|Taken from our rental apartment window at 5am as we finished packing before our flight home.|
We're home again. We pulled into our driveway at 11pm on Saturday night, after being awake for 26 hours. John drank a 5-hour-engery shot AND a Starbucks coffee after we landed at the airport (in preparation for the 3 hour drive home) so he was pretty wired when we walked in the door and immediately started ironing his clothes and reviewing his sermon notes for the morning. I, on the other hand, was so tired I kept feeling like the ground was shifting underneath me. I walked in the door, dropped my bags and immediately ran a bath to get all the travel off me. I think I could have slept the night covered in warmth and bubbles, but for fear of drowning I forced myself up the stairs and into bed.
All the while I kept thinking I hope God gives me a special mothering grace when we bring our little man home because I can barely get myself in bed right now, let alone a toddler!
Maybe I'll join John in his caffeine abuse next trip.
We already booked our flights for the final trip and if all goes well we should come home with our little man around 1am on November 25. It will be 9 in morning for him. Please God reset his internal clock for us.
Due to exhaustion, the joy of our successful court trip has been coming in waves. It is sort of like the experience after completing a final exam, when you have these little moments of panic, trying to remember what you studied or thinking you don't know something you should, and then suddenly it hits you: the exam is over and you don't have to remember all those details anymore! In fact, you could recycle all your lecture notes if you wanted to! YES!!!
Yep, I keep thinking Oh no what if they ask me XYZ in court and I don't know what to say?? and then I remember OH YEA! It's OVER!! We got our "da!"
Best feeling ever.
Side note: when adoption court sessions are scheduled in Russia, the orphanage director, the orphanage social worker, the regional social worker, and agency representative all have to come together to book the date. Our little man's orphanage director was on vacation this week, but back when they scheduled the court session he agreed to come back from his vacation early just so we wouldn't have to wait another week. The moment John and I first met this man we immediately felt his warmth but hearing this news from our translator moved us so deeply. In our region not all directors agree with international adoption so the fact that this man not only supported us, but cut his vacation short for us and our son is truly amazing! I will never forget his kindness.
Although we had hoped and prayed for the opportunity to bring our little man home after our court session, I feel no sense of sadness that we did not get that miracle. I am at peace and I am actually experiencing some relief that he is not home yet. The court trip was exhausting on every level: physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I am so grateful to have a month to restock my reserves before we being our daily parenting journey.
John and I both commented that we keep having to remind ourselves to relax. This is why:
We started off the trip by traveling for almost 24 hours. Navigating international airports, getting through security checkpoints, finding our luggage, our driver etc etc... it all requires a heightened sense of awareness. Then we had our medical exams which we couldn't help but be nervous about. Between the language barriers, the blood draw, the x-rays, and the 6 hours it took to finish... that's just tiring. We had about 10 minutes to feel the relief of passing our medicals before we started preparing ourselves to see our little man again. The will he recognize us? and the I hope he hasn't changed too much! thoughts are constant. Seeing him again was an emotional high like no other and saying goodbye brought its own roller coaster of emotions. After a sleepless night we were getting dressed and ready for our court hearing- stomachs turning, cold and sweaty hands shaking, answers being rehearsed. Lots of praying. Hearing that "adoption granted" sentence was like breathing for the first time all week. When we got back to our hotel room that afternoon John crawled into bed and slept for three hours. I got online to write my "verdict" blog post and called my parents to celebrate. My whole body was buzzing with emotion.
After John woke up we packed our baggage and slept a short night before our driver came and brought us back to the airport! On the plane I noticed that all my muscles were tight from the stress of it all and I would have to work my way down my body to relax them.
Loosen your neck.
Drop your shoulders.
Relax your hands.
Lean back into the seat.
Un-tense your legs.
Relax. It's over. She said, "da."
All this to say: as much as I'd rather just be exhausted and have our little man home right now, I'm going to drink up the silvery lining around this cloud and say I'm glad I don't have to start my parenting journey with no reserves. I'm blessed to have a month to pour into my physical, emotional, and spiritual wells before bringing my son home. This trip showed me just how deep those wells ago and I plan to fill them to the absolute brim before we get him. Vitamins and sleep and good food and mediocre wine. Friendship and date nights and laughter and reading and preparation. Scripture and prayer and hymns and meditating. Fill me up, Lord, so that I will overflow in abundance on my son.
32 days until forever. I want to be a mom who determines in her heart to rejoice and be glad in each day as the day the LORD has made. That's an attitude that requires practice and I think these 32 days are the perfect time to start.