When most people plan a trip, the first things would be to book a hotel, plane tickets, and then start packing and writing an agenda. Well, we are doing it all backwards. Like I have said before, the adoption road is a curvy, crazy road! Booking our flights and guest home will be the last thing that we do. We do have our itinerary for our court trip which will consist of 4 days. The first 3 days we will be able to go and visit our son for 2 hours a day and get to take in everything and anything we can. (i.e. what he eats, how he sleeps, his daily routine, what he likes, what he doesn't like, etc.) All of the things that you figure out as a parent in your child's first year of life. The rest of our time will be filled with immersing ourselves in our new adopted culture and exploring the beautiful country of Ethiopia. The fourth day we will go to Ethiopian court and there, the judge will hopefully consent to our adoption of our baby boy. We will leave to come home from there and then after that, MORE WAITING! It never ends in the adoption world. We will be waiting to hear from the courts to tell us that baby boy is a Michael and that we can come and pick him up to COME HOME.
If meeting your son face to face for the very first time isn't overwhelming enough, we also are preparing our bodies, minds, and hearts for visiting a third-world country. A country that has become a part of me. A country that I cannot wait to go and see and take in. So what have we done so far? Jordan and I have been vaccinated (6 shots each, ouch!) and educated about all the potential health risk of traveling to Ethiopia. We have been re-fingerprinted through the FBI to update our boy's visa approval. We have been busy gathering donations that we will take to our son's orphanage and also putting together a couple of gifts for baby boy to leave with him while he is waiting to come home. We have been researching Ethiopia and all of the things we want to see and guest homes that we are looking into staying at. We have started making a packing list that consists of bug spray, flashlights, and yes, toilet paper! And, we have also decided to throw in another garage sale before we go to offset some of the embassy and visa fees. Like we didn't have enough on our plates already. Anything to make the time go by faster.
In between all of that, I can't help but think of my boy every waking minute of the day. The other day I read this verse and it spoke so much truth and validation into my life right now. This is what God has in store for me and my life, right now, at this very moment.
"May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Now that I have all the things done that I can possibly do for now, I find myself having idle time, so I made a list of things that I CAN do in the meantime, as we wait and wait some more.....
I can pray for my son.
I can pray for his birth family and their situation.
I can pray for the nannies at the orphanage that are caring for our boy while we can't.
I can pray for the courts and everyone involved with our case.
I can pray for our transition.
I can love my little guys that I have right here in front me.
I can talk with them about what it is going to be like when baby brother arrives.
I can prepare our home.
I can advocate for other orphans to find a forever family.
I can use our story to encourage others to walk in faith.
I can show more grace and mercy to the people God has put in my life at this moment.
I can fundraise.
I can enjoy the last months of being a family of 4.
I can lean on my husband and friends and family for support when the waiting gets too hard.
I can grow more in Christ.
I can let the hope of God overflow out of me and onto others.
Today is our sweet boy's first birthday. Even though he wasn't with us, we decided to celebrate from afar and make some memories for him.
Happy Birthday, sweet baby boy! How we wish you could be here blowing out your own candle today, but we will settle for, at least, being under the same sky. We long to embrace you and kiss your sweet face and will be coming to you soon. We pray that God pours out his love on you, and he gives you hope that your family is coming for you.
Love, your momma.
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5-6