This photo is from 1 year and 5 days ago, taken within the first few minutes of meeting F.G. and K.D. at the care center. As you can see, I have not made it five feet from the car yet. I remember wondering what the first meeting would be like. I knew it would not matter in the long run, but boy, did I ever want it to go well. And it did. I can still distinctly recall getting swarmed at the car. F.G. immediately clung to CrazyMom and K.D. to me. I felt more like a trophy than a dad, however. K.D. kept yelling, "Papa!" Not to me, but to others to let them know that this was his papa. He clung to me with one arm and used his other to push away any kids who got too close. This was his Papa and there was not to be any sharing. Not yet, anyway.
Tonight it has been a year and a day since F.G. and K.D. landed in America. It is hard to believe all that has taken place in the last year. CrazyMom and I collected the kids and sat down by the fire for a few minutes to talk about the year. We talked about F.G. and K.D.'s first day in America and I was surprised at how well they remembered the details – the dumping of toy cars, the simultaneous wanting of a Buzz Lightyear toy, and which sibling showed them what in the house. It was fun to then turn the conversation and think about what it will be like for Anna just a few weeks from now.
We leave for Ethiopia on Saturday to go and bring Anna home. This time things are a lot different. For one, there are fewer unknowns. We know what the flight is like, we know what it is like to be in Ethiopia, and we know what it is like to bring an Ethiopian child into our home and make her our daughter. This makes the whole event seem smaller, more familiar, and almost more casual.
Another big difference is that there is a lot less hoopla this time. Last time we were going through the process with two other families from our church and things seemed high-profile. There were events, speaking engagements, and fund raising for the group. This time is quieter. Not as much of the advancing-the-cause-of-orphans-the-world-over stuff. I guess the second time around seems less like a BIG EVENT and more simply like a lifestyle.
So off we go. Pray for us. Pray for safety. It would be a real bummer if in our efforts to reduce the number of orphans in the world there ends up being more of them. Pray for our kids as they will have to go the longest they have ever been without us. And pray for Anna. It is hard to imagine all that will be going through her sweet little head as these white people from a land across the sea come and take her away from all she has ever known. For F.G. and K.D. it all seemed wonderful. But they were older and understood more. They knew things Anna may not know. So keep her - and all of us - in your prayers.