Making Good out of a Volcano

Thursday morning, the day before we leave for Ethiopia. I’m at the bus stop with the kids, and one of the moms asks me if I heard about airports closing down. Something about volcano dust.

Interesting , I think. Not a big deal. Airports close down all the time. A lot can happen, and get cleared up, in 30 hours. No worries.

I hear a quick mention on NPR. Volcano dust from Iceland. Not safe for planes to fly through. Airports closed in Britan, Germany. Hmm. What a bizzare occurance.

Get to work, plough through my emails. Gotta get things in order before the departure and lots to do today. Can I get it all done? Oh yeah, better check out that volcano story. Uh-oh, this doesn’t look good …


What a crazy couple of days this has been for us. Who would’ve thought that after all that waiting, after all the things that could hold us up, sailing through Ethiopian court, a quick referral, avoiding new regulations that require two trips … we get sidelined by a volcano. Really?

Thousands of flights. Millions of passengers. We’re just a statistic in all this and can’t expect extra treatment, but I keep thinking that this is not a vacation or a business trip. Our baby is waiting for us.

So Thursday afternoon and all evening we slogged through phone calls with our travel agent and the airlines. The airlines confirmed that our flight would be cancelled. No more optimistic thoughts now.

We had to keep playing different scenarios. What if the sky cleared up tomorrow; would our flight resume? If we postpone a week, can we get the same flights? How do we work with the US Embassy, which is very strict with their appointments? What’s the cost to change? How about a different airline? How about a different city? Dubai? Cairo? Rome? Johannesburg? Tokyo?

Our options seemed to narrow to next to nothing. Europe became out of the question. Finally, one of the other families found a flight on a different airline leaving out of DC, going through Rome. It would get us there a day late, but still on time for the Embassy appointment.

Our travel agent confirmed it, then gave us the news that it would cost twice as much as the original tickets. We would have to take one airline on the way there (and get a ride to Detroit) and we could keep our current flight for the way back, assuming Amsterdam would be cleared up in a week.

We really felt this was the only option, and jumped on it. There are four other families (out of the 8 scheduled) who will take the same flight.

It’s been a day of guessing, second guessing, and ultimately giving over to God and saying We Trust. Seems to be a theme for this whole adoption experience.

So here is the upside to this whole mess. We get to bring our baby home, and only lose one day. We had an extra day to get our house in order, finish up a few work projects, and pack our stuff. We had coffee with a friend, who surprised us with our favorite lattes. Also got some much-needed extra time with the kids, who were feeding on our stress and acting out. I took a run, exhaling and pushing the stress out. Along the way I watched spring coming through the wetlands and sun making its way around gigantic clouds. Kristi connected with other families. We have one less day to have to find people to watch the kids. And we have to trust more than we would on our own.

All good things.

So off we go tomorrow to continue the journey and start a great big new chapter. Look forward to posting pictures soon – watch for Facebook next week.

Thanks for all your prayers, well-wishes and support!


  1. Hi Jesse & Kristi,
    Thank you for passing along your blog. There’s alot we can learn from you “seasoned” adoptive parents and I’m sure we’ll be calling on your expertise as we get closer(-: We’re praying for your trip. We look forward to seeing pictures of your new little one! Luke & Janine Nieuwenhuis

  2. I have been watching your journey via FB, but wanted to stop by and read your blog. I still cannot believe this volcanic ash business…SO crazy. I am glad you found another route there!!! Hugs to you from across the Atlantic. Can’t wait to see pics of your babe when you get back!

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