Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 7: Love Is On the Way!

The only word I can properly use to describe this day is exhaustion. Not just physically exhausted, but mentally and spiritually exhausted as well. I feel like my senses were so filled up in the past week, that on this last day, it was all coming to a grand finally of sweet overload. Our travel group had ambitious plans of making several last minute stops to different places we wanted to see and do, but only ended up making one final stop. The place we ended up visiting was to a coffee factory/shop. You can't go to Ethiopia and not learn about the birthplace of coffee can you? We saw how meticulously the beans were sorted over and over again. The beans went through several sorting machines, and just when you thought the beans had been sorted enough, they again go through another sorting phase. The last sorting phase is a feast for the eyes. We were escorted into a large room with three or four long rows of tables. Beautiful women draped in gorgeous colorful scarves, that covered their noses and mouths, squeezed side by side up and down the tables as they sorted the beans by color. Several of the women looked up quickly and exchanged a quick smile before getting back to their tedious task of sorting. We ended the tour by buying coffee in the shop area. After this tour is when the Whitakers and our family knew that this would be our last visit in Addis. We all did our final traveling preparations and relaxed until the time came to depart for the airport. We had to say our goodbyes to the Joner family hours before our departure, and then said our farewells to the Whitakers in DC. These were not sorrowful partings, but more like a we'll be seeing you soon kind of farewells. I am thankful that God had picked such great families for us to travel with and I will always value our time we spent together in Ethiopia. We were quite early in arriving at the airport, but that didn't seem to be a big issue as we were occupied in making conversation with other adoptive parents who were congregating in the airport and doing last minute shopping. Yes, there is great shopping in the airport (great for spending remaining birr), and the prices are not that much more expensive as the markets we patroned a few days earlier. I was almost laughed right out of one shop I was in as I tried to barter for a cheaper price of an item I was interested in. Okay so there are shops in the airport, but no bartering!! Can you blame a girl for trying?!!!

Before I knew it, we were loaded on the airplane and headed home. During our flight home, I developed a new admiration for my little brave Rae. She is such a strong little girl. She had been through so much in her short little life, and now here she was on her momma's lap as happy as she could be heading home. She was an absolute dream coming home. Our first flight was 17 hours, and she was perfect. We had a 4 hour lay over in DC, a 2 hour flight to Chicago, and then a 2 hour layover there. Again she was perfect. Our last flight to KC was a different story. As soon as we got on the plane, Rae released all pent up feelings of exhaustion, uncertainty, and anxiety. Even though she was exhibiting characteristics and actions that should have been terrifying to me, I had been given a grace and an understanding for her that surprised me. I almost could hear myself telling her to let it out and that she deserved this moment of frustration. And I was fiercely ready to defend her to anyone on the plane who might have even given me so much as disapproving look. Thankfully, I decided to not make eye contact with anyone (so I wouldn't have to repent later). As soon as the wheels touched the pavement in KC, it jolted Rae to where she immediately quits crying and falls into a peaceful rest. This is when I start to let down as well. Kevin and I decided to wait until everyone else got off the plane as it was the least we could do for these people who had to endure a plane ride full of wailing (and I knew my parents who were picking me up weren't due to pick me up for another half hour). I really felt like I was in my own personal little tunnel as I was walking off the airplane towards the waiting area. My skin felt numb and there was a faint pounding in my head that reminded me of the lack of sleep I have had within the last 48 hours. I am really feeling like a zombie as I blankly stare at who knows what when I reach the airport waiting area. I hear pounding and I have to really ask myself if the pounding in my head has somehow increased in intensity. I come to my senses enough to realize that it is coming from the the plexy glass that was separating the main lobby from the secured lobby of the airport. There before my eyes were the faces of two angels, Melissa and Jamie Jo. There they were with Todd and Andy clicking pictures and holding balloons and signs cheerfully describing the anticipation of our arrival. I melted instantaneously, but tried to keep it together as I covered my mouth and tried to hold back tears. It was a failed attempt. My step quickens and I fall into their embraces. What a great surprise!! The airport that we flew into was a good 3 hours from where we lived, so I was not at all expecting to be greeted by anyone but my family. They will never know how much this homecoming meant for me, and I will never forget this memory. A few moments later, I see my children, mom, dad, brother, sister in law and niece walking down the hall. I spotted them first and hollered out to them. My son bolts in our direction and seems conflicted on who he should greet first. Before we know it, we are all in a mad frenzy of hugs and kisses. The embrace I shared with my mother was therapy for us both. My pain was her pain and she had labored this journey just as if it were her own. It was at this moment, on Valentine's Day, that I remember the verse God gave me right before we got our referral....
Relax, everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way! Jude 1:2


Why create this blog? said...

Thank you, O THANK YOU for sharing so much of your journey. It is balm for a tired and aching soul! I can't wait to see the things you saw and share my experiences with those who are also waiting their turn. Blessings to your family!

The Gillman Family said...


What an amazing journey and what a blessing to have you allow us (readers/friends) to be a part of that with you. Looking forward to hugging you tomorrow at church!
Love you all lots,

Chantelle Becking said...

IT is so awesome to see you are home with your amazingly BEAUTIFUL baby girl!!!! She is stunning...I am sure inside and out!
I have followed your blog for some time and SO happy you are a forever family now!
We got our referral about a week and a half ago and could not be happier! Great to see families coming home!!!
God Bless

Tara said...

thanks for saying hi, soooo happy you guys are home safe, your daughter is beautiful, i talked to your friend jamie jo last summer about adopting, small world, friends are a blessing!, we live in the kc area also tara