The months between August, when we first and accepted the referral for our daughter, and the time we would be called to travel to Ethiopia to pick her up were long.
About once a month, there was news. She was growing. She was learning to walk. She was moved from the large orphanage to a small “transition” home with only about 20 children, to learn to acclimate to a quieter environment.
I found out that I would not be granted a leave of more than two weeks from work. I had been in this position only five months when I requested leave. Additionally, the district would not hold any position for me if I took more than two weeks. However, I had not waited almost three years to only be home with Meaza for two weeks. As our travel date approached, I submitted my letter of resignation.
Court dates were successfully passed. Finally, we got the call. We needed to be in Ethiopia for a final court date on the 23rd of December. Yes, we were thinking this was our Christmas miracle.
We contacted a travel agent who specializes in these types of trips. Nevertheless, the airfare with two days notice was exorbitant. We would leave from JFK very late Friday night, stay for a 12 hour layover in Dubai, and arrive in Addis Ababa Sunday afternoon. In all, it was about 24 hours of travel. (Let me just say that United Arab Emirates is a wonderful airline. I watched five movies I had missed (Julie and Julia type movies) because they weren’t “for kids”).
Plans were moving at the speed of light, after months of slow progress.
We would leave the boys with my husband’s parents for the week. They were off from school because it was winter break. The timing all around was perfect. Yet, it would be the first time I had ever been away from them for a week, and never that far.
My heart simultaneously soared with anticipation and ached with guilt. We were leaving our boys at Christmas… to bring home a new daughter.