Friday, February 27, 2015

Parenting is tough work

Our girl has experienced more trauma at the age of 5 than most people have their entire lives. 

Eventually, those feelings that are bottled up are going to come out. It's inevitable. 

Earlier this week, Bertie shared her story with an Ethiopian-American lady at our guest house. We couldn't understand, but after a few minutes the lady started crying. 

She told us Bertie told her very calmly and nonchalantly about her parents death and how she arrived in the orphanage. Then, B told the lady not to cry because it was ok. 

No 5 year old should explain some of the things she did as calmly as she did. 

Deep. Hidden. Emotions friends. 

Today was a rough day due to a combination of things - sleepless night, early morning, tummy ache, etc. 

She screamed and cried and kicked and yelled. And all KC and I could do was try to hold our little girl and tell her over and over that it was okay and we'd always love her. 

To be honest, I'd rather deal with messy now than to be tricked into thinking we had it easy for a few weeks of a "honeymoon". 

Our social worker told us that she isn't used to how we do things. She expects to get hit or yelled at since that's what happened in the orphanage. But she told us to keep holding her and telling her we love her. She'll eventually realize it. 

She was fine after about 20 minutes. But those 20 minutes are some of the most heartbreaking moments. All we can do is hold her and pray. 

She told the social worker that we prayed for her last night when she didn't feel well. I'm glad she recognizes it. 

I feel like KC and I are in a constant state of prayer - which is never a bad thing. 

We're eager to get home and lay low with her and the boys. A lot of new people and faces make her nervous and that's when she starts to act out. 

Friends, please keep praying for her little heart (all our hearts).

Healing takes time and is messy. But it'll be so beautiful after some time. ❤️


Monday, February 23, 2015

Adoption is love and war

I'm stealing that phrase from my husband. And yes, you read it right. 

Right now, sweet B is in survival mode. We had a few days of perfection, but that's long gone. 

Are we excited to finally be here and see our daughter? ABSOLUTELY. 

But we're in a battle. She's been so independent and has been allowed to kind of do whatever for 5 years. And that can't be undone in a matter of days. 

This is HARD WORK. So while I'm ecstatic that were at this point after 4 years, now comes the nitty gritty. 

The showing her we love her immensely but still slowly applying boundaries. Trying to teach her English and trying to learn Amharic. 

It's tough stuff. 

It'll be tougher still when we get home. But it'll at least be home court advantage. Lol. 

We're tired. She's tired. We're mentally drained. She's mentally drained. We're ready to be home. And she's ready to be home. She asks every day when we're going to America. 

So when we're holed up in our house for weeks, it's because we're working on developing trust and bonding. 

Hear me out. Yes, it's tough stuff. Really tough. But don't think for a second it was a mistake. Because it wasn't. Not. In. The. Least. 

(PS. I'm not gonna lie. We've had a few moments of panic this week, but God has helped us through them. I mean, what new parent hasn't? Whether through adoption or biology! Lol.)

Because we know, in a few months, in a year, things will be better. Healing takes time. 

So please pray for us all. For physical healing to mental healing and especially spiritual healing. ❤️

We've emailed the embassy to see about speeding up the medical process. The replied back with the okay once we get s list of things for them. 

Please help us pray we can get those items FAST and she can start the medical portion by Wednesday or Thursday. 

KC is heading home Thursday (unless there's a major delay) and I don't want to be by myself for more than a week if I can help it. 

So please pray that we get the medical, birth certificate, passport, and visa ASAP. 

We're ready to be home. ❤️❤️


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our Arrival

As I'm typing this, I'm sitting in bed at the guest house with all the windows and patio door open feeling the cool Ethiopian breeze. It's taken us a day, but I think our bodies are adjusting to the time change. I'm rested enough to update you guys on what has transpired so far. 

(Oh, we put the stinky suitcase on the balcony, in the sun... It smells soooo much better!)

At 10:30am on Thursday, we were taking off from D.C. on a direct flight to Addis Ababa. I think that's when it hit. I feel slightly frightened as I realized this was it. We were on our way to Ethiopia. We kept ourselves occupied on the flight, but every time I'd check our flight progress, I noticed I became more panicked the closer we got. 

