Thursday, August 8, 2013

One year later

This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my court appointment in Ethiopia and the 7 days I spent with my sweet boy at my agencies care center. It was the first time I had seen him since we first met - a full year had gone by. I was so nervous as we drove there that morning. Would he warm up to me like he did the first time? How would it go? What would he think of me?

And then I was there, walking into the care center telling the nannies which child I was there to see. They pointed to the door and I walked to it and saw that it was the room he was in. I scanned the room full of kids and quickly saw him. The nannies were talking to him and before I could say a word - he walked up and put his arms up for me to pick him up. I'm sure they told him to but still - he didn't HAVE to do it. And in a moment - he was in my arms and photos were being snapped by my friend Wynne at the door who had come along to document the day. My friend Elisa was there briefly to take a little video and meet him before going on her way to do other things in Addis Ababa. It was surreal. All this time, all this paperwork, all this praying, hoping and waiting and he was in my arms. And he wasn't freaking out, crying or pushing me away - thank the Lord. He was so curious - just looking at me and checking me out. I showed him his photo on my necklace and he was so intrigued. I showed him the picture book I brought with pics of him and I from the year before and of his room and our dog and some friends and family. And the rest of the day and the next 6 days - he was attached to me non-stop. He didn't want me to put him down. He would scream and cry and yell "mommy, mommy" each day when I had to leave - which made my heart feel like it was literally being ripped out. I just kept reminding myself - I can do this - we are closer to forever - soon he'll be home - I can do this.

I had to leave to come home without him. That's just the way the process goes. Which feels all sorts of wrong. You know you have to. But it feels like you just left your child in another country and you're going home without them because that is exactly what you're doing and yet you have no choice. HARD. Emotional. And yet, you suck it up and try to hold it together because you know you are at the homestretch. I've made it this far - I can make it a few more months. Lord, let it be 3 months or less - not one of the many cases that takes EVEN longer than that. Let it be soon.

And thank God - it was just around 3 months and the long-awaited email from the Embassy came at 1:30 am that said "you are approved and can come get your child". Ok so maybe it didn't say that exactly but that's what it meant. And 3 days later, I was on a plane with my friend Merrill to go get my son and bring him home. That anniversary date is in October.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since my court date and since we were reunited and these great pictures were taken. So thankful to have my sweet boy home.

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