The decision for me to travel to Kinshasa without Matt for the second trip was not an easy one. People questioned us and doubted us for making the decision that I would travel alone to a not-particularly-safe developing country to complete our adoption and to then fly home solo with an active toddler. Completely understandable. However, we knew that this was the right decision for us. And we prayed. A lot. And trusted. Trusted that the Lord would not abandon us now.
Oh and how faithful He was! This second trip blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. For starters, Elizabeth and I picked up right back where we left off with attachment. Despite some screams and tears when her foster family handed her back to me, she was back to her smiley self within an hour. She did have chicken pox in the two week span of time between trips, but she seemed mostly unaffected. She slept well, ate well, and played well.
So, yes- Elizabeth was a doll on this trip…. but as easy as she was, I still wanted to get both of us home stat. As I had mentioned, the only requirement that remained before I could fly Elizabeth home was one letter from the Congolese government that cleared her through immigration. We had allotted two weeks in travel for this document to be prepared, knowing that there was some give and take in this. However, we never would have imagined that our letter- this final piece of our adoption puzzle- would be prepared in record time. In only twenty-four hours, our letter was signed and delivered back to us! Everyone was blown away. This is practically unheard of and was truly miraculous. Matt scrambled at home to book my tickets back, and we were both on US soil on 12/10/12, ten days before my planned return home. Unbelievable.
Now, my trip was not all roses, nor was Matt’s week at home alone with Carson and Mary Grace. Have you ever traveled for 30 hours alone with a toddler? Know the exhaustion of single parenting two littles while bearing the stress of your wife traveling to Congo? Yes, there were challenges. I totally held myself together… until I stepped foot into the States. The poor customs guy bore the brunt of my stress as I entered back into the States in Newark. He questioned my customs form asking, “you mean you don’t have any baby food in your bag?”… and I cried! We’re talking tears flowing down my face crying… all because of one little customs question! I apologized and mumbled something along the lines of “sorry, I have applesauce and granola bars and did you know I just traveled for 30 hours with this little girl and haven’t slept in days??”. He stared at me like I had lost it (maybe I had by that point) and let the crazy woman (and baby food) through.
So, yes, there were challenges. There have been challenges. Many of them. But as we see just in this one miraculously quick trip, God has not once abandoned us. He has heard every one of our prayers and has gone before us, behind us, and with us. Elizabeth’s story is a miracle from the very beginning. What should not have been has come to fruition. As I marvel and rejoice, I find myself shifting my gaze from our daughter’s big brown eyes upward to the Giver of Life. Even in our current state of sleep deprivation and piles of laundry, worship seems to be the only response. He alone has done great things.
The Lord has done great things for us; and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3)