Here are a few pictures from our trip. (I can't post full pictures of Abi until after court... so these will have to do for now.)
This is our room with the mosquito net.
It was a very nice hotel.
Notice the woman carrying things on her head. So amazing.
We got to spend about 3 hours with Abiella each day and she just wanted to be held and cuddled the entire time. Her hands are so cute and she loved grabbing hold of our fingers. Can't wait to show you more!!
This week has been very good and very tough. Before we left for Ghana, I didn't allow myself to think about what life would look like after the trip. I didn't want to set myself up for anything specific or place any expectations on what I would feel or should feel. As our plane left African soil last weekend, I looked at Sean and started to cry. I was excited to get back home but so sad to leave Abiella. Twenty hours later as our plane landed in Nashville, I felt so grateful to be home and so incomplete all at the same time.
I thought each day would get easier, but instead it has gotten harder. Each day I'm here, I feel further away from Abiella and quite honestly the culture shock of being back in America has been a little more than I anticipated... stepping off the plane into the middle of commericialism packed, every kid deserves a million gifts, American Christmas is a little hard to take. As I see people buying hundreds of dollars of gifts for their kids (not saying that's wrong...) I ache. I want to give my little girl gifts too. Except, I simply want to get her vitamins for her formula, a mobile for her crib, a visit to the Vanderbilt Children's hospital, the physical therapies that she needs, the mental stimulation her brain craves, and most importantly a lot of love... and yet none of these things are possible right now. (Of course I can love and pray for her from a distance... but I want to have her in my arms, praying for her, singing for her, kissing her adorable cheeks... )
At the same time, I'm enjoying life on a deeper level. I feel God. I look at life with a greater appreciation. I am grateful for the little and the big. I hold life with a looser grasp and find some sort of peace in knowing I'm out of control...
Today, Sean surprised me with a Christmas tree. I had been planning on getting one all week, but hadn't made time. When I came home tonight I looked up and in the corner was a beautiful tree, already set up, with the lights on, just waiting to be decorated. What a great surprise! He told me to find a Christmas special on tv. I'm glad he did... I landed on Mrs. Miracle... pretty cute. I may just watch it again. (Instant Netflix.)
Bottom line: This time is hard and this time is good. It is stretching my faith, expanding my understanding of God, growing my appreciation for those I love, and rocking my world with an ache for this child.
It's also testing my patience with the country I love so much and a culture that spends an estimated 470 billion dollars on themselves during a season meant to celebrate the birth of Christ. I can't help but think of the little girl I saw begging for water in Africa, and the little girl down the street receiving her first cell phone, and think "What's wrong with this picture? This is how we've chosen to celebrate Jesus?" (And yet I'm part of it... I've spent $8 on two coffee drinks the past two days. WHAT?!?)
On a different note, I'm looking to connect with moms who are in or have been in the same boat as me (adopting, already met their child, and waiting). So if you know anyone... hook me up :) My email is located in the contacts page above.
Also, if you feel like sending some of your Christmas cheer towards a fantastic non-profit, check these out. I'm in love with each one :)
Blue Monarch - residential women's shelter for women suffering from abuse and oppression. I attended a graduation celebration for one of the women today. These women are some of the bravest, most courageous women I've ever met.
Ride for Reading - donates new and gently used books to underpriviledged children
Ekisa - oprhanage in Uganda for children with special needs