“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So this is my first (and hopefully not last!) post since Eden was placed in my arms – 8 wonderful months ago. A week hasn’t passed that I haven’t felt guilty about not updating my blog, but today of all days, I was determined to make it happen. One year ago today, my cell phone FINALLY rang with “Children’s Hope” on the Caller ID. I was crying before I even answered the phone, knowing my whole world was about to change. Shortly after being told I was going to be mother to a beautiful Ethiopian baby girl, I received an email and viewed her sweet face for the first time. What a day of celebration! I’m choosing today to (finally!) share with you some excerpts of the journal I kept when I traveled to Ethiopia 3-1/2 months later to bring my girl home:

We have arrived safely in Ethiopia. As my country celebrates its independence, I’m about to lose mine. The 16-hour flight was a rollercoaster of emotions, much like the past 2-1/2 years have been. A friend of mine had recently shared how when she went into labor, and the doctor said it was time, she screamed, “No! You can’t! I’m not ready!” And I had a similar feeling today mid-flight. Am I really ready for this? Is any mom really ready?! Can I be a good mom to Eden and give her all the love and care she deserves? The unanswered questions go on and on – I guess that’s a part of motherhood.

And I found myself immersed in my iPod listening to a random shuffle of songs that have shaped my life. It was funny how, as I listened, I could put my thoughts of Eden into almost any lyric. Johnny Lee’s “Lookin’ For Love” (I spent a lifetime lookin’ for you…) and Elvis’ version of “Let It Be Me” (I bless the day I found you…) just to name a couple.

Then, just 15 minutes or so outside of Addis Ababa, my random shuffle of 462 songs chose “Bless The Broken Road”, mine and Eden’s theme song, and the tears fell uncontrollably. It was a reminder that all of this is God’s work – the amazing gift He chose especially for me.

And now I lay me down to sleep (if I can sleep!), praying that Eden will feel the love I have for her and soon realize what I already do.

I woke up this morning at 7AM with the realization I would be meeting Eden in just a couple of hours. They said they would pick us up at 9AM to take us to the CHI transition home. We ate a yummy oatmeal breakfast then I headed back to our room to prepare for our pick-up. Shortly before 9AM, I heard the honks of the van signaling their arrival, and I raced down the stairs, more than ready to take that ride. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I stopped in my tracks. Was that a pink blanket being carried by the young woman in the back seat?! Oh my gosh, could that be Eden?! There was shouting and a bit of hysteria between me, Angie and the Lankfords who had planned to help photograph and videotape the big moment. As we scrambled to distribute and turn on all the cameras, I walked into view of my beautiful girl. As her nanny passed her to me, I was surprised how lightweight she was – so much smaller than I had envisioned (which is certainly fine with me!). She didn’t cry – we just stared at each other – and she gripped my finger. It wasn’t long before she put her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. I couldn’t believe it – I suppose it was just overwhelming for her. By lunchtime, she was smiling from ear to ear and melting my heart. I had always figured I would cry my eyes out when I was finally united with my daughter, but the moment I had dreamed about for so long happened so quickly that it just felt natural and like it was always meant to be. It was a day of so many firsts – first bottle, first poopy diaper, first kisses – lots of kisses! My daughter is even more beautiful in person, and I have spent the day thanking God for the honor of being her mother.

We’re seeing a pattern where Eden does not want to be left alone, not even put down. She cries uncontrollably when I change her diaper or change her clothes, and tonight our first bath time was a disaster and ended not long before it began. Tsegay mentioned to me that she likes to be held and cries when she is not. I certainly don’t mind holding her as much as possible, and I just pray that in time she will develop a trust that I am not going to leave her.

Having Angie here has been a priceless gift. I can’t imagine spending these first few days alone. She has gone into full mommy mode, gently guiding and making suggestions along the way. Not to mention she has been the toter of all bags, official photographer, food server when I’m busy feeding Eden, and pretty much any other hat I need her to wear. I know it’s not easy for her – it would be much easier to care for Eden herself instead of watching this first-time mom blunder through. And she left her own family for a week to help me start mine. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifice and devotion she has made to this journey.

Knowing what a big help Angie has been, I am overwhelmed about doing this on my own. I know I can, but boy, it isn’t going to be easy. I just pray that Eden will be patient with her mommy as she learns the role.

It was overall another good day. When we stopped by the CHI transition home where Eden had lived the past 6 months, several of the workers greeted her – they affectionately call her “Tizu” – showering her with hugs and kisses. They all obviously love the children very much. At one point, one of them reached out to hold her then Eden began crying and reaching out to me. Everyone broke into applause yelling “Mama!!” recognizing it was a good sign that Eden is already distinguishing me as her mom. I feel her trust in me is increasing, but we’ve got a long way to go. One day at a time!


1 comment:

Christy. said...

I'm crying while reading this!!! LOVE it!!