Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ethiopia 2 - Preparations

We (again) didn't have much notice when we got to go to Ethiopia the second time, but I'm not going to complain!  It ended up that we had one week from the day our case was cleared by the US Embassy in Ethiopia to the time we flew out.  If I'm honest with you, I wouldn't have minded if it had been even shorter.  This was the trip to bring our daughter home.  My heart was ready to go the very night we cleared!

I'm sure you can relate with me that it's tough to pack for a trip.  Another dimension to my packing that made for quite a challenge was packing for our daughter, someone whom I didn't really know.  Also, she is our first child, so I've never packed for a child before.  How many diapers should I pack?  What toys will she like on the plane ride back?  What foods will she eat?  What size clothes will she be wearing? 

All of these significant unknowns made for a lot of extra packing.  I wanted to overpack diapers because really, who wants to run out of diapers?  I wanted to make sure she had enough clothes to wear if some got dirty and I wanted to try out my cute new outfits on her, so I packed at least twice as many clothes as she needed.  And we loaded up one suitcase almost entirely with food.  Food containers for her, puffy snacks for her, and granola bars, cookies, pretzels, crackers, etc. for us.  I am a snacker, and just the thought of me being out and about in Ethiopia without a granola bar in hand made my tummy grumble. 

Zac and I filled up an entire hiking backpack with our clothes and toiletries.  Even though I packed only half as many clothes as I needed (I planned to do laundry in Ethiopia like last time), we still had a full bag.  The we began packing our airplane carry-ons with books, magazines, decks of cards, and - of course - more snacks!

After all those suitcases and bags were zipped tight, we added to the pile of luggage a suitcase brimming with donations for the transition home and orphanages in Ethiopia.  Our church friends threw us a donations shower in which we received mountains of clothes, shoes, and socks for the kids in Ethiopia.  We were so happy to bring an entire suitcase of donations with us.

Looking at the pile, it seemed like a lot.  However, we made some good decisions and wanted to be comfortable yet realistic about what we needed.  All in all we had one hiking backpack, one large suitcase, one medium suitcase, and two small backpacks for the plane.  We could carry it  What would happen when we added a kid to the pile?  Where was she going to go?

The day of our flight, my sister came to pick us up.  I had butterflies in my stomach as we loaded up the car.  I was so nervous and excited I think my hands were shaking!  Even in the check-in line at the airport, I kept thinking, "We are going to get our daughter.  We will come back as a family of 3."  It was the most amazing feeling.  I wanted to turn to the people in line ahead of me and behind me, grab them by their shoulders and say, "Hey!  Do you know where we're going?  We're going to get our daughter!!!"  Then hug them like a crazy person. 

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