One of my favorite bloggers, Jen Hatmaker, often speaks of what she calls, "after the airport." I love this phrase because it says it all. For over a year, we prayed, cried, prayed, and cried some more over our son who was halfway across the world.
It was a constant battle. It was a battle with the paperwork, it was a battle with the government and court system, and it was a battle with my heart. The process of adopting a child is the most impossible process. You sign up for this task that you are certain that Lord has set you on. You gather every single document imaginable to prove you aren't a crazy person. Then you send it off and wait for MONTHS to hear anything back. All this time, you know your child is out there somewhere and you don't even have a face to put with your prayers. Then, after almost six months, you get "the call."
"We have a 4 month old boy who needs a family."
Oh the rejoicing. The excitement, the midnight Skye calls to your family, the picture sharing. It's magic. Then you wait and wait and pray and pray and then...you get to go meet him. Except something goes wrong at court and you have to unpack your bags and cancel your flight and wait two more months before the judge can view your case and you grieve. Then you get "the call."
"You have to be in Ethiopia in five days."
Oh the rejoicing. We get to meet our precious baby and spend an entire week with him and kiss that face and squeeze that neck. Then you have to hand him back to the nanny and kiss him one more time and promise that you will be back for him and kiss him again and grieve.
Then you leave your child all the way across the world.
You come home a shattered person. You can't keep the tears from flowing. Everyone in your life is super supportive but can't really understand the heartbreak you are feeling. It will be 8 weeks before your paperwork even goes to Embassy for review. You wait and pray and cry. Then you get "the email."
"Your Embassy documents are ready to be submitted."
Oh the rejoicing. We are almost done. Now we just have to wait possibly months to be cleared by the US Embassy.
Finally, you get that last call. "You have been approved and you can go get your son."
Oh the rejoicing.
You fly across the planet one last time, grab up your son, spend some time bonding, attend Embassy and you are ready to be home.
The flight is impossible. The first flight is a 17 hour stretch, then a 5 hour layover, then a 2 hour flight, then an hour layover, then a 2 hour flight and finally you are a short 3 hour drive from home. As you come down the escalator, you see dozens of your friends and family holding signs and balloons and cheering. You can't wait to introduce your son to the rest of the world. All of those emotions are piling up and you feel like you could explode.
Then you come home. This is the "after the airport" part.
And it's just simple, sweet life. It has it challenges because your new baby isn't on our time zone yet and he doesn't like the baby food. Your other baby is super clingy because her mom and dad left her for ten days and then brought home a new kid. You wish you had 10 more hands to do everything that needs to be done in a day. It's super overwhelming but super awesome. All of the sleepless nights and the tears and the prayers melt away and you almost forget how devastating the past year has been and you play with your new little man who is learning to crawl and you watch your daughter give him kisses all over his face and life is sweet.