A week ago today, we were waiting in faith to hear that a very important packet had been delivered to the embassy of Jacob's birth country. At 3 weeks in Africa (when we were told to expect to be there a week to ten days...) this last piece of the puzzle was what we were waiting on. We had heard that it had left it's departure place on it's way to us the previous Tuesday and it was expected to be there Thursday morning (providing there were no delays, which we experienced every delay you could think of and some bet you couldn't even dream up...) you could hear the uncertainty in the consulars voice at the embassy when we told him we weren't planning on changing our flights, he wanted us to make sure we choose the safest route possible, meaning making sure we gave ourselves enough time if that "just in case" moment came and the packet didn't arrive when it was scheduled, but we didn't change the flights.
I think it's safe to say that those three weeks we spent in Africa we the hardest of our lives so far. And we're still processing from all we saw, heard and experienced while we were there. But there are new kinds of thankful that left with after being there.
We spent time in a country where power isn't guaranteed. You don't just "get" power like you do here in the states. You're lucky if you get a full 6 hours of power there (and it's typically not all at the same time..maybe from 7-9 and again a few hours after midnight..maybe..don't plan on it though.) One night we were sitting at the kitchen table in Africa and I heard the fans click on (which meant, power!) and then after we heard yells and cheers from the people outside the walls of the compound we were staying on. Excited screams as power was on and people had lights and could see, families could cook without candle light and the streets weren't dark for a while. As I listened to those screams I remembered when we would loose power here in the states for a few hours, and how frustrated I'd be because that meant the wifi didn't work, or that we'd have to reset everything because the power went off. My how our perspectives have changed since our time in Africa. It's amazing what a little bit of light in darkness can bring.
Now that we're home, I don't think I've ever been so thankful to drive around our town and see familiar sights. To take a warm shower after three weeks of taking a cold one (side note, I appreciated the cold showers while there because they helped cool you down) but the feeling of having endless hot water is something many don't have.
Ice cubes, I've never been so thankful for ice cubes and cold drinks. To be able to safely drink water right out of the tap.
I'm thankful for the rough road that we had to walk to become a family of three. For the stories we will tell our kids one day, to tell little baby girl how we traveled to Africa together while she was 7 months in the belly and came home with just 6 weeks shy of her due date, and how she got to come along on the adventure to pick up her brother. To tell Jacob stories of his birth country, and how different life is there. To tell him all that happened in those three weeks and how it was absolutely nothing short of miracle after miracle that he came home when he did.
So today as we eat up our Thanksgiving meal until we feel like we'll burst, a piece of my heart will be with those friends we spent time with while away, new and old friends. I'll be thinking of the bumpy roads they'll be driving down to get to their meal, the feeling of hot, humid air coming through the windows and praying that they get to experience a night full of city power while they enjoy their meal.
And we're super thankful for this kid right here, and for how far he's come just being with a family for almost a month now. He's pretty special, and we can't wait to see what's in store for our family now that he's home with us.