The trip here

View from our bedroom window.  
The sun is rising over the city and though it is nearly 10pm at home, I am just waking up from a full night's sleep.  Whether I slept so well from the sheer exhaustion of travelling or whether I have side-stepped jet leg altogether remains to be seen.  Either way, I am thankful to have a full recovery day ahead; nothing to do but eat, drink, sleep, and sight-see.  

Our trip here was nearly perfect.  Every flight left on time and arrived earlier than expected. And ours bags arrived safely too, which is always a great relief.
Waiting for our first flight. 
Taking off!  This is it!! 
 John and I loved seeing the four different airports and watching all the people mill about.  There is a certain electricity in the air at international airports- a palpable mix of excitement, nerves, and anticipation as travellers come and go.  We were especially amused at the frankness of the Dutch at the Amsterdam airport.  When we left Detroit 8 hours earlier a late passenger would hear the announcement, "Mr. Smith please report to gate A40 right away."  But in Amsterdam the voice came across with a much more direct message, "Mr. Van Smith, come to gate D8; You are delaying your flight."   

Wouldn't want to be that person!

Now we know why all our Dutch relatives just tell it like it is.  It's just who they are.  

The Russians have a different public face altogether: namely, silence.  Shortly before our final landing, the flight attendants handed out customs forms to each of us.  John and I were sitting across the plane aisle from each other, communicating with lip reading and hand motions how to fill out the form together.  When we landed and got in line to go through customs, we were happy to see other couples going through together.  We got to the "passport control" agent, ready with clear answers about our visit, remembering not to smile (thank you Russian tourist book); the agent took our passports, read our forms, stared us down- studying our faced to see that they matched our passport photos- stamped, stamped, stamped, and slid the passports back to us.  That was it.  Not a word.  Honestly I wish we could fill out that little form and have such an easy go of thing when we crossed the Canada/USA border.  Cheers for Russian efficiency!

So practically speaking we could not have asked for a better trip.  Physically speaking, we did pretty well too.  Out first flight across state was only 26 minutes long- less than half the anticipated time- due to strong winds, but those winds also made for a very, very bumpy ride.  About 15 minutes into the flight I started feeling a little queasy.  20 minutes in I looked at John and said, "I think we'll need to pick up some Dramamine at the next stop."  He agreed, being a little green in the face himself.  Six minutes later when we landed we were both breathing deeply and willing ourselves to feel better.  Thank goodness we had a long layover with lots of time to walk around, drink some Sprite and chew on peppermints.  We felt much better after that, though a bit of the queasiness lingered, which was probably just as good as it meant we did not fight any hunger pains for the duration of our travels.
Relief from motion-sickness! 
The best part of our flight for me was the emotion of it all.  When we took off from Detriot, leaving the USA behind, I felt as though my heart would burst.  John and I held tightly to each other's hands, both overcome with the realization that this was it.  We were on our way to our son.  It was really happening.  For that entire 8 hour flight I fought back tears every time I thought about meeting him.  I thought about what it took to get us to this point: that moment in my car, the hours in prayer, the discerning conversations with friends, the fundraising, the pancake breakfast, the saving, the paperwork, the waiting.... the meaning of it all was causing my heart to burst in the best possible way.  For the first time I think I felt with full force and all gravity just how beautiful this adoption really is.  And still my heart leaps to think that tomorrow will be the most beautiful moment, the moment when all the power of the past will be met with all the hope of the future and we will finally meet our little boy. 
Flying over the ocean to meet our little boy. 
Yesterday after John and I had gathered our suitcases at our destination, we walked through the airport looking for our facilitator.  We saw her right away holding a sign with our agency's name on it.  A beautiful woman: stylish, warm, and with more than 15 years experience facilitating Russian adoptions behind her: entirely capable.  Tired and weary from our flight, overwhelmed in a strange land, she seemed as much angel as human to us.  After greeting us so kindly, she called her driver to pick us up.  As we waited for the car to pull up, she- with her soft and beautiful Russian accent- said to us, "Your little boy- he is my favourite.  So smart and cute.  We are all so happy when we heard he will have a loving family.  He is all our favourite." 

Be still my mama's heart.  Those were the first words we heard in Russia. And it was the perfect thing to hear.

With a heart so full it could burst,



  1. Looooooove. Can't wait for more updates!

  2. Oh my goodness I'm in tears. Praying that everything goes smoothly. I am soooo excited for you guys and I don't even know you IRL :) Loads of love, peace and joy to you both.

  3. What a gift to hear those precious words! Glad everything is going well so far.

  4. Just awesome! He will be one really, truly, blessed, little boy to have you both as his parents.

  5. May God bless dear jillian and john in this new little miracle of your lives!!
    Love and prayers for your journey and for your first meet!!

    Mr and Mrs Plas
    John and Marg Heideman

  6. oh my goodness! I am so jealous! you are moving forward. :) AweSOME!

  7. I'm so excited for y'all! Can't wait for more updates!

  8. Anonymous7/23/2012

    I love the sunrise picture! Praying that your meeting with your son will go smoothly, that your nerves will be calm, and that you will feel His peace and presence with you wherever you are.

  9. What a beautiful view! Glad you guys made it safely! Can't wait to hear about your precious little boy!


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