By Carole Towriss
I’m not a huge fan of air travel. The lines, the straight-jacket chairs, food that tastes like cardboard… But without airplanes, I would not have half of my family.
Three of our four children are adopted from Kazakhstan. We brought Mira home in 1998 when she was three months old. After almost three weeks, including a ten-day delay, we were finally able to board the plane from the then-capital of Almaty. The airline stocked its fleet with old Aeroflot (Russian) planes, and when Russia doesn’t even want them anymore … lets just say they weren’t in tip-top shape.
On our walk across the tarmac, my husband casually remarked, “I think those tires are bald.” When we finally took our seats, I noticed the random pattern of dents all over the inside walls. It looked like someone had taken a sledgehammer to them. The engine noise was so loud I half expected it to fall out of the sky at any moment. Needless to say, when we lined up in Moscow to board the plane for home, I wanted to kiss the gleaming Delta plane waiting for us. Maybe even the captain.
Two and a half years later we returned to Kazakhstan for our two youngest, seven-month-old Dara and six-month-old Johnny. Our flights this trip were grueling. Thirty-eight hours with no sleep. Four flights: DC to JFK, to Moscow, to Almaty, to the new capital of Astana, smack in the barren middle of the country. The last flight was on a tiny propeller plane with zero legroom. My husband and one of the other dads sat with their knees nearly to their chests for several hours. It looked pretty comical.
This trip was much faster, and we were in and out in ten days. In an old-world country like Kazakhstan, though, there are no seat-belt laws, no car seat regulations, and cribs are not readily available. So once they handed the babes over to us in court, we carried them almost 24/7.
When we got on our third and last flight on the way home, the flight attendants must have noticed our weak arms and red eyes, and convinced some kind souls to give up their bulkhead seats, the ones with the built-in bassinets. For the first time, both children fell asleep at the same time! Like first-time parents, we laid them into the baby-sized boxes attached to the wall, held our breath, slid our arms out from under our precious bundles.
Collapsed into our seats and smiled.
We arrived the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. Our relatives greedily reached for the newest family members, then pulled back. “Is it OK? Can we hold them, or do you want to keep them?”
I managed a weary grin. “Nah, I held them across two continents and an ocean. You hold them for a while. I’ll cook.”
Like Carole, Mercy didn’t always enjoy air travel. She would do anything for her father and Lacewell Limited however…
No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?
Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?
Carole Towriss and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. She is the author of biblical novels In the Shadow of Sinai and By the Waters of Kadesh. She also writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at http://www.CaroleTowriss.com.