This morning, I am stirring my coffee (with spoons that someone dropped off at my house because they overheard me saying we don't have enough spoons for this huge family) and I can't help but smile. We are home, in our house, with everyone sleeping and we are incredibly blessed. You can't look around this house and not see something that someone cleaned, revamped, fixed, or changed to make our house perfect for our arrival.
The last 48 hours have been crazy. Really! I woke up Thursday morning with butterflies in my stomach. Or maybe birds. They were violent! We knew that Thursday was crucial if we were going to get to leave. And we were starting to get nervous that if that ID wasn't there Thursday, we weren't going to get out until after the first of the year. I wasn't real sure how Logan or my mom was going to survive that so I didn't let my mind wander there too far.
We all drove to the US Embassy Thursday morning, knowing we didn't have everything they wanted without the oldest's passport. When we got out of our 2 taxis, Scott already had news. The ID was done!! Scott's exact words were "Praise God from whom all blessing flow." I was jumping up and down! I couldn't believe it....the key to getting us home that day. 1 piece down. I very large piece.
Immediately, Scott and the oldest had to head to the ID office and then take it to the passport office. The passport office knows our faces well and that should be fast. Uh huh, right. Like anything has been easy! While the guys were there, the important people requested things they didn't request with the other 4 and took as much time as they could possibly muster! Several hours actually.
Meanwhile, I was at the US Embassy, being told that even if we had the passport, they weren't sure we could get Visas. I got scolded by more than one person for having plane tickets. But if you've ever purchased round trip tickets, you need a return date!!
The other kids and I waited for several hours at a McDonalds (which I now have a love/hate relationship with after 37 times there in Peru) and I just kept praying: God, you are the only One that can pull this off. No one here wants to cooperate. Everything feels like walking through mud! But if you want us to leave today, You can make it happen! Please make it happen!
I'll skip some parts and just say we didn't have 5 Visas until 4:00PM Peru time. We were finally going home!! The kids response, "Solo Dios". Only God is exactly right! We had one hour left before the offices would close and God is letting us go home!
We had our lovely last dinner of chicken and french fries and packed up to be on our way!
I wish I could convey how fabulous it is to be home. Home awesome it was to lay in my bed last night with all 7 of my kids safe and sound. Most of them sleeping in MY house! And I really can't tell you how many people have made my home so awesome to come home too--my tree is up with wrapped gifts under it (some that we bought and some that my mom and Logan had to help with), rooms are set up and look awesome, new pictures are framed, hot food was cooking in crock pots, everything was clean and organized.... I could go on and on. Our friends and family worked SO hard for 5 weeks; I cannot adequately say 'Thank You'. I also need to mention that Delta was fabulous to us. They let us change dates more than once and never charged us a change fee! They gave us a "special" rate for the 5 kids coming home that saved us thousandS of dollars! I want them to get credit! And Emmanuel Cleaver's office played a large role in us getting Visas that day. After our time in Peru, I was seriously never more proud to be an American. Cheesy, but true!
This story is about God changing and stretching hearts, about His faithfulness, and obedience. It is not about the Sterlings. So many of you have been obedient and been as much a part of this story as us and we are forever grateful! It takes a village. THANK YOU for being our village!