We will be on our way one week from this very moment! How does a family of eight pack for six weeks when traveling half way around the world? I am not sure but I am trying to figure it out. We have three bags packed and only nine to go. It makes me laugh just to think about the six of us checking in with twelve bags at the airport at 4am next Thursday morning~ I am sure we will be a sight. It makes me cry with joy to think that the next time we check-in to travel home there will be eight of us (Lord willing).
The past few days have been filled with thoughts of how Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay are going to handle being in Ethiopia for most of their summer break. I can't imagine how my life would have been different had I experienced traveling to Ethiopia when I was fourteen instead of when I was in my thirties. I really can't imagine having been six and traveling half way around the world to bring my new sister and brother home. To see how most of the world lives each day and to understand just how blessed we are will be a true gift to our children. To see families who have nothing yet have a deep joy that can only come from the Lord is a gift that I am so thankful to be giving them this summer.
I look forward to my kids loving on street kids, caring for kids who live in homes with ill parents, feeding kids who need to be fed, playing with orphans in the orphanages, and the list goes on. I can't wait for our "family meetings" in Ethiopia where we can hear each of their hearts on how God is shaping them. Most of all, I look forward to seeing them interact with their new brother and sister. The good and the bad~ I know that there will be plenty of both!
We have another week to prepare our kids, the best we can, for what they will experience. Trying to explain the sights, sounds, smells and even the 24 hours of travel to our kids can be somewhat overwhelming. After trying to equip each of them, on their level, we will simply pray and trust God to be working in their hearts as they experience what God has in store for them.
On the other hand~ I can't imagine what Tizita and Geremew must be thinking. They are reminded each day that we are going to be there soon. Can you imagine their little minds? What must they be thinking, hoping for, and dreaming of? There is no way that they could begin to imagine all that is ahead for them. A bed of their own, a playroom full of toys, food in the pantry always, a closet with shoes and clothes, and most importantly a family who loves them. A mom and dad that will never abandon them or ever leave them. A brother and three sisters who can't wait to love on them. Four Grandparents who have prayed for 18 long months for them to come home. Aunts and uncles who are ready to meet them. Sixteen cousins who know how to have fun! Unimaginable to them but it will soon be their reality and I just can't wait!
Tizita and Geremew,
A week from tomorrow I will be holding you in my arms. Sometimes this still feels like a dream. Daddy and I will get to introduce you to your big sisters and brother for the very first time and I just can't wait. I heard from Muluken that you are both super excited. Tizita, he told me that you were jumping and clapping when he told you that we were going to come soon. I can see you now bouncing up and down with that amazing smile on your face. Geremew, He said that you had a huge smile and I am sure that your heart must be so happy. I loved talking to you both on the phone and hearing the excitement in your precious voices when we talked about being there soon. It will be very soon........last night I packed both of your suitcases and I am super excited for the day when you get to open them. In 11 short days I pray that you are ours, the suitcases are open and we are playing games as a family! I look forward to sharing with you all that God has in store for your special lives. I can't wait to laugh with you, cry with you, hurt with you, rejoice with you and watch you become exactly who God has made you to be. I love you more than you will ever know~ Mom