Monday, January 29, 2007

Goodbye For Now

I didn't like the last day with Yosef and Mihret and I don't particularly like writing about it. But it's all part of the story of what God is doing in the lives of these two children, in my family, and in so many who have been touched by God's goodness in all of this. And in the end, I know that God is faithful until the end of the age...

The moment we walked through the gate of the orphanage, both kids looked up at us from their homework with eyes that were so sad that it immediately brought tears to my own eyes. They knew it was our last day and that they weren't coming with us this time. We knew that we had to make this a happy time with them though so I choked back the tears and sat down with Mihret to help her with her homework. She was so much more sullen today than she had been the other days. She just quietly practiced her reading and I tried to memorize how it felt to hold her on my lap, how her hair smelled, the softness of her cheek next to mine. How unnatural for a mother to have to leave her child on the other side of the world. My heart was breaking...

After a while I switched with Avery and went over to sit next to Yosef who was practicing the parts of the body in English. It's kind of funny to see a bunch of Ethiopian kids pointing at their chin and calling it a "knee...no....fingerrrrr (roll the "r" for full effect)....no....a ch...ch...cheeeen!" I sat next to him and kept my hand on his back. I've not been a mother to a kid this age before. I can't wait to have him with me everyday. He's so smart. He's older than Kaitlyn and Lucas and he already has an independence that I haven't mothered before. I can't wait to really know who this little man is. I wonder what he wants to be when he grows up? I know that God has surely made him for something very special.

As it was getting time to leave the nannies began to tell us goodbye. The first one (somewhat awkwardly) stuck her hand out to shake it and I told her, "Aiy- habesha" (No- Ethiopian) and all of the nannies smiled and laughed at this. They began to give us the traditional Ethiopian cheek kisses as we said goodbye. We were going to be taking a baby with us to escort him to America where his family had anxiously been awaiting his arrival since his courtdate last fall before the courts closed. The nannies had gotten him dressed in a traditional Ethiopian outfit that he would wear as he left his country. I was so happy to be able to escort this baby. But at the same time I pray that Yosef and Mihret don't feel betrayed because we took this baby but we didn't take them. I made sure that Yosef understood that the baby did not belong to our family and that we were just taking him to his new family. Then he explained it to Mihret in Amharic.

Those two little faces were so sad. They just stood there quietly, looking at us. We knew that we needed to leave them on a happy note, not a sad one. So we reminded them that the next time we come that Kaitlyn and Lucas will come too and all six of us will stay in a hotel and swim in the pool. We asked them again if they wanted to do that and both of them gave a smile as they replied, "yessssss." We asked them if they wanted to fly on the plane to America next time and again they both smiled and said, "yessssss." Lord, please let that be a promise that we can keep. Our friend who has so graciously paid for us to go has already told us that she will continue to send us back to visit until our children are able to come home. I am so thankful to know this. Yet my heart can't bear the thought of more visits. I want the next time to be their homecoming.

I took the baby in my arms, said a final goodbye, and quickly walked out of the gate to where the taxi was waiting to take us to the airport. No sense in having long, sad goodbyes. The moment I got into the backseat of the taxi with the baby, he began to cry. Poor little thing had just had his entire world ripped away from him. I would have cried too! I began to sing to him softly in Amharic, "Yenya Exhiabihair yinegsal, Yenya Exhiabihair yinegsal, Lazelalam Mengistuh yinges" (Our God reigns, Our God reigns, Forever Your Kingdom reigns). After a couple of minutes he stopped crying and snuggled up very close to me. I used a piece of cloth we had bought to wrap him tight to my chest. He was very still and very quiet for the next several hours. No doubt feeling very scared. I talked baby talk to him in Amharic ("baby talk" is about my level of fluency anyway, so we got along very nicely!). God is so good to have allowed me to have such a beautiful little baby in my arms on that long flight home. I held him most of the time. God knows me so well. He knew how much comfort I would have in holding this baby. It brought me so much comfort in knowing that at least this one was going to be safe and sound with his Mommy very soon.

God, let that be true for Yosef and Mihret too. They are obviously loved at their orphanage, but no love on earth can compare with that of a mother. Soon....

3 comments:

reneegrace said...

thank you for allowing us to share this with you. God has anointed you for mothering these children, it is precious to get a peek inside your heart! I look forward to rejoicing with you when you bring them home, finally.

ReneeM

KelseyChristine said...

Praying,praying,praying...

Anita and Family said...

Dear Heather,

First off, than you very much for the nice comment on my blog. I read your blog too (!) and have been praying for you, Avery, and your sweet children since I first heard of your story (referenced on another blog, actually).

Prayers for no more visits--just a homecoming!!!

Anita
www.gillispiefam.blogspot.com
P.S. Love your new tickers! ;-)