Sunday, June 24, 2012

Farewell But Not Goodbye

June 12, 2012

Well, our last day was just as hard as I thought it would be.  And just as wonderful.  Man, Eli has totally stolen our hearts.

As we did yesterday, we slept in a bit and headed over to the care center about mid-morning.  Our agency had photocopied Eli's file for us and we reviewed parts of it we hadn't seen the other day.  When we fist decided to adopt, I had this certain image of an "orphan."  As it turns out, real life is a bit more complicated.  I'm glad our agency shared all of this information with us so we can share it with him one day.

The little orange squishy thing we brought yesterday was pretty much destroyed.  Good thing we brought a few more.

Hi, mom!

I love these squishy things!

Daddy and Eli blowing bubbles.

Our sad little boy laughing, just a little.

We brought the portable photo printer with us to the care center, and Eli was fascinated watching photos we took then come out of the printer.  We took several pictures with the care center staff and gave them some prints.  

We also took one last family picture and printed it for Eli.  

The nannies at the care center take really good care of the kids and they don't allow our visits to disrupt their routine.  After we'd been there for about an hour, one of the nannies announced it was time for Eli's bath and she took him away.  When he came back to us he smelled so sweet that I just wanted to gobble him up.

And while we were in his room, we got a glimpse of a little mischievous sparkle in our boy, which really lifted our hearts.

When we left him, I felt really sad and deflated--like all the life had been drained from my body--but amazingly did not cry.  I think if it felt like Eli knew we were his new parents it would've been harder to leave him, but I don't think he ever really understood who we were. Just some nice people who came to visit him, perhaps.  We miss him terribly, but I'm not sure he's missing us right now.  And I'm glad about that; he's had enough upheaval in his life already, without adding losing us to his list of hurts.

Optimistically, we'll be back by the end of July to bring him home; realistically, it could be more like August.  And if we have problems with our Embassy review . . . well, I don't even want to think about that.

After we left the care center we had lunch at Lucy Restaurant again, then went back to the hotel to pack and rest up for our long trip home.  Our flights were again uneventful, and this time we were able to pack everything into our two checked bags, one backpack and one rollerboard.  So no fretting about lost or stolen camera equipment for me.

After almost a week of buying meals and delicious coffee in Birr, where one of the best macchiatos I've ever had cost about $1 US at our hotel, hanging out in the Frankfurt airport for several hours was a bit of a shock.  Lattes for two and apple pastry for one, $20 US.  A few snacks and chocolate for the plane, $20.  One sausage with sauerkraut, a pretzel and two beers, $20.

Oh, but those Germans do know their sausage, kraut, pretzels and beer.  Even the airport vending cart Germans.

After 27 hours of talking about Eli, napping, talking about Eli, watching movies, and talking about Eli, Brad and I made it back to Denver.  And other than napping and watching movies, we've been doing the same thing ever since.

Eli Lingo, xoxo.

p.s. I wrote this series of posts each night when we were in Addis. The Internet connection allowed me to draft in Blogger, but uploading photos just wasn't happening. And I know photos is what you all really want. Photos of Eli.

And while it's brought me a lot of joy to go through our photos and publish these posts each morning, remembering our precious days with Eli, it also leaves me with an acute sense of longing for Eli that's hard for me to shake.

So I'm stepping back from our time in Addis for a bit, to let my sense of loss settle back into a more chronic state with more emotional distance. Because otherwise I don't know I'll make it through this wait until we can return to Addis and bring him home.


  1. Wanna know something weird? My daughter is in Africa right now, too. (For a totally different reason, but still.) And that ache? doesn't go away, even when they're grown. And to be that far away? Yep, you're a mama, alright.

    I've loved your posts of the trip. I'm no expert but I do see more recognition in his eyes from the first day to the last. There did seem to be a little more relaxation with you. It's something.

    1. It's nice to hear you see that in the photos as well, because it's hard for me to separate what I see from what I feel. Know what I mean?

      Your girl's in Malawi, right? Can't wait to hear about her trip.

  2. There's definitely a spark there, and I know that spark will be relit when he sees you guys again. I'll be waiting for the next chapter in your journey, whenever you are ready. :)