So instead I'm writing this on an airplane. Somewhere between here and Qatar. No idea where. But if you will indulge me, I'd like to take you back a couple of weeks.
The last week in June we were checking email very carefully to see which steps had been completed in IC's embassy process. We were really hopeful we would be submitted July 2nd and be on our way to Ethiopia shortly after. But we got an email June 29 saying we wouldn't be submitted until July 9. Well. The good news is we were told it was pretty certain we would ge submitted the 9th and should get cleared 1-4 days later. Normal people would be excited about this development and would patiently wait to be cleared and book tickets and happily travel once they had their interview dates in stone.
If there's one thing IC needs to know, it's that his parents are not normal. Never were. Never will be.
When we heard the news we would for sure be submitted on the 9th, the only date we saw was the 13th. We desperately wanted to be with our son on the 13th. Our anniversary. Our 7th anniversary. So we chatted. And we chatted. And we took a leap.
Before we were submitted to the embassy, we bought plane tickets to go pick up our son.
I don't think there's a strong enough way to say this: we do not encourage our behavior be modeled by anyone. Ever. EVER.
Because in Ethiopia (and let's be honest, in every government ever) nothing is ever certain. There were a million ways this could go wrong. Our paperwork could get lost. We could have a weird unexpected delay. Anything. But we didn't care. We wanted to get to our son. So we booked plane tickets.
Round trip plane tickets. With a return date we weren't sure would work.
And then we prayed a lot and laid low. Well not too low. We had a lovely weekend with my family for the 4th. Their friends threw us a shower so beautiful and so overwhelming I still can't wrap my head around it. To grasp this, you have to know my parents moved to their current home two weeks before my wedding. So I never lived there. And they have lived there 7 years. and yet somehow the people have surrounded our family and made us feel like small town locals. Like we've always been there. Which is a big deal in a small town.
Anyway, the next week we held our breath and waited for the definite yes that meant we had been submitted. As we prepped the room and packed suitcases we knew there was a slim chance this all
might come crashing down. But Wednesday came and I got the "your case has been submitted" email. First sigh of relief.
We had heard most people cleared within 1-4 days of submission and we had asked those who knew we booked tickets to pray we would be cleared before we actually left the US. So when I woke up Thursday morning to no email, I was a tad but disappointed. But I really didn't expect it. So when my email "pinged" at 6:45 while I was getting ready and it was THE EMAIL, I was floored. Our prayers were answered. We were cleared to pick up our son. The return ticket would work. And it was all really happening. We would pick up our son on our anniversary. And he would be ours forever.
And then it really, REALLY hit me that we were less than 24 hours from take off and there was still so much to be done. I thought I would be more prepared booking a week ahead but it turns out no. It doesn't matter how much you prepare. You're gonna be down to the wire. If you are me, that is.
So I marched into the office Thursday with a mile-long to-do list. We started the morning with meetings. And it quickly turned into a beautiful, overwhelming surprise baby shower with friends and coworkers. Oh my goodness it was so much love. Like so much. If I could write a book on how to support adoptive parents, it would be all about the way our friends and family have already done everything by the book. The unwritten book. So maybe this metaphor falls flat. But you get it.
I left work with a trunk full of goodies and a back seat full of donations and realized it all needed to be put away and I needed to be in the airport in 10 hours. So we did what any good couple did: we called our family in town. Uncle Pete and Aunt Cay Cay arrived with dinner and unlimited energy. And by 1 am, all the bags were packed, the donations were stuffed, the toys were tucked away (more on this later but we are trying to not overwhelm IC so many of the gifts will make their appearances later), and the to-do list was ta-done.
We crashed and 4 hours later headed out of the house. I mean.
Here's the good thing about our flights: we found it was the same price to fly out of our small town. Win!
Here was the seemingly bad thing about our flights: we were to spend 13 hours in Chicago.
But I called a good friend and she agreed to meet up with us for breakfast. And we got to check our baggage all the way through. Prayers answered, again. And when our sweet friend picked us up off the train, she had an idea. What if, after breakfast, we put our stuff at her place?
We loved this idea. And in fact, we asked if maybe, just maybe, we could crash there for a little while. And that's how we got an almost three hour nap. The best gift. We enjoyed the city and headed back to the airport in plenty of time. What seemed like a really hard plan on paper turned out to be a delightful day.
I'm not wrapping this up in any pretty way. Because, I'm on a plane. And in a few long hours I'll check into our guest house, post this blog, get a few hours of sleep, and E and I will take custody of our son. On our anniversary. On July 13. And we are happy people. So all those details and no conclusion.
To be continued.