Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Would You Do It All Over Again?

Daddy and Gabriel.
Signing Gabriel and Ana out of the orphanage.

The coffee ceremony.

Mama and Ana.

Leaving the orphanage for the last time. (except when we had to take Ana back to the dr.:-)

Last night, my husband and I reflected on walking back through our adoption and discussed whether or not we would choose to walk back through the circumstances of this last year.

Both of us absolutely would walk back through the year to have our son and daughter in our arms, but we were discussing the circumstances on which we had different answers. I said an emphatic, "NO", I would not choose to walk through the circumstances again. Jim said a calm, "yes", he would. I reminded him of Ana being sick before our departure, me being sick the whole plane ride home, our mad-dash through the Dubai airport to catch our plane, our horrid diarrhea upon returning home, moving from our house, moving from our church, and our accident. He just laughed.

I lay this out for other adoptive families who may not have their child/children in their arms yet and even for others who put expectations on future endeavors. I often have an expectation of how things are going to go, how I'm going to feel, and how I'm going to be smiling all the while I'm doing it, when in reality, things most often do not go the way I think they will, my emotions are crazy, and I'm often crying or silent instead of smiling. I often say I have a rainbows and unicorns mentality before the fact, and during I wonder what hit me.

I definitely had this mentality in preparing for our time in Ethiopia. I expected to feel "love at first sight" when landing on Ethiopian soil. I didn't. It felt so surreal, that I don't know that I had any emotions, or perhaps too many to express. I expected to feel "right at home", when in reality, I felt "so far from home". This IS how I felt when we landed in Guatemala 6 months prior. I felt "at home". During our stay in Ethiopia, I expected to meet a hundred people I fell in love with and we'd keep in touch-well, I don't think I remember one person's name, with the exception of our driver, who spoke little English.

Everyone was so welcoming and the people were just beautiful. We were well taken care of and I loved so many things about Addis. Even now, I can reflect back and remember tiny details that make my heart swell.
I love how the roads had no signs-it pretty much fits my don't-put-me-in-a-box mentality.
I love the young woman at the desk of our guest house. She was so sweet.
I love our driver, even though we communicated very little. I love how he reminded me of George Jefferson and all the while I felt like he was our protector.
I love how we sat on the balcony at night playing cards with our friends.
I love hearing the Ethiopian music wafting through the guesthouse as we slept.
I love the memory of holding the man's hand at Entoto mountain.
I love how the many cupped his hands and said a million thanks for shoes that a teenager had sent from the US for someone who could use them.
I love how the men showed affection toward one another.
I love how we ate outdoors almost every lunch.
I love how there was a calmness about the people.
So many things to love...

Is it possible to prepare and move forward with no huge expectations of feeling this and feeling that? I suppose it is. I believe this is how my husband operates, and I so admire him for it.

I wonder as I type if I tried to do things in my own strength while in Addis. In part, I suppose I did. I know for certain that it is God's amazing grace that has seen us through the last year. I know God works all things for good for those who love him. I know we are richly blessed beyond measure. I know Jesus Christ holds all things together. I know I choose the One True God versus the god of my feelings today as I walk out the steps before me.

May you be richly and deeply blessed as you move forward in whatever steps the Lord may have you take today and always, for His Name's sake and glory alone.