This year the Fourth of July will take on new meaning, as we will be picking up our son that day in Ethiopia to join our family forever. The Fourth of July will also make me think of rhinos.
Let me explain. Our adoption journey began in earnest about sixteen months ago when Tracy first filled out an online informational application on Bethany Christian’s website. Since then, anticipation has been steadily building. At first we did not have much to show except for stacks of paper several inches thick and excited conversations with friends. We read many books and attended hours of training in preparation for the big arrival. The anticipation began to balloon when we received our referral with pictures of our future son. We painted rooms, rearranged furniture, talked to doctors and made other preparations. The anticipation grew dramatically when we got to visit him in his orphanage in Ethiopia. The adoption was completed on that trip, but still it was not time yet. Early last week we received notice that his passport had been issued. Every day this week and last (often times every 5-10 minutes during Ethiopian business hours) we checked our email in anticipation of receiving THE notice we have been waiting for: the U.S. Embassy’s invitation to travel for our son’s visa so we could finally bring him home. Today, we made travel arrangement for his “gotcha day”—the day he is in our arms forever.
I remember when Tracy was first pregnant with our oldest son. Her pregnancy had a similar build up. That first pregnancy was pretty amazing as we anticipated all of the exciting unknowns. At the time, it seemed about all we could take as we waited. Mercifully, she was giving birth to a human (yes, I know, it sounds as if I say that in surprise) and we only had to endure nine months of unbearable, growing anticipation before that wonderful day we got to take him home.
So, this time around it feels like we are about to give birth to a rhino with its sixteen month gestation and, again, its about all we can take. But, this time around, taking our child home for the first time will look a lot different. We will be taking a five-year-old little boy that speaks another language, on airplanes, through airports, across time zones, on greatly disrupted sleep, as parents that are strangers, on a 27-hour trip home.
Celebrate this joyous occasion with us. (As our beloved Pastor Sawyer says, “Yay, Jesus!”) And, please, please pray for us on July 8 as we travel home. I will probably be holding a sleeping (hopefully) little boy on my lap on an airplane thinking about rhinos.
VIEW SLIDESHOW OF LIFE IN ETHIOPIA >
Photos taken by Bill & Tracy during their trip in May 2011