In 12 days, I'll be on a plane headed for Ethiopia. I arrive the following day and will visit my sweet boy at the orphanage. Then, two weeks from today, he leaves the orphanage to come live with me at the guest house! My heart beats faster just typing the words.
He leaves the orphanage. Forever.
Our plan for me to go over early isn't an easy one. But even when I'm struggling with the idea of leaving my other two, I've never doubted for a moment that this wasn't the right plan.
I don't know if I'll be in Ethiopia for three weeks or five weeks or longer than that. But I know that in two weeks, a sweet child in Ethiopia will finally begin to learn what it's like to have a family. And I will finally have a chance to get to know my son, a boy who's been in our family for almost a month already.
Lately I have a new trick - it's called "not-being-able-to-fall-asleep." Every night as I get in bed, my mind fills with all the things I need to do, things I want to pack, things I need to remember to tell Rob about our kids here... the list goes on and on. I don't get out of bed to do anything about it, but I lie there and my mind races. It's not really fun.
It's a little overwhelming to pack for a trip when you don't know how long you'll be gone, and you've never dressed the child whose clothes you're packing. And I have to pack everything. Everything. Bottles, bowls, spoons, baby cereal, Cheerios, socks, clothes, pjs. He owns nothing; everything belongs to the orphanage. I am really hoping to have room to pack this little high-chair thing I have. It has a tray and I'm excited to start him on some finger foods (hence the Cheerios).
Over the past week, I've had a couple of really tough moments getting ready to leave the kids here. I've been trying to freeze extra meals so Rob will have healthy meals ready to go when he needs them. I need to make a master schedule for him of who goes where & when. School, soccer practice, dance lessons. Who is supposed to keep the kids that "extra" week when his mom is gone and he's already back at work. What I want the kids to wear for school pictures (still gotta figure that one out). I learned that one the hard way one Easter: I laid out the kids' clothes and figured Rob would figure out the shoes. I found out later that my daughter wore her Easter dress to church with croc shoes! ha ha! Mental note: lay out shoes for school pictures.
All of that has made me focus on what I'm leaving behind. How hard it will be to be away from them. I had a giant meltdown over it this week. Huge. Crying, irrational thinking, the works. Not pretty.
But today I got to take the kids to preschool to meet their new teachers for this year. And I got to see a lot of my preschool mommy friends who I didn't see all summer. I got to show off pictures of Amani and talk about the plans to go get him. I so needed that. It got me all excited again to be going. He's coming home! He really is coming home!!! That makes me start crying, but in the good way!
I'm seriously the biggest ball of crazy emotions right now!
Mostly, I'm unsettled. Not over anxiety about leaving the kids; not the general before-a-trip stress. I'm unsettled because our family just doesn't feel complete. I'm very aware that life is much easier right now. Especially with the kids headed to preschool next week. Life would be a cake-walk if he weren't coming home: two days a week with no kids, the other three days with just one. We'd settle into an easy routine and I'd have time to myself for the first time in 5 years.
But I don't want that.
I'm unsettled because I want him home. I want our life as a family of five to begin. I actually want the struggles that come with the attachment issues of having a son who spent his first year of life without a family. I want the upheaval of adding another child to the family.
I want all that because I want him. We want him in our family, more than I can explain.
And for those of you wanting an update: we were submitted to the Embassy 1 week ago. No news yet. They've been taking two weeks to respond, so I expect to hear something next week sometime. I'll feel a lot better hearing from them before I leave. After that, if they don't request any additional paperwork, they could clear us in two weeks! And then add another week or two to get an appointment. That would be wonderful. We're praying for that!
But I'm not coming home without him, so I'll be there as long as it takes!