Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Lori Pyle wanted to come to the Louisville International Airport at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Her friends encouraged her to wait another five hours.
The flight carrying her husband, Francis, and their three adopted children from the African nation of Sierra Leone wasn't expected to arrive here until 7:37 p.m. And when it did, her emotions overwhelmed her.
"They're here," said Lori as she stood with her hands pressed close to her mouth.
Then she took off, running to embrace 17-year old Sam, the boy she's been trying to adopt for nearly four years. He ran to her four years ago when Pyle was in his native country on a trip to deliver blankets to his orphanage.
He ran away one night and found her at a local hotel, telling her that he and his siblings had been abused. After months of talks with her family in Oldham County, Lori and Francis agreed to adopt 17-year old Sam, his sister Bethany, and their brother Drake.
But the process has been difficult. As Lori Pyle describes it, the nation's process for adoptions is muddled. She fought with the African nation and its government for nearly four years to adopt these children. Their arrival at Louisville International Airport is the culmination of that fight they've now won.
"They're home, they're home," said a tearful Lori Pyle after kissing Sam on the cheek.
Nearly 5,000 miles separated this family until United flight 4684 helped them reunite. The Oldham County family has now grown from a family of five to a family of eight. Lori said the African children were expecting what they called an "American meal" of pizza and chocolate cake.
It's waiting for them when they return home. If hugs and kisses are signs of victory, the Pyles have surely won. They were joined by dozens of friends, family members and classmates of their children.
The thought that they are all home was overwhelming for Lori Pyle, who placed her head in her hands and cried at the thought.