In December 2012, I saw her face in a photo for the first time.
On August 18th, 2013, I saw a video of her, and knew at that moment, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was my daughter.
Today, February 3rd, 2014, I will meet her. It's 5:42am here in the middle of the African sky. I'm still on my plane, and we are preparing to land within an hour. It's been a 12 hour flight so far. I've been sleeping (uncomfortably) off and on the entire time, listening to my kids' favorite movies so that I feel closer to them. Despicable Me 2. Turbo. I feel a little silly, having them running, but I don't really care.
I was lucky. I had an entire row to MYSELF. (What?!?!?!?!?) No sharing, no climbing over people to get to the bathroom. I had extra pillows. Extra leg room. Another gift. :)
I've just been spacing. Napping, playing with photography apps on my iPhone. Thinking. But not about her. I can't bear it. I've been focused on arriving in Addis. What I need to do. How to do it. Find the visa entry area. Get a visa. Go through customs. Get to the bank and exchange money. Pick up my bags. Find Abraham (my driver). Get to the guesthouse. Pack a bag for the Transition Home. Get Natalie's stuff.
I've been avoiding thinking about her (because then the flight would be torturous with anticipation), but the minute the lights came on and the announcement that we would be landing soon was made, I started getting EXCITED. Crazy EXCITED. I remember how it felt to meet Levi and Z for the first time; how it felt to grab them in a huge hug and never let them go. And I'm dying go experience that with Natalie. That first moment, when everything is worth it and nothing else matters.
Just a few more hours.
12:36am U.S. time, 8:36am ET time. I just got to the guesthouse. My plane got in early and immigration was quick so my driver wasn't there for me. I waited a while and then, being the adventurer that I am, I hired my own taxi (who didn't know where the guesthouse was) and we found it together.
Nat, I'm coming!!!