It is raining and cold here in North Carolina. Tomorrow, we will be boarding a plane in Raleigh and our destination will be Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Messa is waiting for us there. We will arrive in the wee hours(local time) of Saturday morning. I suppose we will sleep, but it is likely that we won't I think. Saturday is the day we will see and touch her for the first time. In my mind, I have replayed different scenarios for this meeting over and over. I am trying not to have any expectations, so that I won't be disappointed if the event is not warm. This tiny girl has experienced the loss of everyone she has loved in her life. I can imagine that she might be tentative about letting me in. Secretly, my favorite scenario is the one where she rushes into my arms and buries her face in my neck saying "Mama, mama." If it doesn't happen on Saturday, I pray that we will grow in our relationship and it will happen very soon.
I don't know how often I will be able to update this site during our trip, but I will try to keep you posted here. There is an "internet cafe" about a block from the guest house where we are staying. The recent photo I have seen shows this establishment as little more than a pole building.
We will be traveling in a Land Rover convoy to Hosanna in the Southern region on Saturday and staying overnight at the Hima "International" Hotel. Our agency representative said not to let the "international" fool us. Apaarently they have running water... sometimes. They do have a flush toilet, which is probably the only one in the region. On the 4-6 (depending on the condition of the unpaved roads) hour trip we can stop to use the bathroom in villages along the way, but they only have pits. It was suggested that I wear a full skirt in case our only choice is to stop along the road. Apparently the locals are curious about how the white Americans relieve themselves.
I know that this description probably turns some stomachs and makes people shake their head in bewilderment as to why we would make this journey. I have seen this head shaking at various times during our adoption process. Why do we want to spend tens of thousnds of dollars, wind our way through an arduous paper trail, and multiple immunization injections? Why would we suffer through 24 hours of international flights in crowded coach seats & long layovers in foreign airports, less than stellar accomodations in a third world country? Why would we subject ourselves to experiencing the horror of poverty and disease that has Africa in it's grip? Why would we want to parent a child with brown skin, when our skin is white? Why are we willingly opening ourselves up to the sting of racism and discrimination? I can't give one answer to these questions. So bear with me while I try to explain.
Our journey started because we wanted a daughter. We did not set out to "save" a poor orphan. We just want a baby girl. Our family is incomplete without her. God placed this desire in our hearts. We first considered domestic adoption, but for a number of reasons I won't go into here, it didn't seem right to us. When we began to consider international adoption, I was very much against adopting a child from Africa. I had a picture of bringing a child home with all sorts of medical issues. In reality, any child adopted internationally could have medical issues. We are very fortunate that as far as we know, Messa is quite healthy. The minor issues she has or may have don't concern me at all because she is my child. She is the child that the Lord has given us. She is the child that he has been leading us too. In my case, I believe I have been on this journey since I was a young girl. I have always had a heart for Africa, and a love of African culture and art. When we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, the idea fit like a glove, and we knew it was right. God placed a desire in our hearts for a daughter, and led us to the one had chosen for us.
Yes, all of the hardships and horror we will face on our trip seem a bit frightening, but can I also tell you that it is wonderfully exciting. I have always had a thirst for adventure and facing the unknown. I have always pushed the boundries of "normal" and "safe." I am thrilled to have the opportunity to experience things that are far outside of my normal experience. I want to take risks. Why? Because God put in my heart a thirst for adventure. He has given me awww.flikr longing to experience all that he has created. A need to see the sufferings of others and respond to it.
Finally, there is this-
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So, I have to go. It is that simple. My baby girl is waiting, and I will go and see all that I am ordained to see, and drink it all in and know that the Lord is bigger than me and anything that I can imagine and immensely and wonderfully good.