Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 weeks... and loosing count

It's hard to believe how quickly time is flying now that our sweet M and B are home. They've only been home for 10 days, yet they are fitting into our family beautifully. That's not to say that it's been an easy road, but it HAS been beautiful.

Just to recap a bit... I know that I've shared with a few of you our experience in Ethiopia when we went back to get our kids after Embassy FINALLY cleared us, but have yet to blog about it... so here goes.

We arrived in Ethiopia on Tuesday morning, Nov. 15th. After dropping our luggage and brushing our teeth, we headed over to the Transition Home to see our littles and take them to be with us... forever. Okay, gonna be honest here: I had HIGH expectations. I did. I know that I shouldn't have, but I did. I didn't have any expectations on our first trip, as it was there first time meeting us... and other than a few care pkgs, they really didn't know us. But for THIS trip, my expectations were high... like in the sky-high.

Now, let me explain. They were high because we had sent NUMEROUS care pkgs., videos of us talking to them (thanks Vermes and Marshalls), pictures etc. between July -when we met them- and November when it was time to bring them home. AND, they had clearly bonded to us well when we were there in July. So, I just assumed that when they saw us there, that time would slow down, the music would begin to play, the angels would sing and we would run to each other in slow motion with open arms and tears streaming down our faces. um... okay. so I was a little off base. What can I say, I'm a dreamer.

Well, here's how it REALLY went down. B was still at the older Transition Home, so he would be coming through the front gate. M was getting her pants changed, so she would be coming through the front door on the famous porch (any of you that have adopted through AWAA know that famous porch). How were we supposed to greet both of them coming from 2 different areas??? Did we stand at the gate waiting for B?? or at the porch waiting for M?? and what about pictures. How could we possibly get the best angle and pictures if our back was to B... or to M as they were coming out to us. Yes, I know, pretty ridiculous the things that went through my head. But this was BIG, people. It needed to be captured on film! Don't forget the singing angels!

Thankfully our dear friends, Aaron and Nichole Marshall were there and were kind enough to wait to bring their boy out so that they could take video and pictures of our "gotcha day".

Back to my expectations... the pictures pretty much speak for themselves, but I'll add commentary just in case you need it.

Here we are... waiting... dreaming... expecting those angels to sing.

M came out first. There were no singing angels, except in my head... that stopped the minute I heard M screaming and running the other direction to avoid me! The only tears were her tears streaming down her face out of sheer panic and fear. Yeah. It actually could've been comical, if I wasn't soo heartbroken. Not comical - the fact that she was terrified, but the fact that I had such grandiose ideas of how it would play out.

B came in and he seemed happy, yet a bit overwhelmed so he just ran around... then was thrilled to see that we brought him a backpack loaded with treats/toys. He was in heaven.

And still M continued to cry. Scream really. The thing is: our agency has an AWESOME group of nannies that cared for our kids. They have an incredible bunch of travel guides (Yonas, Eyob and T) as well as one kick butt driver (Dawitt) that the kids absolutely adored. They know these guys well. They bonded with them and the nannies over the months that they were in their care. It was HARD for them to say goodbye.

Things got better once we left the Transition Home... well, a little better. M stopped crying... as long as Jeff was holding her, and I wasn't. Seriously. She was bonding with him, and pretty much punishing me. Again, comical, yet clearly her heart was aching. and although it wasn't about me... it's NEVER been about me, inadvertently it ended up affecting me... I had stored up soo much love for these two precious kiddos, and couldn't wait to draw them in. and well, one in particular was kicking me to the curb.

This was honestly crushing to my heart... and it was such an intense look into M's wounded heart. It broke me. I was sad... for her, for me for us. I gave her space... for 2 days.

At the end of the two very long days, Jeff said, "it's time... she needs to know that you're her mom. that you're never leaving." So... I put on the handy dandy sling and slipped her in... for 8 hours I wore her on me.

It was the BEST thing EVER. She started to show signs of at least tolerating me. Then signs of liking me. YES! There was hope!

Jeff just kept reassuring me, "we just need to get home. Once we get home it will be so much better." Well, as usual, he was right. It did get so much better.

Each day gets better and better. I am in love with these two cuties, as much as if I had them naturally... they have grown in my heart over the last several months and they are a beautiful addition to our family.

Our bio kids have been amazing with them... hugging on them, loving them. It's as if they've always been a part of our family.

I am reminded daily of God's faithfulness to us. Through this journey I've seen just a glimpse of what it must look like to our Father when we are grafted into His family. Sometimes we kick and fight Him, yet He holds us through it all... loving us unconditionally. It's a beautiful thing.

I feel honored to be chosen to walk this journey. I'm the one being blessed. M and B are enriching our lives more than we ever could've imagined... and we are changing in ways that are beautiful. I never want to go back to the way things were.

I am happy to say that after only 2 weeks, M and B call me Mommy and Jeff Ababa (daddy).
 They let me comfort them when they are hurt and giggle when I snuggle them. I am one blessed mama. They are bonding well. We are making strides... as a family.

I love seeing how adoption is bringing our family closer together. Forever. Psalm 68:6  God sets the lonely in families...


  1. Is it wrong for me to say that those first pictures made me laugh? I know how the expectations are with the new kids; it isn't quite the way we thought the meeting would be in our fantasies. And you will probably have some tough times ahead... but you will also have a love you didn't know was inside of you. Many blessings to you, your new adorable children, you beautiful homegrown kids... heck, your whole family. And that sling was a great idea. :)

  2. Oh, girl, your two cuties are so precious! LOVE how well they are fitting into the family!!! Hard start......but what a beautiful middle and ending of your family story!!!! They are HOME!!!! FOREVER!!!! Praising God with you!!!!

  3. I sooooo understand how you felt! Embassy was the most terrifying, amazing, exhausting week of my life! I'm so glad you guys are doing well. Someone gave me the wise council to make no judgements or opinions on yourself or your children for at least 6 weeks. Just let that be your grace period. I agree. After 6 weeks you start to feel a whole lot more normal. Praying!
    ~ jackie

  4. Wow. Thank you so much for that honest perspective. I always picture this beautiful moment, having my daughter handed to me, but we need to consider that it isn't a necessarily as happy a moment for our children. They are leaving everything they know and the place where they are comfortable. I'm so glad that things are going well now. Your children are beautiful and they have found a wonderful family. : )

    And Jackie that is some good advice! I need to keep that in mind.


  5. Oh how I feel you! When Batri got to the guest house she cried, screamed, hit, bit, for DAYS! She grieved DEEPLY, but all the while I kept thanking God that she was not hiding it, or pretending she was ok. It is a gift to have an older adopted child who can outwardly mourn because then we can better comfort them and care for them. Man, this is SO hard though! I take her rejection personally too. When you have prayed as long and as hard as we have, I imagine it would be nearly impossible not to. Looks like you are all doing well! Congratulations!

  6. Thanks for sharing this post. I would love to know what kind of sling you bought and if you would recommend it. I have been looking for one to take to the Philippines when we get our boys in February. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Jo Anna