September 9, 2008~ We had just completed the 20+ hours of travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, slept as well as we could between jet lag, adrenaline, and the braying of donkeys in the street outside of our room. Bleary-eyed but excitedly we got up early the next morning and headed to a coffee shop to wait for our orphanage director to meet us with our precious new son. What a surreal moment! We ran up to him as he exited her car and had a wonderful meeting... complete with a mom/son embrace, me touching his sweet head about 27 times and Luke scooping him up in a big bear hug. Before we headed over to the US Embassy we paused for this quick photo:
September 9, 2009~ We woke up thoroughly rested, the 5 of us in our home, together for the 363rd night. After Luke and Bethany left (he took her to her writing class near his office), the boys and I had a fun morning of donuts, reading aloud and watching "Walker: Texas Ranger" which the boys faithfully DVR. We met Luke and Bethany for lunch (after he picked her up from writing class) and had a fun "adoption day" lunch at Taco Bueno, reminiscent of the first meal we had once we hit US soil upon our return last year. We stopped at Target on the way home and Minte picked out a new Lego set, his new passion. I also grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. (Adoption Day must include coffee, after all!) He spent the afternoon building with Legos and then we picked up a friend of his on the way to where we celebrated Adoption Day with family at a pizza/arcade/go-cart/laser tag place. After a fun evening of celebrating with some friends and extended family, we stopped for this quick photo:
As I look at those two sets of smiling faces, exactly a year apart, I can't help but think of so many memories of this past year. God has been so good during Minte's transition into our family. In many ways it seems he's always been here. In just as many ways it's hard to believe it's already been a year. Time seems slow and fast at once. Happiness and joy over our newly-formed family coexist with the sadness and grief that comes with adoption. There is a comfortable familiarity but still much to learn about each other.
Through it all, there is one constant- love. The instantaneous, indescribable love we felt for him the moment we embraced him, as well as the abiding, never-failing love of our Heavenly Father Who has held us all during this entire process. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!