June 14, 2009

This is the blue gate that leads into Toukoul Orphanage. In a few short days I will driving through those gates to meet my daughter for the first time. I have been anticipating that moment for months. I started the adoption process 16 months ago. I switched agencies when God led me to adopt in Ethiopia 12 months ago. That is when I saw those blue gates for the first time. In 7 days I will board the first of many planes and in 9 days I will be going through those gates. Finally!

I have dreamed of this moment and anticipated meeting Janissa for a long time. But she knows absolutely nothing. Yet in a little over a week she will be handed to a total stranger - who will probably burst into tears if she isn't already crying. How do you tell a one-year old that this is her mommy and that she is going to take you on a 30+ hour journey to a strange place you've never heard of? How do you convince a one-year old that despite the fact that everyone and everything around her is new, that she doesn't need to be scared because she will be loved beyond measure?

This is where Janissa has lived most of her little life. She will soon leave through the blue gate in my arms, never to return - at least not for a long time. As time goes by, she will forget the sounds, the smells, the sites, the nannies who took care of her, her crib mates - but I won't.

As I count down these last few days I am feeling the nerves for the first time. I pray that the life that I will provide her will overshadow the losses she might one day feel as an adopted child in a country so far from her own. I pray that my love for her might come close to the love her birth mother had for her. A love so strong that she was willing to walk away from her so that she might have opportunities that she wouldn't have otherwise.

I'm coming to get you, Janissa. Next week you will be in your Mama's arms.