The reality that we are leaving home in just over a week is finally sinking in. This trip has been years in the making, and the journey to get to this stage has had quite a few twists and turns (as all journeys do).
In its original form, our vision of traveling around the world included a fourth child (I’ll pause here for you to contemplate how insane Karl and I really are)… Good? Good.
Now that we’ve settled that, let’s continue. In 2008 (just a few months after returning home from Africa with Meskie, and experiencing a void that used to be filled by the endless paperwork and stress of international adoption), we decided we wanted to adopt again. I kid of course. Not about the adoption. About the joys of multiple criminal record checks and social worker home visits. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart, but we knew the drill and like a good challenge.
Truth is, we felt strongly that this was something we could – and should – do, for a whole host of reasons. What can we say, we love kids (except when they’re annoying us or they’re awake in the night… or both).
Four years into the process and we were still waiting. By this time we had renewed our paperwork several times, as per adoption rules (love those crim checks!) and we were growing weary of the process. We were getting older, our kids were getting older. Thoughts of leaving the adoption program were creeping in, but we weren’t ready to let go. With the Ethiopia program slowing to a standstill, we decided to switch to the Swaziland program. More paperwork. More crim checks. More money. More waiting.
We set a deadline of December 2012. December came and went. We set a new deadline.
Why couldn’t we just throw in the towel? Rationally, we could understand when people said, “Your kids are getting older, the gap in ages will be so big.” “Do you really want to go back to diapers and night waking now?” “You’re lucky that you have 3 kids already.”
But this process was never particularly rational. For five years, we believed we would adopt another child. For their entire lives, our kids talked about “baby brother.” Meskie was excited to have someone else in the family who was “brown like me.” We made sacrifices and put many pieces of our lives on hold for this to happen. It may seem completely irrational, but I equated leaving the program with abandoning my child, even though I didn’t have a name or a face to attach these emotions to.
So we waited. But the seeds of doubt crept in and as months passed, we finally accepted the reality that this was not going to happen for us. It was emotional, but time has a way of softening the edges of disappointment. And so it has for us.
The original name of our blog was “And then there were 6.” But “The Fab5” has a pretty nice ring to it too…