Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Packing We Have Gone!

Hello, fellow adoptive families! Several of you have emailed questions and I thought I'd just combine them all here on this post. I don't feel I have any expert things to share about the packing really, so you should check out other families that have traveled through Gladney as there were several wonderful posts!!! I'm too tired to find all the links, but just go search on all the past families and you'll find tons of great info! We did use Rubbermaid Roughneck totes for 4 humanitarian aid pieces of "luggage". The rest are our bags, as well as our children's bags for their trip. Yes, it did add up to a trailer load.

Where are you staying, did you get the house you were hoping for?

We are staying at the Ayat House. Several families have done reviews on it and we're thrilled this option worked out for our family. We'll be sharing it with Angie/Anil (Almost Mom blog) and we're excited about that. Our oldest son will be traveling with us.

Are you all packed?

I think so ... we'll have the bathroom stuff in the morning for everyone, but the trailer full of luggage sitting in our garage shows we are filled to overflowing! Some of the things I'm most excited about are care-packages we have the absolute privilege of delivering to some amazingly wonderful children! We will never forget the families that did this for us along our journey and we could not be happier to pass on that blessing!

What are you taking for gifts for caretakers, Belay, etc?

As many of you know we had a special project going on to help cover the needs associated with our adoption. So ... I have packets of hand-made cards for the caregivers as well as the In-country staff for their gifts. Many of you have been coming up with some wonderful ideas yourselves! For us, this just seemed the appropriate gift as these cards represent our journey to Ethiopia to bring home our daughter. In all the pictures we have of Arsema, there are two main caregivers that keep showing up. :) No doubt these special women have played a huge role in her attaching and thriving there at the Gladney Center for the last five months. For them I printed up pictures of them with Arsema as well as a picture of our family. I just put them in a simple photo book. Nothing fancy, but I think they will enjoy not only pictures of Arsema but also pictures of themselves with her as well.

We anticipate the opportunity to meet Arsema's birthmother also. For her we purchased a Bible in her own language. We have a quilted totebag purse type thing to put it in as well as some lotions. We also have a small photo book of pictures of Arsema and a family photo.

How long are your flights?

We have two flights to get us from North Dakota to DC. We end up with a long layover going at DC. Once we're on that flight it's 16 or 17 hrs. to Ethiopia. I forget exactly ...... just LONG! :)

How long will you be gone?

Not exactly sure! :) If we're able to come home early as some families have done (if paperwork goes through smoothly and there is an available flight back) we'll take it! If not, at least we'll all be home before Mother's Day, of which I'm thrilled about.

Are you excited?

I don't really know how to answer this. If you're asking if I'm full of anticipation to meet my daughter finally .... well of course YES! Am I excited that she now has to be moved from her caregivers .. the people she's grown to trust and love and feel safe with? .... no. There is loss with adoption. It's not always popular to talk about ... sometimes it makes people feel uncomfortable. But there is ... and I'm feeling it. It's been a very reflective time for me ... as have the last 12 months. There is a portion of my daughter's life that I don't know a lot about. I know that someday that will will matter to her. So I prepare to go to her birth country with great anticipation. I hope to find bits and pieces of her story from those who have loved her and cared for her. I long for any nugget that I can journal for her that she may have one day. I know these things will be something she'll treasure.

I don't think anything can quite prepare you for this journey. We're going with eyes wide open, hearts exposed .... ready for God to teach us, mold us, change us. We have climbed literal mountains to get to this part .... we have experienced God's faithfulness in ways we could never have imagined. HE alone is the one who has made all this happen. He has worked through so many people ..... yet if it wasn't for Him ... this would never have come to be.

We can hardly wait to smooch on these big cheeks of this precious child. What I have learned along this journey is that you can be over the moon with joy and yet be grieving at the same time. It's so strange, but it's true. I grief for Arsema's birthmother ... I long to see her ... Lord willing, we'll get that opportunity. I grieve for a people who are so loving, yet because of circumstances out of their control are left with pieces that cannot be put together. Above all else .... we rejoice. We rejoice in the One who called us on this journey of faith. We rejoice in what He's done both in our lives and in this precious little one's life. We give Him all praise.

What a gift today to receive yet a few more photos from a traveling family. Thank you Sharon!!! I just love her sleepy eyes waking up. :)


renee treat said...

This post just makes me want to meet you more! Such great insight and what an articulate and thoughtful way of saying it all! See you soon....

coffeemom said...

Sharon, you always say it so well. YOu have the whole picture...and right when you need to. This trip is going to be awesome, wonderful, joyful, hard, sad, disturbing, exhausting, funny...just GLORIOUS - with all that means. SO SO happy for you and can't wait to see her in your arms. Have your techie son (aren't they all?) figure out how to make it happen, we are all dying to see it!

Enjoy. Soak it all in, every savor. Godspeed and God bless yoU!!!!!


Kimberly Baggett said...

i am so excited for you right now!!! very soon you will hold sweet arsema in your arms! i love this post and i cannot wait to see pictures and hear of your trip! praying for safe travels! can't wait to hear from you when you get back home!!! many blessings!

solas4me said...

Wow! What a wealth of great information. Thanks for sharing.

solas4me said...

Wow! What a wealth of information.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

be_a_Mary said...

Thanks for all the helpful tips! I also appreciate your reflective spirit . . . this is an emotional thing, and there are a lot of highs and lows. Thanks for being vulnerable.

Jim and Debbie said...

Have a wonderful time in Ethiopia! I'm so happy that you'll soon have little Arsema in your arms!

emily said...

Oh, I don't know what to say....lovely post. I can't wait to see pics. Praying for your trip!!

solas4me said...

We'll be praying for your travel safety while you are gone. May God continue to richly bless your journey....Melissa (A Darling Life)

Corrine said...

Hello! We have prayed for you all MANY times the last 48 hours!! Danette said she was praying during the night, while feeding Karson :-)
Honey is doing great. The little snow that fell has melted.
Give your youngest daughter an extra hug from me.
Love, Corrine

Jen Jensen said...

Shelly, I have thought about you all weekend! I pray you are doing really really well! All of you! And I can't wait to see updates on your time there! How amazing! :) What a good God we have.

Love you so much! Jen