I haven't talked much about leaving Judah and Addise behind, but every time I have talked about it, I've cried. It was one of THE. MOST. PAINFUL. THINGS. I. HAVE. EVER. DONE.

I've said a few times that I feel like a terrible mother. What parent gets on a plane and leaves her children in Africa!??! I know, I know. But that's just ONE example of how crazy this process is.

When it was time to leave Tikuret and our children, I started a slow meltdown that lasted hours. The nurse had to pry Addise out of my arms and put her in her crib. Seriously, how could they expect me to willingly lay down my daughter, leave that orphanage, get on a plane, and leave her in "strangers" care for undisclosed weeks upon weeks????

The only way I could do it is grace that God cares for them and knowledge that we WERE coming back.

After I laid Addise down in her crib, I snuggled her in the pink blanket we brought her, kissed her lips and forehead one more time, and dragged myself out of her room. Brian was holding Judah and got to kiss her goodbye, too.

We wanted to say goodbye to Judah last. He's older. He's the most aware of what's going on, and yet we have no idea how much he's really processing. He's the one we are most concerned about with his loss, grieving, transitions, and his overall healing.

We walked into Judah's playroom with a bunch of other toddlers, and knelt down next to him. His big brown eyes soaking in everything. He held Brian's hand and I rubbed his head and back. The moment is frozen in time for me. Tears even now remembering that moment. It was time to say goodbye to our son. We silently prayed over his little soul, kissed his cheeks, and pointed him toward playing with his friends. Brian and I walked out of the room and closed the door. I immediately started weeping. Brian held me for a while, and I had a flashback to February 15th, 2009. The day we found our our last fertility treatment failed. And in that moment, like only God can, he spoke.

This is the last painful moment in this tremendously painful journey toward becoming a family. I've formed your family.

While it was so hard to walk out of the orphanage, I left with gratitude and hope that this is the end. My friend Kelly used to say frequently after disappointing infertility results, "this is not the end". She was right. The end is right around the corner.

We flew out of Ethiopia a few hours later on a red eye, and I experienced one of the weirdest things of my life. I was trying to fall asleep so I could get a few hours of sleep before we hit the ground running in Germany. I was drifting asleep as we started taking off, and then something took over my body. I started feeling the WORST nausea that I've ever experienced. The blood drained from my face, I broke into a cold sweat, and weakly whispered Brian's name for help. He grabbed the plane's puke bag [awesome], and for about 5 minutes I sat convincing myself not to hurl everywhere. Brian couldn't figure out where this came from, but I knew. I was leaving my babies in Ethiopia. The nausea was an emotional response from the physical separation we were experiencing. I will never forget that feeling or flight from Ethiopia.

Watching this uncut video will give you a window into "why" I nearly threw up all over Lufthansa's plan...Judah and Addise are 2 amazing kids and I miss them entirely.


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.