I really can't wrap my mind around the fact that we are leaving this Saturday for Ethiopia and will be holding our little girl in our arms on Monday! We have gone from looking at pictures of a sad Ethiopian girl, to filling out paperwork to actually meeting her face to face. Reality is starting to sink in. I mean, we are about two months away from bringing her home! I don't even know what emotions I should be feeling. I know that I am so stinkin' excited I don't know what to do with myself. I can't wait to actually meet our Zoe.
But, to be honest, I am expecting it to be really weird. T and I will be two strange white people that are very excited to see her. She will have just been moved to the transition home and then taken with us to the guest house for a few days. This could totally rock her world. Hopefully the pictures we sent will help with our initial meeting. Maybe she will recognize us after a month of looking at our pictures.
Luckily, Tori is an amazing "giver." She can't help it, she just loves to give a gift. It is in her DNA, handed straight down from Patti. So, the girls have been collecting lots of wonderful things for us to take with us to greet our precious little one. She has packed enough crafts to keep us and the entire city busy. So, we don't have to worry about too much awkward downtime. In addition to the crafts, we're taking her lots of suckers, a white baby doll, Mrs. Potato Head, play dough, tiny underwear, little shoes, new clothes in various sizes for her to try on, some comfy PJs, Sesame Street DVDs and matching silver, heart necklaces for her and Tori. I cannot wait to see Tori and Zoe interact. Tori is so amazing with kids and was just created to be an awesome Mom. I could almost weep thinking about the love she will pour out on our daughter. It's going to be so cool to watch T pull one thing after another out of her bag of tricks to ease Zoe's fear and just start getting to know her.
As we talk about this trip we are trying to be very realistic. This might not be a trip filled with hugs and laughs. It could be lots of screaming or tears or silence. We have no idea what to expect. All that matters to us is that we get to meet her, love on her, hug on her kiss on her, and simply be with her.
We have a wild trip ahead of us. I will give you a brief look at our itinerary so you can know how and when to be praying for us, because if you are reading this, we are expecting your prayers!
We leave Saturday evening, January 15, and fly to D.C. then on to London. We have a 10 hours there, so we rented a day room to shower and rest or do whatever we need to do. Then we're off to Ethiopia. We land in Addis Ababa on Monday morning and head to the guest house where we will be staying. We hope to pick up Zoe shortly after that to bring her back to stay with us. Tuesday morning, January 18, we leave Zoe at the house with caretakers and head to court where we will officially adopt her. Her mom will be there so hopefully we will get to talk with her and learn more about our little girl. Please pray that things go smoothly and we pass court without any hiccups. This has not been the case for every family and last month a few birth-mothers backed out on court day. We're praying that Zoe's mom will stick to the decision she made and we'll be able to thank her for the unbelievable gift she is blessing us with as we reassure her that we will love and care for Zoe more than she could ever dream. I cannot imagine the sacrificial love it must take to do what she has done for Zoe. After court we'll go back to the house and spend the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday getting to know our little girl. We're planning on taking Zoe back to the transition home Thursday night because our flight leaves at 1:45 AM Friday morning, January 21. We'll fly back to London, on to D.C. then to Chicago and finally home to Nashville, Friday night (thank you 8 hour time difference).
This trip is going to be totally insane. I honestly don't know how we are going to leave her there. After spending time with her, bathing her and putting new, clean clothes on her, sending her back to the orphanage will be the hardest thing either one of us has ever done in our life. It is going to take both of us dragging each other onto that plane (and some powerful drugs) knowing that it will be 8 weeks before we bring her home. We can't imagine what will be going through her little mind as we dive-bomb her life for a few days and then head back to America. We pray that we'll be able to use the translators to help her understand that we are coming back to get her and she is not being left again. We are preparing ourselves as much as we can and we will spend our time with her rejoicing and praising the Lord for this unbelievable gift without dwelling on the hard days ahead.
In the past month, we've been overwhelmed by the kids at church sending us off with more play dough, hot wheels, diapers, baby clothes and formula than our suitcases can hold! We've packed our huge suitcases with stuff the kids are sending to the orphanages and tried to get most of our clothes in our carry-on bags! It is amazing to see them open their hearts to kids in need around the world. All of us "grown-ups" have so much to learn from the love and generosity of kids.
So, I write this blog with great anticipation and excitement. Thank you all for asking about Zoe when you see us and for the great encouragement you have provided. We can't wait to come home and share stories and finally send pictures everywhere! We are so grateful for your participation in our journey and we are so thankful that you continue to pray for us and our sweet Zoe.


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