When we landed, I had only a moment to be frightened before we went through the medical check, visa line, immigration line, currency exchange, through the baggage line, one more bag check, and finally out of the airport where we were greeted my Mr. M holding up a sign that said Bethany. Plus, Aubrey texted me a picture of him, so I knew what he looked like. I'll interject here and say that Mr. M is only 32. He is so friendly and full of energy. He made us feel right at home. 

We loaded up in the van and headed to the guest house. 

Driving in the capital of Ethiopia is wild! There are no specific lanes, everyone just weaves in and out and you're so close to other vehicles you could reach out the window and touch them. Car horns are also used quite frequently. People cross the street at any point in all the traffic, trusting that the vehicles will slow down long enough to cross. (Search on YouTube for traffic in Addis Ababa for an idea.)

We made it to the guest house and got settled in. M told us that we'd have Friday and most of Saturday to relax. Tonight, he's taking us for a traditional Ethiopian dinner. I believe we'll see some traditional dance too. 

He said his goodbye and KC and I found ourselves standing in the room. Tired, exhausted, and on an emotional high. 

We stood there quietly for some time. 

KC asked me how I was doing and what I was thinking. I just shrugged and said "I dunno". 

If you know me, you know I'm a talker. Happy, sad, angry, hungry... I talk. But I just had nothing to say in this moment. 

KC told me I was freaking him out and needed to say something. I told him I wasn't thinking anything and didn't have much to say. Hint: that was a lie. I was having a panic attack. 

I was all of a sudden terrified at how real this was. Of meeting her, of staying here alone with her, of traveling alone with her... I was shocked at how it was affecting me. 

After we started unpacking, I began to calm down. I then told KC that I had a moment of terror. He laughed and said so did he. 

I think we'd been waiting so long and the actual travel happened so quick, we didn't have a chance to digest it all until we were standing in a room 8,000 miles away from home. 

We talked about how different everything is going to be from this point on. Not just in the family aspect, but in another big way as we've felt that the finalization of the adoption is going to be a turning point for us. 

It's exciting and terrifying at the same time! But my wise husband said it best: That's what makes it so great. If it weren't so scary, everyone would do it. 

So here we are, in Ethiopia, waiting to meet our daughter. Knowing that once we get home, things will never be the same. 

And that is okay with us.  ❤️

About halfway through our flight. I promise KC isn't angry. Just tired. 

Sunrise as we were landing in Ethiopia 

View from our room

Sunrise Saturday morning 

Yummy breakfast this morning

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Leaving on a jet plane!

don't know about you, but I start singing that line like Steve Buscemi in Armageddon. Makes me giggle every time. 

Ok. Catch up time friends! 

I'm typing this while sitting at the airport in DC about to board a 15+ hour flight to Ethiopia. 

My last post was on January 30th. We had FINALLY gotten our positive recommendation letter. 

We had expected our court date the following week. However, the judge was out of town from Wednesday to Friday and we found out on Friday. Haha! 

Then, surprise surprise, our coordinator Mrs. J called me at 7am on Monday morning. Our court date was scheduled for the 19th! Only 10 days away. 

We jumped into what my sister called "survival mode". KC and I wrapped up work on Monday, ran last minute errands and spent a lot of time with the boys Tuesday, and hopped on a flight to DC on Wednesday, my birthday. 

Our flight to Ethiopia didn't leave until Thursday morning. (PS. Our TSA agent lady wished me a belated birthday after checking my passport. Hehe!)

So here we're sitting, waiting to fly to our daughters birth country. 

So many emotions! 

We'll arrive at 7am tomorrow. We'll get acclimated over the weekend, and will travel to the orphanage Mon...

Sorry. I was interrupted by my 7 year old texting me videos through wifi using our spare iPhone.  Haha!

We will travel to the orphanage on Monday, stay overnight, and head back to Addis on Tuesday and have 1 day of time before our court date. And she'll be officially a Collins. 


We are so thankful for you guys and for all the prayers. We couldn't have made it to this point without you guys. We can't wait to share pictures with you after next Thursday!!