While we're eating, there are 2 big tables of people next to us that start commenting about the beautiful Miss Kieren. They tell us how they're on their way to the airport to meet their friends who are coming home after having just adopted a baby in China. We say "Robin & Marty?" and they say "Yeah!" so we yell out "Us too!" What a coincidence! It was pretty cool. Turns out they were a group of church friends.
So we get to the airport and there are many friends and family waiting, several signs and some balloons, too. Very festive. LOL! Luckily, the flight was on time. Once we see on the arrival board that the plane has landed we line up on both sides of the hallway to await them. Other folks who are exiting are commenting on our signs. The signs say things like "Welcome Home Maddy" and "We love you Maddy" and "Welcome to America Maddy". People are saying things like "Man I wish I was Maddy. Look at the reception she's getting." We also got some "Go Bucks!" since so many of us were wearing our OSU shirts. There was just this great sense of excitement in the air.
The suspense continues to build as more and more people are exiting. We start yelling out to other passengers asking what plane they were on. We got through Houston and Atlanta before we finally got to the Chicago people. That's the one!! Word spreads through our group that this is their flight! More excitement builds. A group of young college girls getting off the plane recognize Sarah (Robin's daughter) and tell her they thought that was her mom they saw on the plane. They ask why we're all there and what we're doing. She tells them. So they decide to wait and watch the big arrival, too.
At least now we know they made the flight and it's just a matter of time before they round that corner. More anticipation as the passengers de-boarding starts to thin out. Still no Maddy! I jokingly yell out to one of the passengers "Have you seen Maddy?" I didn't expect a response but she asks if that's the little Chinese baby. We say yes and she tells us that she thought she saw them stop off at the restroom.
The flight crew then runs the gauntlet of our excited, nervous, happy welcoming party. One of the attendants asks if this is for the little Chinese baby. We tell her that it is and she gets a little teary saying "Oh that's so sweet. She's just adorable."
But still no Robin and Marty and Maddy!
We wait and wait and wait. No more passengers. Where are they?!
All of a sudden off in the distance we can hear these little rhythmic squeaks echoing on the tile floor. I look at Sam and yell out "Squeaky shoes!" Everyone falls silent. Then down the hallway we see them round the corner and a cheer erupts from the crowd.
Marty wearing his OSU jersey pushing the stroller. Robin wearing an OSU tee shirt. Maddy wearing an OSU cheerleader outfit and squeaky shoes holding momma's hand and walking on her own! In the pic above, you can see the back of Sarah's head as she waits patiently behind the red security line.
Maddy meets her big sister for the first time as she wonders who all these crazy Buckeye fans are.
At last the sisters are together. Finally. Maddy did beautifully. No tears from her. She looked a bit shell shocked after their long trip and seeing all these crazy people in the airport. But she was amazing. She'd let others hold her for a few seconds but always wanted to go back to momma.
At one point, she walks over to Marty and holds her arms out to be picked up. He picks her up and puckers up. She leans in and gives him a big kiss. I just melted. She's a daddy's girl already. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in the moment of watching it that I missed the photo op. So you'll just have to use your imagination.
It was so amazing to be able to witness all of this first hand. I was so happy to be a part of it. But considering my mood of late, it was a little bittersweet, too. I had a slight meltdown when Robin asked me if I wanted to hold Maddy. The tears started to flow a little but luckily she wanted to go right back to momma so I had a moment to try to pull myself together. Marty came over, gave me a big hug and told me that it'd be okay. I remember blubbering a little about the wait being so hard. He just said "I know it is. Hang in there." I felt bad for a second about being such a bummer but then I realized that it was okay. Cuz they get it. They understand. So I pulled it together and we went on with the celebration.
It was all so wonderful. Such excitement. And absolute pure joy to see this little girl home at last with her forever family. The pics don't do her justice either cuz Maddy is even more beautiful in real life. Marty and Robin looked exhausted. But happy. Very happy. Even when they found out that only one piece of their luggage made it, it couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces.
Click here for more pics.