Day 15 felt like a wash. Like a lost, wasted day that you want to just shove under the covers and pretend doesn’t exist! It was a weird 18 hour travel day of “transition” – of accepting the fact that we were two when we should have been three, and when we arrived home we would be five when we wanted to be six. It was a “power-through” series of moments: wake up and shower, get ready to put on grubby shorts and T, but remember you don’t get to wear that today, you have to wear airplane clothes instead, and you gave away your tennis shoes before you left the orphanage; finish quick breakfast and get up to grab extra pastries to bring to your little one, then remember you don’t need them today. Stand in line to check in for your flight and be busy running numbers on how much flights will be to come back and visit, and “if they let us” which dates work with our schedules?; full, complete glazed-over emotional exhaustion before you even get to your window seat; slide up the window shade and gaze out at the mountains that have become so much a part of daily life – remembering the people the dirt, the garbage, the sweat, the glistening drops on cold cokes and iced water glasses, the bright smiles and dark eyes, the freshly shaved heads and smell of oils and creams, the heavy permeating smell of over-ripe mangoes and diapers that will forever remind me of entering his bedroom; falling apart on the plane when the airline stewardess offers snacks and husband pulls out a kid-friendly bag of chocolate chip cookies and turns and says “cooooooookies!”; crocodile tears in the JFK airport when getting a text from mom that says “can I pick you up from the airport?” – and realizing there are times when a grown woman just needs her mommy…
I’ll be honest the transition sucked yesterday and that was just MY take on it! Today is a little better but it feels weird to not have something to DO and we still are on Haitian life perspective which is – SLOOOOWWWWWW. Walking, eating, talking, doing anything – is slow. It is NICE, let me say that. It is nice to not be rushed, to not be locked into the next thing in the next moment all the time. And, its refreshing to realize that I don’t have to expect that out of others either!
Besides the obvious “leaving a child in a 3rd world country when all you want is to bring him home”, one of the hardest things so far for me to adjust to (and its only been 15 hours “home”), is that I feel like in 2 weeks in Haiti our world completely changed. Everything was put into a new perspective – a simple one, free of obligations and complexities that are stressful and unnecessary. It changed our hearts and our outlook on the process and our child and our other children here at home. In a new country, a new world, a different space, we were free to just bask in that simplicity and one-on-one connection and intense focus on one purpose alone – to bond that child’s heart to our own with supernatural glue.
Coming home – the hardest thing for me so far is feeling like I have to jump back into life and pretend like none of that even happened. Early morning this morning to get everyone to baseball practice and basketball camp and a doc appt and deal with stuff that I put on hold before we left – its just a hit-the-ground-running sort of feeling. I think it will take a few days to just sit at night and emotionally detox with Kris after kids are in bed to fully process all of the emotions that go un-released throughout the day.
Anyway, we understand its a process, and it will get better over time – not that it will ever feel “okay” to not have him home – but we won’t be in this pit long…I don’t like feeling like I’m wallowing! LOL
The next step for us is to wait for the IBESR exit letter – which can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8-12 months. We are PRAYING relentlessly for ASAP. After that there’s a series of other steps that have to happen on the Haiti side that can take awhile, all the time frames range from 2 weeks to 2 months or more. We are literally going to be daily praying for movement through the process.
Right now, you could pray that the IBESR social worker completes his report from our interview this week. After that is done, we have a better shot at getting a signed exit, but it still could be awhile.
As far as communication with him, we are going to prepare to travel back with the kids for a 4-day or so stay so they can meet him, meet his friends, and get to know this Little Man. As soon as we get permission from the agency to travel back, we will take them back down and then for the duration of the process, we will travel to visit as often as we are allowed, hopefully every 1-2 months just for a couple days at a time. Some trips Kris and I will both go, sometimes just one of us or we will travel with a family member. We don’t want to lose the connection, and in case the journey is a long one from here on out we are preparing to rack up lots of air miles. LOL
Thank you to everyone for following our Bonding Trip journey! It was an amazing experience and we loved every minute of it. If any of you are families that are preparing to go on your bonding trip and would like a resource, please feel free to contact us! Post a comment here and I will email you back. One of the most valuable resources for us was talking to other families who had already walked that path. You don’t have to do it alone! 😉
Now, off to work on dinner (a huge thank you to family who prepared breakfast lunch and dinner supplies for our first day home so we didn’t have to think about it!) and spending an evening with our kids unfolding our treasures and stories and photos!