We moms hung around awhile after the children left in the caravan of vans. We were commiserating and consoling each other and not yet ready to put all the emotions aside and move on. Then we went back to quiet homes to maybe catch up on laundry or have a peaceful meal. Some will begin paperwork to adopt. For us, we will begin again the lives we left behind when Diana came.
The phone rang. One of the host moms was activating the phone chain. The kids may miss their flight! They had left about 1:30 to catch the 6:40 plane to Moscow leaving from JFK. Plenty of time! What had happened? Traffic was at a standstill. Pray! she said. The children may be coming back!
Coming back?? We couldn't believe it. That didn't seem like a good plan. Surely there were other alternatives. Those poor kids--on the road so long only to turn around and come back, then do it over again tomorrow. I thought of Diana and how difficult sitting still for so long must be for her. She had refused to go to the bathroom before they left church. Thank goodness I'd let her take the bag of fruit. Right before we left the house she had packed up all the fruit we had in the house and put it in a plastic bag. Ripe bananas, mushy peaches, all of it. She had also wanted to take the "ar-boos!"--a big watermelon I had on the floor. I thought at the time what a mess it would make, but I let her take the fruit (except the ar-boos.) I'm so glad she now had something to eat.
We waited anxiously for a phone call to let us know what happened. No one knew the details but they did get on the plane. The next morning our coordinator sent this e-mail. She had been in one of the vans with the children:
"The adventure continued on the way to the airport! We got 13 miles from the airport and the traffic essentially stopped. We inched along for about 1 1/2 hours only traveling 2-3 miles. We were on the phone to Aeroflot and to anyone we could think of to pray...It looked hopeless at 6:00 when we were still 10 miles away. So we took an exit to rethink what we could do...We pulled back onto the road to JFK and in doing that we avoided the flooding that was holding up all the traffic. When we got back on the road the traffic was flowing without a problem.
I had bugged my husband Bill to call 911 so we could get a police escort. He said that was silly as the NYPD wouldn't respond to that. When we got back on the road to JFK, an unmarked police car came out of nowhere in the 3rd lane with his lights flashing. Bill called the other drivers and said, 'Follow me!' We all fell in behind the police car going 80 mph. All the traffic moved over and we passed through like Moses parting the Red Sea. God provided the police escort! Someone later asked if the person driving the police car had a halo and wings! We raced to JFK and practically threw the kids out of the cars. It was now 6:20. The flight was supposed to leave at 6:40. At 6:40 the kids were still in the security line but the flight was delayed 30 minutes due to high winds." They got on the plane. "The boys in our car thought that driving at 80 mph behind a police car was one of the coolest things on the whole trip!"
After their long, long ride to the airport, those kid had an even longer flight to Moscow and then a long, long train ride to Chuvashia. I hope they are safe and in their familiar surroundings tonight. What brave children they are.