They walked behind airline passengers with cowboy hats. They walked past lit signs advertising center pivots, a big telemarketing firm and the college yearbook photo of Omaha's most famous citizen: Warren Buffett.
Then this young refugee family, who had traveled two days from a camp in Thailand to this new, cold, strange home called Omaha, walked hours ago toward a throng of well-wishers.
Here were friends and relatives who are ethnic Karen, an oppressed minority in Myanmar.
Here were news reporters. And here were people old enough to be their parents with the youngest four — all teenagers — of their nine children. Three of the four were adopted — two daughters from Romania and a son from Russia.
The children had vague memories of what it was like to be a stranger in a strange land. Maddie, 16, was just 2 when she arrived from Romania. But Edita, 17, and Nikita, 13, were both six when they made new homes in Omaha.
The well-wishers made a welcome sign for the Htoo family. They brought balloons. They packed gift bags.
And after the greetings and whirlwind to claim just two bags, the Dornan family introduced the Htoo family to seat belts and car seats and then were off, after midnight, to a north Omaha address and the biggest home the Htoos had ever known.
Baby Moo Ta Lav Say cried all the way there. But the other kids, Salo Lay Htoo, Mar Naw Soe and Nee Gay Doh Mya took the dark drive on empty streets in stride.
This arrival, just hours ago at Eppley Airfield, is the beginning of a journey between two families: Peh Htoo, wife Ka Na Htoo and their four children, and Stu and Dari Dornan and their nine.
We'll tell you more about it in days to come.