I was talking to my mom this weekend about my excitement for the 2 trips to Ethiopia, and she acted a little shocked. She said that was news to her and requested a blog post about it. Yes, Momma, I will obey.Since finding out in April 2010 that we'd have to make 2 trips to Ethiopia instead of just 1 trip to pick up our kiddos, I've been adjusting to this idea. On one hand, it's really hard to know that we'll have to leave our kids in Ethiopia for another 4-8 weeks and that a 2nd trip will cost an additional $5000 [or so]. On the other hand, there are a number of perks that come with 2 trips.
- We won't have to jump head first into the deep end of parenting. We get to hang out for a few days with each other but not have to instantaneously be with each other. After 9+ years of marriage, we consider this a gift from God to slowly mess up our routines and expectations about our next stage of marriage!!
- Adoption experts affirm that - especially for Lil' A - meeting each other, spending a few days as a family of 4, then bringing them home at a later date is best for his transitions and attachment. I can't imagine the grieving this little guy will do. So the time gifted between court dates and bringing him home [Embassy date] will be good for his soul. After the court date, we will leave him a photo book which also helps in attachment and transition.
- We'll be able to get a glimpse into their personalities and needs. This will even help with creating their room and buying stuff for them/their room.
- On the first trip, we'll be able to purchase gifts for our kids as they grow up to reinforce their heritage and explore their birth country.
- Brian and I LOVE traveling and LOVE Africa - so this is a gift for us. We'll be able to soak in Ethiopian culture all the more by spending 2 weeks in Ethiopia versus 1 week.
- We'll get a dry run in traveling without kids before we have to do it with them. We'll work out whatever kinks exist to make the 2nd trip home as good as possible!
- Our church has a partnership with Lifesong for Orphans and Gobena Coffee. During our first trip, we will get to see what these 2 amazing organizations are doing in Ethiopia. We hope to get some video and photos of how our church is making a difference in Ethiopia.
- After the 1st trip, we'll be able to tie up lose ends in our jobs to prepare for our maternity and paternity leave. I'll be taking a 3 month maternity leave, so this enables me to prepare my team, delegate responsibilities and "leave well" for a few months.
- The time between trips will also be great to prepare our village for the imminent reality of having 2 Diaz babies home!
- We'll be able to focus the 2nd trip entirely on our kiddos! We won't need to travel, purchase anything, or go anywhere. The 2nd time in Ethiopia will be all about bonding and transition.
One of the HARDEST things for me [a planner!!!] about adoption is not having an end. When you're pregnant, you more or less know your due date. Planning and mental preparation are made possible because of this due date. With our adoption we've been in a state of limbo for most of 2010. We haven't made significant travel plans, committed to events or opportunities, committed to added responsibilities, or even completed a nursery because we haven't known when we might need to travel - TWICE - to Ethiopia. It just throws off everything.
Yet, having a couple trips has allowed me to settle into the future labor and delivery that will take place. It's my ultrasound of sorts. It's my version of contractions that's allowing me to settle into our new family.
Finally, all along we've known that our adoption is much bigger us or the 2 little ones who will become Diaz's. We really feel like these 2 trips will also enlarge our communities' hearts for our kids and awareness of adoption. We are praying that's true!