Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 13

Today is bittersweet. In some ways, I had such a great time and in others, I am ill. The happiness wars with the sickening pain inside my chest. 

Today was a last of "lasts". My last time to drive to the juice shop and have a smoothie. My last time to hug my dear friends. The last time to snuggle the little kids and kiss their foreheads. The last time to hold my son close and promise him everything will be okay. 

Today, Micah was clingy, at least for him. He kept his elbow on my leg or his chair touching mine. We managed to enjoy our four hours together, playing card games, drawing, telling stories, reading books, and playing with his kitten. We watched an over dramatic film and we did gymnastics. I took countless pictures and videos. 

I gave Micah his sign name. His Ethiopian name means "lion" and a lion is strong. Just like us. So with the help of my dear friends from the U.S., I gave him a sign representing a lion, his intelligence, and God. Micah was so proud. 

In the last half hour, Micah said, "You're going to fly." 

"Yes, baby. But I promise I will come again. I promise I will never let go of you. I promise. I love you with ALL my heart."

"When are you coming back? How many days."

I started crying. "I don't know, baby. But I promise I WILL come back. You be Jegna! You are a lion. I will come back."

His eyes filled with tears. He smiled bravely, and nodded. And then he buried his head in my chest and I squeezed him. 

I can't go into much more detail because I am in the airport terminal, about to break down and sob and everyone is staring. The little kids clung to me, kissing me and telling me they loved me. I was blinded by tears, stumbling around hugging the babies, the nannies, the guards. We left the orphanage, and I was silently sobbing, inconsolable. My driver was distraught. He encouraged me, he tried to comfort me. He asked me if I wanted a caramel macchiato. I just shook my head and cried harder. He took me anyway but I couldn't order because I couldn't speak. The waiter stood there at a loss. People from all over the street came up asking why I was crying. Everyone begged me to stop. But breaking hearts do not mend in a moment, and the pain continued to spill out. 

We went back to the guesthouse and the girls there tried to comfort me. My driver did too. In the end I went to my room and just laid there looking at pictures and watching videos of Micah. And I cried. 

I only had two hours to pack and be ready. I showered and tried to fix my face, red and blotchy, my eyes swollen into glassy orbs. I gave up. What did it matter? 

Downstairs, people had gathered to say goodbye. My friends gave me gifts. Micah had given me a beautiful picture of himself. I gave him a sweatshirt and an Ethiopian cross necklace. One of Micah's roommates gave me a bracelet that I know he loves. "Jesus loves me." I tried to not take it but he begged me. It's proudly fastened to my wrist now. My driver and one of my best friends in the world gave me a beautiful necklace and earring set. My girlfriend gave me a scarf, a purse, and another item. My other girlfriend gave me a bracelet and a traditional Ethiopian shift. And everywhere, left and right, people gave me berbere, shiro, mesir (lentils), cookies, kollo, etc. I have enough food to feed an army. 

My friend drove me to the airport where he told me not to cry, to remember that God is in control and loves Micah, and that everything will be okay. He promised me to check in on Micah. 

We said goodbye (so difficult; his family is my family) and he waited until I was out of sight. I saw him and his van, tiny miniature figures against the black sky and streetlights, him waving as big as he could. My brother. 

Now I'm alone in the airport. I know the routine like the back of my hand, and with no kids in tow, I get through security quickly. Then I sit, alone and quiet, waiting to board. I am fighting tears and there is a heaviness in my eyes, a choking lump in my throat. Tears well up, but I told my brother I would not cry anymore. He told me to be Jegna. Tenkara. I told him that being Jegna doesn't mean you don't cry. It means you might cry, but you keep on fighting. He hates it though, it stresses him out, so I won't cry. I will be strong. 

I want to sleep. I want to numb the pain and then the tears to memories. I want to check out and go where my mind is blank, where my hurting heart can have respite. 

There was a small boy near me who resembles Micah and has his hair cut. He turned and looked at me and I started. Took a step forward. Realized it wasn't my child. 

JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 

It's 9pm my time, which is 3pm ET time and is 2pm EST. I tried to look through my pictures but it only hurt worse. 

I am lucky. I got all my food through security. Now if I can just get it home......

I am lonely but if someone were here, I wouldn't be able to talk. The lump in my throat is too big; my hands are silent at my sides. I want someone but I don't want to talk. I just want to survive. 

JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 

I've been in the air for 18+ hours now. It's the end of my first flight and we are descending to D.C. I've slept almost the whole time.....a restless and uncomfortable sleep, but I am still thankful for it. When I'm asleep, I can't think about my pain. And now that I am awake, I am numb. I can function without tears, though my eyes are heavy and dry. I feel nothing right now, except the desperate need to hug my other babies who will be waiting for me after my second flight. 

I take it back. As soon as I typed the word "babies" I remembered my tiny son, all alone across the world. And now I'm fighting tears again. 

JEGNA. Tenkara. JEGNA. Tenkara. 


  1. So sorry about you having to leave him this time. Tears flow with yours, along with prayers. I saw Levi today and hugged him. Your Victory family missed you too!