I found it terribly hard to say good-bye to Matthew a couple of hours ago. I cried at the last good-bye. This morning, before we left the house, Matthew and I both had anxiety-related upset stomachs for a while, but it got better for both of us as we talked about things for the last time before our departure. He's doing so much better about the whole separation thing than he was a week or two ago. It's tough for a kid who gets to spend most of every day with his ever-lovin' mama, to contemplate separation - especially at an age where he understands and fears the uncontrollable aspects of life. It's tough for a mama, too, to be separated for this long from the boy she waited so long for, and spends so much time with. Sigh...the tears feel a bit close again.
We have talked endlessly, he and I, about the fears he has about our leaving, and I have done my level best to allow him to experience the pain of it while still assuring him of our love and that he will be well cared for in our absence. For a six-year-old boy, he has been amazingly mature and sensitive about the whole thing. In addition to all of the talking, I have tried to help him by doing a couple of very specific things for him:
- First, I bought him a digital tape recorder just like the ones I bought for his brother and sister. Geoff and I spoke into it, then I 'interviewed' Matthew on tape about things he loved about our family (etc etc), and I then read about nine long stories onto the recorder so that he can still experience my voice reading him stories at bedtime...I even said "beep" in a high-pitched voice whenever I turned the page of the book I was reading so that he could follow along in the book while I read it to him. I closed the recording with a final few thoughts about him and about our love for him, and then gifted the recorder to him. He was thrilled to receive it!
- Second, I made a small photo album for him (a smaller version of the one I made for his brother and sister), highlighting pictures of us as a family, and including pictures of the three of us holding pictures of his brother and sister. Again, I think this will be a real hit.
I'm hoping that we'll be able to access our email and my blogger account while we're away, so that he (and the rest of our family and friends) will be able to follow along with us on our adventure.
I have very little confidence that we will pass court on Friday, given recent events around MOWA's requirements for the dating of documents (another family in our situation did not pass last week). But we're still doing ok about it. I now have a bit of a plan for our post-court time in Ethiopia, assuming we don't pass, and that's been helpful, too, to come to grips with not hearing the magical words at court date #1. It's going to be ok.
I wonder how we're going to find Ethiopia. It seems like families who have travelled before us feel quite extremely about Ethiopia: it seems like families either really, really love it; while others seem to really not have a good experience. I so want to love the country that will provide history and depth to our children's lives, and therefore to my life as well.
Well, we're about to find out...we've been called to board flight #1!! My heart is pounding!
Blessings on everyone back home, especially to our beloved Matthew. We'll be in touch as we can...and you all know me and my need to write and talk...if it's possible for me to write about our trip, I will!!
So...let the adventure begin!! Ethiopia, kids, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!