We received another piece of good news yesterday, bringing us one small step closer to being reunited with Lulu. After months and months of bad news or delays, receiving positive news two days in a row has put unanticipated wind in our sails to sustain us over another holiday closure today in Ethiopia and the weekend ahead. After receiving the request from the Embassy Wednesday for some more information, our agency staff confirmed with us yesterday (Thursday) that the documents were resubmitted to the USE. This one day turn-around may not seem like much to celebrate here in the land of texts, emails and instant, but given the pace and logistics of African life, it is a small miracle for sure. One for which we give thanks and recognize as the hand of God moving in response to the prayers of so many faithful friends. Our specific prayer now is the USE has all of the evidence necessary and will clear us to travel on Monday. I am encouraged and hopeful, and yet always asking for wisdom in where to guard my heart from any further disappointment. Today, I have to believe and choose to invest 100% of that belief and hope into knowing our rescue is near. If you have been following our blog or journey for any length you already know, if Monday comes and good news eludes us, we will ache and cry and transparently share that with you. For we cannot invite you on a journey without acknowledging the obstacles the road presents. But our honesty, while it may scare some people, has never been solely about the emotion for we have Truth to ground us when the winds swell. Without the daily footing of Truth, the emotional windstorm would have toppled us over long ago. So, yes, I am 100% praying and hoping for our rescue to arrive while we sleep Sunday night, and I can tell you this with transparency, because if Monday is not our appointed time for such a rescue, we will still stand face into the winds of emotion, grounded in the promises of Truth.
I realize we have been so ardently focused on getting Lulu home, while attempting to maintain some normalcy for the minis already home, that I haven’t shared much of our experience from the first trip to Ethiopia. As we grow closer and closer to going back, many of the memories have filled my thoughts, even during those few pockets of sleep. One of the sweetest of which came about on our last day in Addis when we were forced to do what we had been dreading for the year and and half since we began our process to adopt- leaving our daughter and saying “see you soon.” On that afternoon as we squeezed and kissed and cried over that sweet baby, we walked back to the nursery to place Lu back into the very capable, very protective arms of the nannies who have been caring for her since June. Since June. She was three-months-old then, and these incredible Ethiopian women have been the representatives of love, family, a mama, for the large majority of her life thus far. Given that, they are obviously protective over those babies in their care and for the first few days of our trip Rob and I laughed at how we felt we had to “win over” the nannies. They had all been polite, yet guarded with us each day when we would return Lulu to her crib at the close of a visit. And with the language barrier, there wasn’t a whole lot we could say except smile and thank them and rush to the waiting van taking us back to our guest house, all the while hearing Lu’s cries from our departure. On that final hand-off back to the nannies, my normally hyper-observant-of-my-surroundings-self was distracted with a heart I could literally feel breaking and the flood of tears escaping my eyes. Rob would relay what happened next to me later. He said as I was handing Lulu over to one nanny, another saw me and my emotion and with compassion made a gesture and a few small broken words of English to Rob recognizing the hearts of Mama and daughter were connected, tied together. He nodded in an agreement and a “very much so,” and we fled down the stairs to the van. As we stood in the courtyard waiting on the others who were riding with us, we looked up to see the nannies had come back outside and were holding Lulu up for us to see and waving goodbye to “Mama and Daddy.” We waved and blew kisses through our tears, and then in the next moment they were standing before us in that courtyard, surrounded by hanging laundry and playing children. They had brought our baby girl to us for one more round of kisses and whispers of “I love you,” and all I could understand them saying were the sweetest words, “Mama,” “Daddy.” And in the next instant we were loaded into the van and driving away from our baby girl still in those capable, protective, albeit “won over” arms of a beautiful Ethiopian nanny.
I suspect I won’t ever forget that day or the kindness shown to us by those caring for our daughter until the time we can. And in some ways it feels as if this was the moment I became Lu’s mother, and she my daughter. Even though we had passed court legally the day before, or had fallen in love with her photo months and months prior, and dreamt of her for years beforehand- it was this moment of acknowledgment from one mother to another, of hearts divinely entwined.