I remember moments of that week feeling completely overwhelmed, wondering how we would ever get everything done. Justin had a big youth event the Thursday night before we left that took up a lot of this time, so I needed to step it up and get all the things together.
Let me tell you, packing for your son whom you've never met and still aren't sure of his size was not an easy task. Also, packing when you're almost 30 weeks pregnant and nothing quite fits right isn't easy either.
We used the nursery for our catch all spot, and so many friends stepped up and ran to the store for me for random last minute things I forgot to grab. The piles grew and grew and I wondered how we would ever fit everyting in the 4 bags we were hoping to bring.
We didn't fit everything. haha. We decided to suck it up and just pay for another bag. The funny thing was, on the way home we knew we'd each be allowed to check two bags with no fees, but on the way there, we were only allowed one bag each, but we returning as a family of 3, so you see the dilemma.
In the midst of the craziness, some sweet friends dropped everything they were doing to take some time out of their busy schedules and pray over us and our trip. It was so needed. We just took a break from the craziness that had filled our lives over the last few days and spent time together. I remember leaving feeling at peace, and also anxious realizing that the next time we would see many of these people would be when we stepped foot back on American soil as a forever family.
We rode back home with a sparkler celebrating the end of the season of this wait in our lives...
We got everything packed and prayed the night before for a good nights sleep because we knew we had a few long travel days ahead, so off we drifted..the last night in our house without our little boy under the same roof. Anxiety and excitement set in...the day was finally here...
So. Much. Paperwork. It was neatly packed, with multiple copies made and back-ups on flash drives.
The Sacramento airport, I remember posting this picture with the title "See you in 10 days Sacramento!"
Little did we know we would spend over three weeks in country when we were told to plan for a maximum of ten days. We've been reflecting as a family a lot the last few weeks on that time in West Africa. A time where our faith was tested beyond what we ever could imagine.
That time in country was a sweet time, a time that we will always remember. A time where we took many walks around the compound, met and said goodbye to missionaries that were forced to leave due to Ebola. A time where we got a taste of missionary life and have a whole new respect for those who live it daily.
It was a time where we lived on opposite time zones and treats of FaceTime before bed were one of the best times of our day. We learned to cheer when the city power turned on, enjoy cold showers, get creative with washing laundry and fire our bread ;)
And then we booked tickets back, against the advice of the embassy because no one really knew if the visa would get here when everyone thought it would (because West Africa.. ;) ) But we booked them and prayed, and watched that DHL tracking like no ones business. And then the day that we were supposed to leave at 6pm, we saw that the Visa had been delivered to the embassy..at noon!
We picked it up on the way to the airport. I remember watching out the window as we drove to the airport, trying to take mental pictures so one day we can tell Jacob about his birth country. I remember trying to take in it all, the smells the sounds, the people, the way the warm humid breeze blew on my face as the window was rolled down.
It was bittersweet as we said goodbye to what had been our home for over three weeks and Jacobs home for over 4 years.
We bored the plane after our Ebola checks! ;) because one can't forget about all that. And started the journey home, with Jacob.
After over 30 hours of travel. We were home, and we took that coveted picture that all families dream of when they start their adoption process, the picture coming home as a family.
Jacob is home.
And we were greeted by our village on that cold November night.