Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We have been unable to have internet access in our room and leaving the kids to post on the blog hasn't been a priority. I just woke up in the middle of the night and the internet is working. I've been journaling and here is day one.
Our Gotcha Day
Today, November 7th, 2011 our family grew by two with the addition of our precious son and daughter. We arrived in Addis just after 8 am, collected our bags and were taken to the hotel. Upon arriving at the hotel we received our itinerary. It stated that we were to be picked up in 40 minutes to head to Hannah’s Hope. We quickly checked into our room and tried to organize all of the toys and clothes to eliminate complete chaos ensuing when we arrived back to the room with the kids. We packed all of the donations together and headed to Hannah’s Hope.
We had been praying that the kids would remember us after three months and be comfortable coming with us. When the van pulled into the gates of Hannah’s Hope I saw our daughter first. She was standing with a group of friends with a curious look on her face I opened the door and waved to her. She walked toward us as we got out of the van. I knelt down to hug her and she hugged back. She was definitely timid, but certainly remembered us… and within moments was full of smiles. While bending down to hug Lucy I heard a familiar sound, the cry of our son. He saw us and started screaming and crying. My momma heart broke, but I totally understand the fear inside of him. He is 22 months old, a typical age for any child to experience stranger and separation anxiety. I had prepared myself for this and knew that God would take care of it. We didn’t spend a lot of time at HH before deciding that it was best to begin our time together at the hotel. Meanwhile Lucy was already ready and determined to leave. She’d begun dragging my backpack to the van and pulling as hard as she could in an attempt to open the door! David scooped Jude in his arms and he began to calm. The van doors opened and both kids hopped in Lucy with excitement and Jude with curious apprehension. As we were driving down the road away from Hannah’s Hope we were met by several of Hannah’s Hopes’ school aged children on their way back from school. Wass, our driver stopped and the kids all said goodbye to their beloved friends and Lucy and Jude got lots of kisses from their sweet friends. It was a beautiful moment, my eyes filled with tears. I was so excited to be starting our lives together but sad for all they are leaving. I’m not sure they understand that they might never see those friends again. For the moment though Lucy was ear to ear smiling and ready to hit the hotel.
We walked into the hotel and prayed as a family. Then we showed the kids around the room. I pulled out their matching elephant toys. I showed them where a few other toys were and we had a snack. Jude remained calm for the most part and is constantly seeking to be held, especially by his daddy. We are so thankful for all the prayers, things are going beautifully. Jude is really into his toy car that shoots forward when pulled backward and they continue to look at the scrapooks that I made for them for the first trip. The books are nearly destroyed, I love it! I’m so glad that they’ve been looking at them.
Lucy then discovered the clothes! She is quite a fashionista. She picked up each article of clothing and shoes and asked if it was for her and if it was obviously for Jude than she’d put it in an organized pile for him. She gestured to me asking if she could get undressed. For hours she kept changing her clothes every 20-30 minutes. I’d take her to look in the mirror and she’d pick a headband for the outfit. SHE IS TOTALLY MY DAUGHTER. If you know me well, you know that I’m nearly OCD about matching and she coordinated everything perfectly, she does it rightdown to the underwear. Ha! She’d then say “daddy, daddy” looking for him to tell her how great she looked. They both say “beep beep” asking us to hold them up to the window to see the cars go by. Their appetites are huge and there is nothing they haven’t liked yet.
So thankful. So blessed. I should try and get some sleep… I’ve been up writing this unable to sleep but enjoying the sweet symphony of snoring!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday Nov 5th, 2011
An Explosion, While Many of You just experienced an Earthquake
As I sit in our hotel room in D.C. (courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines) I am reflecting on our 18+ month adoption journey, the time we spent with the kids in Ethiopia, the 3 months since we’ve seen them, and the last week since we found out we were heading back. It’s an explosion.
As I packed the bags for our journey and folded the little clothes emotions rushed over me. Thankfulness has been so present in my heart. I am just so thankful to have a faithful God who has worked out every detail for our kids to come home.
The wait, though it was long, was still incredibly blessed. I’ve fully enjoyed the adoption process. It has been filled with ups and downs, tears of heartache and tears of joy, uncertainty, and difficulty… and so full of blessings. I’m thankful to have learned more about who I am as an adopted child of God. I’ve grown to know my Father in Heaven in a deeper way. I’ve spent time with my amazing husband; our relationship has grown stronger as we have been pushed to the limits emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Today, I am THANKFUL.
During this week of travel preparation I found myself tearing up more than I did when we were stuck in a time of uncertainty about when we’d see our kids again. The tears are tears of thanksgiving. I am just amazed at how God has brought it all together and we are headed to bring them home. On my way home from a trip to the grocery store (to buy snacks for the kids) my heart just exploded at the traffic light and tears streamed from my face. I glanced over my shoulder at the two little car seats in the back, thanking God for Providence. My babes will be in those seats next week as we make the last leg of our journey home.
This morning as I left our house my heart exploded with joy, knowing that the next time we walk through the door we will have our children in our arms. Amazing.
You are probably thinking the extreme excitement is what is bursting from my heart right now… and it is. BUT, there are so many of feelings rushing over me. I am sad too. Yes, I said that! I am sad to be taking our children from a country that they were born in and love. I am sad that we do not speak the same language and that they will be confused. I am sad to be taking them from everything they know. Yes, they are in a transition home which is basically an orphanage setting, and with all of my heart I believe that we are doing the right thing. God has led us to this and it is in His plan. For the time being though, we are going to turn our kids world upside down. They have friends that they love at Hannah’s Hope, a language that they are familiar with, food that that is familiar, and nannies that have truly loved them for months. Our children have fun with their friends and love the nannies that have been their mothers. For them, this is traumatic. Like I said, this is also beautiful. Children belong in families and nothing can change how I feel about that.
So many people have said, “your kids are going to love it here,” your kids are so lucky,” “I bet your kids are so excited,” etc, etc.
My kids are not lucky, but God our God is a God of redemption, He has blessed all of us as he knit our family together. They have been through more than anyone should ever have to face in their young lives. That’s not luck, that’s tragic. Don’t try to tell us that because they are going to be living in America that their life is better. It is different, but not necessarily better. Ethiopia, or any place for that matter, is beautiful and unique… I’d go so far as to say that the excessive and materialistic lifestyle hurts us more than it blesses our lives. When we are forced to live a simple life and work hard for what we have; we are closer to the heart of God. When you rely on God for everything, worship is so much deeper in our souls.
My thoughts and emotions have been all over the place through this post… as I said, “It’s an explosion.”
We are thankful, blessed, and rejoicing that tomorrow we will be together with our children.
Please join us in prayer for the hearts of Lucy and Jude.
~that they will remember us
~that they will feel our love
~that God will be their comfort
~that they will not be confused
~that their bodies will be healthy for this LONG trip home
~that they won’t be afraid
~and for continued peace.
God is watching over us and we are so thankful for his Providence and provision. Thank you for your support, thoughts, and continued prayers. Let the journey begin!