We woke up Monday morning, in anticipation excited to spend time with our sweet boy all morning. We had missed him all weekend, and were beginning to realize the predicament the next couple of months were going to be in. We really missed Stella and Max back at home, but were happy to be with the baby, and just thinking about coming back to the States made us excited to see Stella and Max, but we knew that we were going to desperately miss our baby. no matter where we were, we were going to feel that missing piece. This last leg of waiting was, without a doubt, going to be the hardest of all.
We arrived at Acacia Village that morning, and they brought the babies out again to see their parents. We had a great time playing with him, and he was still very warm and loving towards us. As we were playing, I asked one of the nannies if it would be ok to sneak a visit in before court the next day if we hired a driver to bring us back to Acacia Village. She said that it wouldn't be a problem. Score! We were going to get to see him one last time before we had to go back home. I was relieved, especially since that second day he was having some teething issues, and you could tell he wasn't feeling his best. We got to feed him, and then he fell asleep in my arms. I waited a bit to put him in his bed for some extra cuddle time! We were walking to the infant room to put him in his bed, and there in the hallway were about 6 toddlers all lined up on training potties going to the bathroom and waving and smiling at us. It was the absolute cutest thing ever! I wish my 2 year old son could have seen it, they could have shown him a thing or two. When we went into the room to lay him in his crib, it was once again so peaceful seeing all those precious babies sleeping. Before we went to Ethiopia, I had sewed the baby a quilt of all of our old t-shirts and up to that point we had been sleeping with it everyday. That afternoon, I got to snuggle my baby boy up in his crib with his blanket, and I was overwhelmed with joy seeing him all snuggled up with it. We kissed him goodbye and knew that we only had one more opportunity to see him before we left, and every time we saw him, the realization became clearer that it was going to be extremely difficult to leave him. We decided to get to bed early since the next day we had a busy day of visitations, court, and we would be departing Addis after court.
We woke up that next morning and packed up all of our stuff in anticipation for Alazar to come pick us up to see the baby. We were really sad to be leaving Ethiopia. We were also fearful of coming back to the States after being in a country like this for 6 days, just the culture shock we would have, since we had both felt an internal change over the past week. Our wonderful guest lodge had a relaxing terrace on the rooftop and every day and night Jordan and I would go up there and just reflect on everything and take everything in. It had become kind of our spot when we needed to go and make sense of things. We were up on the rooftop when we saw Alazar drive up to take us to the orphanage. When we go to the orphanage, our sweet boy was all smiles, and we knew he remembered us from the day before. It made my heart happy knowing we would be leaving him on a happy note. We had such a great visit with him on our last visitation, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had court that afternoon. We told him we loved him, hugged and kissed all over him, and promised that we would come back for him as soon as we can to bring him home. There was happiness when we left. A peace. I felt secure in knowing that he was being cared for at Acacia Village. That if he wasn't able to be with us, there is no other place I would want him to be than with those sweet ladies that care for those children as if they are their own.
We left just in time to get back to our lodge and then get back on another van to go to court. Court was a very different setting than in the US. It was way more laid back and there was no court room. Just an office that we were called in when it was our turn. I had this heavy feeling the whole time, and I didn't know why, and I just wanted to stay hopeful, so I just kept trying to ignore it. We walked in the room where the judge was with the 2 other families from our agency, and we all had court together. After she asked us a few questions, she told the other 2 families that their babies were officially theirs and she said that our case was still pending, because of a document. She readjourned our court date to June 1st and said she would look over our case again then. I honestly don't remember much after that. The heaviness I had been feeling just kept getting stronger and I could sense that sadness and anger in Jordan. I couldn't breathe. I was absolutely heartbroken. We finally got back to the guest lodge and I immediately ran up the 6 flights of stairs to the terrace, my safe place, to get some air. I just completely lost it. I just cried and cried and we just stood in silence.
I know these things happen in adoption. It is a very common thing for things to be delayed. Our agency did a fantastic job informing us about this happening, but at that point it didn't matter how much I knew or what I was expecting. It hurt... It hurt so bad. I believe in God' sovereignty, I trust in His perfect timing. I was constantly repeating that to myself, trying to believe those words even though at that moment my hope was so dim. I was praying for his loving kindness to just swarm around me at that very moment, to allow me to see Him and find that hope again that only He can give me. I went inside to send an email on my laptop to our caseworker just to clarify some things, and as I opened it, a notification popped up on my screen from a fellow Ethiopian adoptive momma that read:
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12
I went back up to the terrace and just gazed at the beautiful mountains and trees that surrounded me and this city and these people. This peace and protection came over me. Looking at His beautiful creations that I had been mesmerized with the entire time we were there, realizing it didn't matter if my heart was full of joy, full of sorrow, full of worry, or full of despair, these mountains, everyday, shouted His name. All I could think was, He is faithful all the time and every time. He never leaves. Even in our deepest despairs, he does not waiver or change. No matter what, the mountains and trees are singing His praise. Charles Spurgeon once said, "Think not believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. We must, through much tribulations, enter the kingdom. Learn, then, even to count it all joy." I think he was onto something when he said this. The people of Ethiopia were also a true testament to this. No matter what, we can always be joyful. He once again carried me out of that place and set my feet on solid ground, and we left that rooftop in peace.
We arrived back safely in Houston on Wednesday, and drove back to Austin on Thursday. Here is the update since we have been back in the States....
One of our documents is unclear at the moment that is interfering with our court approval to make our baby boy officially ours. Our court date is readjourned for June 1st and, if God's will, hopefully we will get court approval. Our agency will be standing in for us at this date, and we pray he brings good news. The transition back has been overwhelming both physically and emotionally. I didn't think we it would have been this hard getting back into our normal lives. We need our prayer warriors to cover us in prayer...
-Pray for our June 1st court date. They are a half day ahead of us in Ethiopia, so we will hopefully hear something the morning of June 1st (our time.)
-Pray for our transition. We are feeling a lot of heaviness on our heart about Ethiopia and REALLY missing our little boy.
-Pray for our wait time. Pray that God brings us patience and peace throughout the last leg of our journey, as it's only been a week, and it feels like an eternity.
-Pray for us as we start preparing for our second trip both emotionally and financially. Pray for our health and for God to protect and provide.
Everyone's kind words, prayers, and encouragement, have been amazing the past week. It really is helping us get through these hard times of transitions, and we honestly could not get through it without all of the love and support. We thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!