Last night we closed one chapter of our family’s story and began the next.
After 32 hours of travel, we arrived in Springfield to a crowd of family and friends there to greet us and our newest family member, Kieran. A delightful homecoming. Our kids were especially excited to see “big brother:” Eva ran up to give him the biggest two-year-old hug she could muster.
It’s good to be home, to sleep in my bed, to drink water from the tap, to navigate a culture I know.
But I’ll miss Ethiopia, one part of this freshly finished chapter.
I’ll miss the wonderful and generous families we met who have also chosen to open their families to “the least of these.” I’ll miss the differentness of Ethiopia–the food, the music, the sounds, the smells. I’ll miss the AWAA staff: Job, Yonas, T, and the host of nannies and support workers at the transition home. I won’t miss the night club down the street from the guest house that played techno/dance music past 5:00 AM every morning.
You can’t romanticize Ethiopia, have a crush on it like a junior high school girl. It’s problems are many and complex.
But you can love it. And we do.
Neither can you romanticize adoption. Raising children is hard work. And, as Russell Moore writes, adoption always begins in tragedy. There is loss and grief and injustice. This is true for Kieran as well as Aidan and Eva.
But adoption also offers redemption and hope.
We’re grateful that God opened our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to this call. Our lives would be much smaller if we’d not listened and obeyed.
Now that we’re back, I’ve had a chance to sort through some images (and post them with fast Internet access). Here are a few scenes from our last (but maybe not final?) trip to Ethiopia.
Liam, who fell asleep on the table at lunch on the day we arrived in Addis Ababa after a long trans-Atlantic flight.
Our first meal together back at the guest house: ramen noodles.
After we passed embassy and received Kieran’s new birth certificate and court decree.
Kieran outside a shop in the Post Office shopping district.
Liam with Job, one of the AWAA staff.
The familiar sight of children’s clothes drying in a well-protected courtyard.
Liam and Kieran in Kieran’s room at the transition home.
Nanny at the transition house. Everyone there loved Kieran and wanted to have their pictures made with him before he left.
Nurse at the transition house.
Holding hands and chatting with a friend before leaving for America (props to Suzanne for seeing this image).
The boys with Job and Abraham, one of our drivers.
Weary travelers in Chicago (ORD) after 30-some hours into our journey.
With a friend from the transition home in Addis Ababa who also now lives in central Illinois.
Thanks to everyone who came out to meet us at the airport (and thanks to Brian Bolton for getting a photo of all of us).