This week it feels like we basically stood still when it comes to getting ourselves back home. We did get an Embassy appointment much faster than we thought and we were super excited/encouraged by that. But when we got there and turned in all of our documents, two errors were discovered- one on the passports (the passports again?! ugh) and another on the probation letter. This means a few days of setbacks and waiting while our lawyer is trying to get those documents updated so that the Embassy has what it needs (note: the embassy did give me props on the thoroughness and quality of the paperwork I had filled out, which I was excited about until they told me the news of the things that need to be corrected before we can move forward).
If it weren’t for these setbacks, we would have for sure been able to make our scheduled plane flight home. Now, it is looking very doubtful we will make our flight as we are pushed back several days in the process. I keep reminding myself that it’s just days, and that after being here for so long it’s not that big of a deal, but it feels like a big deal, and I’m not thrilled about it. I was really hoping to avoid spending the money to change the plane flights, and really hoping to get the kids back in school ASAP. I was also hoping for a chai from Starbucks…
So, now we keep waiting, and we see what happens. It drives me slightly crazy that I have no control over this process, and that I can’t figure out if we should pay to change tickets, or leave them as-is in hopes of some unlikely surprise in timing. I know we are in good company as so many stories I’ve heard from families that have gone before us here have ended the same way with the visa process, and I also know that it will work out to be no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Here’s to (at least) one more “crazy” to embrace before heading home.
When I mentioned to our agency that Macy was having a hard time with the wait, they suggested we put together some drawings and photos to send to “brother and sister” so that our kids could feel like they were participating in the process and so our new children could begin to get to know our faces.
Today I took the kids on a Starbucks date to work on our book. Needless to say, it was very meaningful and fun for them (and for me). Thank you Robin for the great idea!!
(a few of the pages from our family photo book, headed to “Basr and Sister” in Uganda)
Last week Macy started to have a stronger-than-usual desire to do everything with her brother, Owen. I wondered if it was somehow related to all that is going on with the adoption and a few days later she confirmed (through the saddest, biggest tears you’ve ever seen) that, in fact, it was. “If they are really my brother and sister it’s not right that we are not together. I’m not supposed to be away from my brother and sister like this” she said. Once again, this sweet six year old put words to how we are all feeling. It’s just not right. Part of us is missing. “I’m happy that we get to help them, but I just feel so sad.” We get it Macy, we get it.
The sadness and longing hits each of us at different times. For Macy, it’s bed time that is the hardest. To help herself cope, she drew a picture of our whole family (“brother and sister” included) with the inscription “I mis you Basr and Sister.” She sleeps with it every night (when I just checked on her now she was hugging it in her sleep). I’m proud of her for that- embracing the longing, not trying to push it off or ignore it or justify it away. Figuring out how to exist feeling happy and excited about what lies ahead but also sad and longing for what is missing. I’m trying to do the same.
(the folded picture carefully placed in ‘ready’ position near her pillow at bed time.)
I can’t sleep. It’s not that I’m not tired, I know I am, and I know that in the morning I will want to sleep beyond the alarm that will beckon me to begin another “normal” week. Nothing though is “normal” right now. My mind is full of questions, wonderment, longing, possibility, excitement, planning. And so, I’m awake. Wide awake.
We have some “friends” in-country right now (fun fact: i have all kinds of new “friends” that I don’t actually know but who are in this same process and who answer my questions, share wisdom and journey with me via Facebook groups for Ugandan Adoption. You wouldn’t believe how many of them there are, and how encouraging it is to be part of such a group, even though it’s virtual), and these “friends” have just met their son for the first time. Pretty cool. Turns out, the child these “friends” are adopting was living in the same children’s home as our kids are. They posted some pictures of the home and of the children and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the same place. They were with my kids! “Friends” from the US (who happen to live just 20 minutes away from us) were in the presence of my children. Today. Joy and sadness. More intermingled emotions that I’m becoming so accustomed to these days. It’s a tension that I’m still getting used to.
I wish I could say that the photos and the updates made me more patient and helped me to feel better about the waiting, but really they just made me more restless. I’m ready to feed, clothe, bathe, and hold these two sweet children. I want to tend to their medical needs, dab their runny noses with soft tissues, teach them to walk, and tuck them in to comfy beds with warm blankets at night. I want to go, now. It’s time for our family to all be in one place, even my daughter knows it. “I’m not supposed to be away from my brother and sister like this” she said in tears the other day. We are all feeling it.
If you were at our dinner table tonight this is the prayer you would have heard from Macy: “Dear Jesus thank you for our beautiful brother and sister in Africa. Please let them know how much they are loved.”
It’s true. We might not know much yet, but we do know that these kids are beautiful and loved. I can hardly wait to tell them.
Laundry folding. It’s not something I’d say I typically get very excited about. In fact, tonight as I even thought about walking from the cozy house to the cold garage to get the load of laundry that was ready to be folded I grumbled (post on “first world problems” to follow). But as I folded piles of super-hero shirts, footed pajamas, and little boxer-briefs (also super-hero themed of course), I found myself smiling and actually cherishing this mundane task.
Maybe it’s because I was folding in front of a lit Christmas tree and a warm fire burning in the fireplace. Maybe it was the conversation I had earlier tonight with a mom who was lamenting the fact that her “baby” is getting ready to graduate high school which means a much emptier and quieter house after all these years. Maybe it’s that I’ve actually slowed down a bit recently and can enjoy and appreciate the time I have to fold said clothes.
I’m not sure what it is, but it made me want to write. It also made me long once more for the day when I will have double the laundry to do, two more little bodies to dress, two more hungry mouths to feed. I’m sure I’m idealizing the thought of it, but tonight, I can think of nothing I’d rather do. So, I’m savoring this moment, giving thanks for these little clothes and the healthy bodies that dirty them oh so quickly (knowing that 2 more bodies will nearly double our laundry loads and the time it takes to fold and put them all away), and dreaming of the day when I’ll need to be reminded that I was once longing for more laundry to do. I’m sure it’s coming. But for now, I wait and hope for more. This is my grown-up Christmas wish.
After a visit to the travel doctor, 17 vaccinations between the 4 of us, and three different prescriptions for “precautionary medications,” we are one step closer to being ready for our trip to Uganda.
These are the faces of my strong and brave kids after the vaccinations were complete.
On this thanksgiving weekend we are thankful for modern medicine AND for lollipops. One step closer…