give up your resources, your time, your heart.
Love to fly around the world to rescue a child.
Love from a God who rescued us, just as Emaline has been rescued.
And love of friends. Many friends.
Just take a look at this....
Hey Richey's, guess what?
YOU ARE LOVED.