After waiting and stressing about paperwork arriving in time,
I am officially headed to Congo tomorrow to meet my daughter.
It seems like a dream.
I've waited so long to see her and hold her and love her in person.
I keep seeing us meet in my mind over and over again like a movie.
Will she like me?
Will she be scared?
Will she let me hold her?
We shall see.
I can't imagine what she's been through in her short little life.
So much heartache and loss and hurt, I'm sure.
My biggest prayer request for this trip?
I don't want to bring her even one minute of hurt, heartache, loss, or fear.
I want our time together to somehow take the place of all the days she's lived without a mother, without a family, without security, without the comfort of a family.
I know that it can't.
There's no way a week together can make up for all the time she's spent without all of that.
But God is good, and thankfully He is in control......always.
Here are some thoughts/ questions people have asked/ things you might be wondering:
*I'm almost all packed and ready. All I can say is, I feel like I deserve some sort of prize for all the things I've managed to fit into my bags. I'm bringing close to 100 pounds of donations for Emily's orphanage--- formula, cloth diapers, medicines, etc. I've also somehow managed to pack all of what I'll need and all of what Emily will need in my carry-on. I'm also bringing all of our food (minus water). I see lots of ramen noodles, beef jerky, rice, and peanut butter crackers in my future. Please pray that all of my bags (two checked bags, one carry-on suitcase, and one personal item) make it safely to Congo. I don't want to be distracted by anything during my time with my daughter.
*Will I have Wifi? Not sure. Maybe. We shall see. I'm praying that I do so I can send pictures and videos home to Lee and the girls and so they can send videos to us. HOWEVER, whether I have Wifi or not, I will NOT be posting pictures of Emily's face. While I'm dying to show you just how adorable she is, I'm not legally allowed to do that until she's home. But don't worry-- I'll do what I can and promise to post pics as often as I can.
*Am I nervous? Probably not in the way you might think. Africa, traveling to Africa, and being in Africa-- these are a few of my favorite things. I feel so comfortable there, and there is literally nowhere else I'd rather be. And traveling? Yes, please. I love flying. I love airports. Even though this is my first time traveling solo, I'm not nervous. I'll be fine and have no worries about that. I'd say my nerves all come from worrying about her--- I just really want this time together to be a time of peace and comfort and joy for her. I want to be able to meet her needs and for her to begin to view me as her mom. I want her to trust me and for communication to just naturally happen.
*How old is she? Does she speak English? She's about 2.5-3.5 years old. However, I've been told she's tiny, so we shall see. Hopefully I'll have a better idea about this once we've spent some time together. And English? That would be a no. The national language in Congo is French, but she speaks a tribal language called Lingala. I do have a cheat sheet ready with some key words and phrases, but we shall see how well that goes. Lingala is hard, y'all.
*How am I gonna leave her? I don't know. All I know to say about this is Jesus. Just Jesus. I have never been more sure about anything in my life than I am that Emily is my daughter. God's got this. He is in control. Does that mean leaving won't be hard? Oh my gosh, of course it will be awful. How am I supposed to say good-bye to my toddler daughter I've just met and leave with no return date in sight? I have no idea. But Jesus is good. And He will take care of me.
*When is she coming home? I also have no idea about this. We are still waiting to pass court (this is month ten). Once we pass court, she will legally be our daughter, and we'll start making steps towards her coming home. However, Congo still is not issuing exit letters (the final piece you need to travel with your child). Again, God is in control. Does it stink that she can't come home today? Absolutely. Every child deserves a family, and no child should have to continue living without a family when she has one waiting for her. However, let me say it again-- GOD IS GOOD. We saw her face for the first time the day before they announced they were putting exit letters on hold. I fully believe that that was God's timing. He will provide. He will take care of her. We're living in His timing, not our timing.
That's all for now.
Finishing up the last few things I need to take care of before I say good-bye to my family and head to a dear friend's house later today.
She will drop me off at the airport in the morning, and I'll be off from there.
Prayers are greatly appreciated.
I'll be meeting my daughter on Friday.