A wave of annoyance and frustration fills the cabin of my early flight LX737 from Amsterdam to Zurich, after the pilot’s announcement of our flight delay. People move restless in their chairs and start sharing stories of the rude treatment they experienced when they checked in earlier on. I can hear no one reflect on their own mood after getting up between 4.00 and 6.00 AM. People just expect ground stewards to appear bright and shiny and the plane to travel on time. My Indian neighbour asks me three times what time it is within twenty minutes. “Shall I write it down for you”, I ask him tongue-in-cheek, but he cannot appreciate my senseless humor at 07.42. He has got an ongoing flight to catch to Mumbai and he is clearly nervous about missing it.
I am on this plane to fly back to Nairobi to take over the care for Matthew from Sandra as our paperwork got delayed a second time. Coming home with the whole family is emotionally charged, I realized earlier this week. When Sandra sent a text saying that: “it might all work out this week”, I suddenly felt quite emotional. Even after the second delay, we are in a privileged position though. Many of our fellow adoption couples here are experiencing longer delays and more uncertainty in their procedures.
Dealing with this uncertainty means more than just being stressed or emotional. I think we (adoption parents) are slowly learning a fundamental part of the Kenyan culture. Kenyans are much better at accepting a ‘fait a compli’ for what it is: something you cannot do anything about. They have learnt it the hard way and through issues of live and death compared to which our adoption delays appear insignificant. Another attitude we are adopting is a very simple goal focus. I heard an adoption mother say (after a sixth legal postponement): “No matter what, we will stay here until we go home together”.
After the plane landed in Zurich, I heard my name being announced in the airport whilst I was in the toilet. The steward at the check in yelled at me with a Swiss accent: “You should run: if the doors are closed, they are closed”. Slightly embarrassed I entered the plane. I realized I was not the only one who knew that I was the person delaying the flight. I mumbled ‘sorry’ to the Kenyan engineer sitting next to me. “No ploblem, he said, someone has got to be last”.