It is less than a week until I get to travel to Ethiopia to meet my new son and daughter. Ecstatic doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of emotions that I feel.
The journey of adoption is the most emotional journey I have ever embarked on. It is almost as is if all of my emotions are amplified; like each nerve ending is exposed and, therefore, more sensitive than it has ever been before. It is a roller coaster of almost every emotion imaginable, many simultaneously when I never thought those emotions could be combined: vulnerability and uncertainty matched with confidence and clarity, anticipation and excitement but nervousness too, euphoric dreams yet grave concerns, waves of giddy joy amongst moments of sheer panic.
It is difficult to articulate all that I feel (some of which I am not sure I should even admit that I do feel), but I want to try to capture the reality of it to share it with others.
I cannot wait to see my children and lavish my love on them. I want to hug them, hold them in my arms and tell them how much I love them. The joy and excitement that will surround that moment when I can finally see them and hold them is indescribable! It is hard to explain, but there is an emptiness in my heart and in my home as we wait for them to come home, an emptiness that only they can fill.
I'm excited to get to know them. What will they be like? What do they enjoy? What is their favorite colors? What's their personality like?
While I am so excited about meeting my children, it feels almost bitter-sweet as I wish that Dustin could come with me on this journey. I am sad and disappointed that he cannot be there with me to share in every part of the experience, and it is difficult to imagine saying good-bye to my children after only a brief visit (which is a reality, I am choosing to avoid addressing for now).
I worry about how the children and I will communicate with each other when they know no English, and I know very little Amharic.
Will they like me?
It is too easy to be fraught with anxiety, nerves, and concerns I have, but I try to put myself in their shoes...
What are they thinking? What is going through their minds? Fear of the unknown? Fear of rejection? They are about to be dropped off with a woman they have never met, who they know nothing about:
She looks different than anyone I have ever met, and she speaks different than anyone I know. She is going to be my new mother? What does that mean? I don't understand? I don't want another mother, I want MY mother. What if this new mother is mean to me? What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't like her? Will I lose her just as I lost my other mother? Do I have any say in this? What about my friends at the orphanage? Will I ever see them again? I'm scared. I feel so alone.
Lord, I pray for my children every day for Your protection, for Your peace. Lord, I ask that You are with them, watching over them, and guiding this entire process. Please give them comfort in all they have endured. Squelch their fears and provide them with a peace that can only be found through You, Lord.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Cor 1:3-4)
I know that I should not feel any anxiety or fear. I know that I must dismiss it by giving it all to God.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7).
As the worries and concerns creep in, I pray for strength; I am weak, but my Lord is strong. I know that He will be with us every step of the way. He has known that these children would be a part of our family before they were even born, before I was even born.
He has called us to these children, placed them in our hearts and in our family. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. I am confident that He will give me strength, and He will be with me and my children as we meet, as we bond, as we part, and as we eventually are re-united forever. It is that truth alone that gives me strength and comfort.
Yes, it is a little scary at times, and yes, I do sometimes wonder how we will juggle it all with six kids under 11 years old, two of which will speak a completely different language than even each other. I am not sure how I will home school everyone and make sure that everyone gets all that they need when it doesn't even feel like there are enough hours in the day now to get everything done.
But there is a simple answer that gives me confidence and gives me peace: God's grace.
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 1:3)
I covet your prayers as I travel to meet my children. I ask that you also pray for my kids at home while I am gone. Please pray for us through this entire, incredible journey.
Thank you and may God bless you.