Monday, February 3, 2014

Ethiopia Day 1, Part 1

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. 

Meet Natalie. 

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!!!


  1. It's awesome that you can be there to give Natalie a real hug and love on her and reassure her that you guys are real and you're coming when you can. I'll be praying for your time in Ethiopia and for her understanding as you leave, that she'll know that you're coming back!! What an awesome picture of God's love- flying 12 hours to say hey, we still love you and we're fighting to bring you home!

  2. Just put her in your carry on and come introduce her to the neighborhood. See you soon to hear your stories. Hugs from the neighbor

  3. This is amazing! Can't wait to read more of your adventure and hear about your time with Natalie. Praying so hard for you guys and this time you get to pour love into her. And for your mama's heart as you try to assure her that she is yours and that one day soon she will be going home with you and meeting her daddy and brother and sister.

    be blessed!