This was the most emotional part of the trip for me. As we sat there at the Ethiopian Airlines gate waiting to board, Yosef sleeping in Kevin's lap and Biniam in mine, I looked at our boys and it hit me--hard--that these children were leaving behind their life, past, culture, birth mother and biological sister...it was a really huge thing to think about.
The weight of what we were doing also hit like a ton of bricks--WE were taking them out of Africa, to the United States, to be part of OUR family. These boys would be raised in America and have no memories of their beginnings. Their lives would be radically, radically different from here on out. I sat there teary-eyed reflecting on the vastness of God's plans, on His promise to turn mourning into dancing and to make beauty from ashes. I thought about the "bigness" of God and about how His ways are not our ways, and about how crazy it is that God chose US to raise these two precious children born a world away. I reflected on the (lack of)prospects the boys would have faced if they had not been some of the rare few orphans who landed in the hands of people who could care for them.
Meanwhile, next to us sat the other family leaving that night for America with their two adopted children. We'd gotten to know them a bit over the week as they were staying at the guest house--the kids were amazing. Their new son, about ten years old, had his head in his hands crying softly. He was so excited to be part of this new family, but devastated to soon be leaving behind his dear older brother who'd been caring for him and his sister. There was a good chance he'd never see him again, and he knew it. It was heart-wrenching and I think I just sat there in shock over the grim reality of the situation. And these were the "lucky" kids.
Praise God that He is near to the orphan and the widow in their distress. I'm so grateful that Jesus can redeem a life, a situation, and make all things new. That even a tragic situation can lead to something beautiful and good. I felt so protective of our little boys as we boarded that plane and I remember feeling the huge responsibility of caring for them, my children. Heavy stuff--I'll never forget that night or the things I felt and saw. But really, I don't want to forget...