The Journey Home

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Amazing Journey

It is now Tuesday, June 14th.  We got back from Ethiopia on Thursday, June 2nd, and I still haven't update this blog.  Not because I didn't want to.  Not because I lacked the time.  It is because I'm still not certain how to convey in words all that I saw, felt, heard, smelled, and thought on this short but powerful trip.  I'll try to be as concise as possible, but when a girl prays that the Lord would open up all of her senses to fully live in each moment while she's in a third world country...let's just say that there is much to write about. 

We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and were blown away by the beauty of the landscape.  It sits at about 8000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by mountains.  We tried to recoup from a nearly 14 hour non-stop plane ride and 7 hour time difference that first day.  Then on Monday the 30th, we hopped in a van and began the 6 hour ride to the southern region of Ethiopia to meet Biruk. 
Bird's eye view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
On the of the many heavy-laden donkeys we saw
 I prayed on and off the entire trip, sometimes covering our first meeting with Biruk and sometimes for protection to get us there safely!  There are few rules on the roadways of Ethiopia...I kept thinking that the wonderful (Christian, we found out later!) driver who got us down there was worth his weight in gold.  If they had asked me to do the driving, we'd still be on the road.  Multitudes of people, animals of all varieties, bicycles, donkey carts, and other vehicles to dodge kept our driver on his toes.  I can't adequately explain what it felt like to drive up to her orphanage.  I had ever so many butterflies fluttering in my stomach and kept thinking, "She's right through that gate.  Our daughter is waiting right through that gate."  They led us through a small courtyard and into a playroom where we and the two other wonderful couples with whom we traveled were to meet our children for the first time.  We slipped off our shoes and entered the room, and there she was.  Our picture that has been the wallpaper of our computer and a permanent fixture on our refrigerator since March the 7th was sitting there on the floor in the flesh, a timid little girl dressed in a yellow Old Navy shirt and striped leggings, no shoes, hair pulled up in a bun with a red scrunchie, playing with a ball on the floor just inside of the door.  I remember my breath catching in my chest and just looking at her for a second.  Someone recently asked me if Biruk feels like my daughter.  The answer is miraculously YES.  God did not grow this little girl in my tummy.  I never got to feel her move inside of me, never got to watch my stomach grow as she grew, but I can confidently and gratefully say that the Lord grew this little individual in my heart.  We love her.  The flood of emotions was overwhelming and so, so sweet.  We sat down in front of her and handed her a book of pictures of all of our family which she never let out of her sight the whole time we were with her.  We blew bubbles.  We rolled balls.  And I painted her nails.  A wise woman whom we met at the house we stayed in while we were there suggested this, and I am so thankful that she did.  She thought that, if I
Biruk and Daddy
 painted her nails, she would be able to look down at them after we had to leave and think of us.  Such a simple thing that broke down walls in one fell swoop and went a long way to open up her sweet little heart to us.  Needless to say, a couple of bottles of nail polish will be traveling with me when we go to pick her up!  I wish that I could post pictures of her face, but we are not allowed to until the adoption is finalized.  I hope that you can feel the tenderness in this picture, though.  Such a sweet daddy and daughter moment that will be forever etched in my mind.  She allowed both of us to hug, tickle, snuggle, and rock her.  I breathed in the scent of Johnson's baby shampoo as I rocked her and stole kisses whenever I could.  Aaron gently rubbed her back and stroked her hair and whispered into her ear that her little tickly self would fit right into our family.  We asked a nurse to please tell her that, even though we had to leave, we would be back soon to get her.  Our driver told us an hour and a half later that we had to leave, so we left her in the care of the truly wonderful women at the care center and got back into the van.  We drove away, and I think for the first time I understood what it feels like for your heart to break.  My head knows that it is best for her to get to know us gradually through pictures and allow the nannies time to try to help her understand what adoption means.  My heart had no such understanding.  Leaving her was hard.  Whoever said "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is right.  This last bit of waiting is so much more difficult than all previous months!  

I'll stop for now, but I want you all to know how much we felt your prayers and the presence of Christ at all times on this trip.  Thank you so much for taking the time to lift us up to the throne room of God.  He faithfully answered each one of your prayers.  

1 comment:

  1. I have been wondering how your trip went. Thanks for the update! The picture brought tears to my eyes <3