(Guest Post by Lisa Maxfield of justlove127)
Hey all! I am so excited to get to share with you today! This is my first time ever being a "guest blogger," so I hope I meet your expectations. ;) My name is Lisa and my husband Matthew and I are getting on a plane in a few short days bound for Ethiopia to meet our son, Caden. Eeekkk. Even typing it makes my heart jump. We will be there April 7-10th and, although we have been to South Africa before, we have never been any north of that so it really is all new to us!
Although we will be meeting him during this trip, we will not yet be bringing him home. We are going to Ethiopia for court, as Ethiopian adoptions require two trips. We will go (in just a few days), meet him once, go to court while there, and then we have to leave, returning to the U.S. without our son. At that point it will be up to the U.S. Embassy to decide when he comes home. Its a minimum of 6 weeks and can go as long as 6 months+. Very sad, but it is what it is. Once we have a decision from the U.S. Embassy, will go back and be there about a week. At that point Caden will be with us in the guest house while we have our embassy meeting prior to being cleared to finally come back with us to the U.S.
All that being said, this is our second international adoption! We are the proud parents of a beautiful little girl from the islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. She is almost 3 and the joy of our very existence. She is SO excited to be a big sister.
Our first adoption was very different than this one, because it was and independent adoption, meaning I pretty much did everything on my own. I truly had no idea what I was doing back then but God worked everything out like He promised He would, turning out to be not only a great story, but I would say, the best time of my life!
So here we are, with a few years of learning under our belt and we are adopting through an agency this time. We are with ‘YWAM Ethiopia’ and could not be any happier with them. So although it’s a bit more expensive, I am not alone in the process and for that I am beyond grateful.
I am overall just so excited!! I tend to be different than many of the other adoptive moms that I know. This process is long and grueling. No Joke, it is not for the weak or faint of heart. International adoption is pretty much completely out of your control. You narrow down the country you feel called to, pick an agency, and then its just, "Hold on for your life, cause you 'bout to get on a twisty-tourney, terrifying roller coaster."
So, here’s how I am different. You ready? I really try not to worry about it. Homie say whaatttt? I know, I know. And the funny thing is, if you knew me, you would have just spit out whatever you were drinking/eating 'cause you’d be laughing so hard!
But seriously. Its probably one of the only things that I completely realize that I have no control over. So why make myself sick over it? Because I am the type who will just get sick y’all. Its how I work.
So I just trust the Lord. I trust my agency and the people I know are watching over and taking care of my sweet boy until I can get there. I have so much faith in my agency. I know Caden is in the best hands he can be in besides my own. Not like I don’t get frustrated or like I have some halo floating above my head all the time, please. It’s hard. I just know that it is easier on me and everyone around me If I realize that there is nothing I can do to make the judge, or embassy, or anyone, work according to my time table. It’s a third world country and the best thing to expect is nothing. If you expect a lot you will be disappointed and stressed out. So if you're just embarking on this adoption journey, make it easier on yourself and try to enjoy the journey that you are on. It’s so worth it in the end. Just like mothers with biological children say they forget the pains of childbirth, when your child is home, you will be a family and the waiting won't even compare to the rest of life. Try and enjoy it, even when you feel like you may throw up ;)
Also remember when you get there to take the time of travel if you can. Although you are getting on a long plane flight bound for a foreign land, and stepping off that plane you will be encountering many new sights and smells and things you are not used to, that's okay … Enjoy it! Seriously, take it all in, you will be there such a short time (normally) and I would hate for you to look back on the experience and find missed the opportunity to embrace the country for what it is. The beauty of where your child comes from! Its truly amazing if you think about it. And your child will likely ask you about it when he/she is older, so it will help for you to soak in as much as possible.
I have started the packing ‘process’ and making my lists. Checking them twice and then again just in case. There is so much that I want to bring for my son. But we have been told that we really aren’t allowed to bring anything specifically just for him, because most of the items get shared between all the kids. I get it, I really do. But I was hoping to bring some small things just for him. In fact, I think I am still going to try. Of course I won't be angry if I never see the items again, they will be helping comfort other sweet children. Who wouldn't want that?
So for Caden, Matt and I have been sleeping with a few blankets so they smell like us. (Some other children may fall in love with us too, but that’s ok ;) I have a few shirts, and a pair of pants as well. Not a lot.
I also have 2 huge bins of things that we have gotten, or people have donated for the orphanage. We have gotten a lot of great things such as :
- Tons of Baby Wipes. (Target has had a box w/ almost 800 wipes for $7 not on sale!)
- Clothes for the kiddos. Tons. (All different sizes. Ask your friends w/ kids, they will want to help.)
- Nipples for bottles (All sizes.)
- Depends for the widows (We have Widow homes as well.)
- Toddler Toys (Wouldn’t recommend stuffed animals, they can't be washed and spread germs.)
- Chewable Vitamins
- Hand Towels
- Cloth Diapers
- Scrubs for the nannies to wear
- Men’s Shirts for the guards to wear
What will you bring? I'm sure there are so many things that would greatly help any orphanage!
When the U.S. Embassy gives their final approval, we will return to Ethiopia and you can bet that we'll be bringing stuff for Caden. Since he will be staying with us in a guest house for about a week, we will need things to care for him while we're there. These things include (but are not limited to):
- Cocoa Butter
- Tangle Teaser (Or something softer or a wide toothed comb. I'll know more what we'll need after I meet him.)
- Burt's Bees shampoo and conditioner (I've heard is good and want to try it)
- Sunscreen (Aveeno baby probably)
- Aveeno Baby Wash (This is what we brought for our daughter, Koral, and loved it in country.)
- Diaper Cream
- A Portable Bath Tub (We brought one when we picked up Koral, see pics here on this blog post.)
- Clothes (Although we will not know what size or what season until we get final Embassy approval.)
We will see how much I am relaxed when that time comes ;)
justlove127 comes from the Book of James. It’s a call she and her family have answered and will continue to answer as they are told: “What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this; to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.” James 1:27