Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Oh my sweet child Ben.

I am sitting here in tears, at Panera of all places.. having just reviewed your final 2 days in Addis.. I was simply planning to get the blog post up.

You Mamas.. you mamas out there whose hearts literally hurt when you see your child in pain... you're feelin' me now.

These days.. Ben has moments here and there of fear.. anxiety... and it comes out in swinging of fists and frustration that he is trying to communicate with me that I took something away.. or I'm too far away usually.

But what I am feeling in my soul at this moment.. is all of the smiles, the kisses both given and taken.. the hugs.. the sweet little voice that sings in his crib in the morning.. and the chubby little brown arms always reaching for me.. ALWAYS... always always always.

When he smiles, which is all the time, his little face just lights up and his eyes have this twinkle in them that you just MELT. It's immediate.

So when I look at where he was.. who he was back then.. my heart is restored that maybe all the long and sleepless nights and days that I have poured into the last 4 months are not in vain. His beautiful heart is being restored day by day by the God that formed him in his birth mothers womb. The God who will love him and keep him and has a plan for him I could not conceive.

I can, for the first time in months, feel in my heart that God loves what I did.. and what I do every minute of every day... and I can actually SEE that I was "Jesus with skin on" every step of the way. Ben's little soul is coming out to bless the world and heal one day at a time.. and God put me there to do that.

News flash Erin. You're not a failure. You don't suck. You do something worth it.

I am humbled. I am blessed beyond measure. I have made the world a safe place for a little person who very much loves his mama. Just ask him. Or watch him chase me down the hallway. All the day long :-)

Exhibit A: When he wouldn't look anyone in the eyes...

Exhibit B: (taken a few days ago)

Ben Coming Home from Ethiopia- Post 6 Embassy and Coming Home

May 31st, 2011- Embassy day!!

Sorry.. but the entries going forward weren’t written in real time. Turns out taking custody of a traumatized child doesn’t quite leave time for “blogging”….

(okay real time for this moment.. what is HILARIOUS.. is that I wrote the statement above like 4 MONTHS AGO.. when I was just sure that I would have this up like 2 days later. 4 MONTHS AGO.. pre-"traumatized Ben" me is just so cute.. and clueless)

Anyway, from what I recall:

We were able to get up in a timely fashion, and thanks to my Mom the labor coach, were able to get presentable enough to load back into the van with the other families and head for the American embassy. The Embassy was… well… very American. Shiny and concrete and power toilets and a big 8x10 photo spread of Obama and Ms. Clinton. We passed through security with the regular screening… actually wasn’t quite as crazy as Colombia’s. Once sent into the crowded room, we were given a number. They don’t go in order and you never know when it will be your turn. I believe I was 2nd or 3rd in our group? I was a little nervous about this because I was armed with a folder of plastic sleeved documents (including original Powers of Attorney from Ted saying I could adopt him a kid in Ethiopia).

My interrogation was more than Colombia but not bad. I’m kind of a stickler for adoption related timelines and details so little escapes me. The most involved explanation my worker wanted was why I had traveled for court in December 2010 and why I was just then getting there. Oh, Mr. Officer, I’d like to tell you a little story called “Erin’s Adoption Drama” the details of which I am happy to explain to YOU. Ha. It wasn’t really that bad. Ben was in the Ergo and was getting tired, so he made it decently easy. We were told that his adoption was considered legal, binding, and FINAL by the United States government and that Ben would be considered a citizen upon entering the country. Sounds good to me! They never asked for any of my fancy documents I was all excited to impress them with!

We traveled home, we did nap time, we tried to get Ben to eat a bit more and I believe had some success with a vegetable soup thing that the guest house made. Mom went out with one of the other father’s that afternoon for a little additional shopping. Tuesday night, Mom and I celebrated with some African wine that was quite fantastic.

Real time again for a moment.. look at his FACE.. he was so scared.. I'm so glad I don't see that face anymore. Breaks my HEART to realize it now looking back.

June 1, 2011

Most of this day was spent hanging out with the other babies in the common area. It was our last full day in Addis and one of the only days where we could just enjoy our children. We did!! I went for one final shopping trip with a couple of the other Dad’s for my last time in Addis. It finally became more clear that I wasn’t going to be back in a few months. This was sad. This was Ben’s last day in the country of his birth, at least until he was older. That was sad. Pretty much everything about what I was about to do to this child was making me sad.

June 2, 2011
Here we are... Visa packet in hand.. and the rest is history.

This is what a much loved immigration packet looks like. Don't you dare open the envelope. The world might explode if you do.

This is what an "lap infant" can look like on a 16 hour flight if you're not careful... He is bigger now too. Oops.

All cleaned up and teeth brushed and clothes changed.. in Chicago.

Now back to real life for a moment.. here.. in October... 4 months since this picture was taken. THAT moment.. coming off the plane into KCI with this sweet child of God.. who was born in my heart over the course of a year and a half.. who spent his first days of his life under the saddest of conditions.. who spent every other day of his first year of life.. a little over 365 days in 3 different orphanages.. this picture says it all. You are MINE. You are loved. You are safe.

THIS makes me weep.