Friday, October 26, 2007

Leaving Ethiopia

It's not quite the exact date of the 2 year anniversary of leaving Ethiopia but I thought I'd write about it and some other aspects of the trip now.

I was very lucky to travel with two friends. I was able to focus on my child the entire time. Mel was in charge of photos, Sara was in charge of details and keeping me sane. Never mind that the two of them took off to go shopping with everyone else while I was left alone vomiting and caring for my new infant(someone had to shop!). They ended up sick too. Having travel companions as a single mom was very helpful. I imagined the whole time what it would be like if I was alone. I figured that I could have done it but a lot of the ease of transition would have been lost. I had Sherpas, bottle cleaners, bottle makers, toilet paper finders, jet lag companions and two very good friends who were able to share the most important moment of my life.

If you are single and adopting I highly recommend bringing anyone you trust will help you (and who will be grown up about not always getting to hold the baby). I would go so far as to recommend you budget a companion airfare into your adoption fund as you plan and dream.

The purpose of the post was to blog about the most emotional part of my journey to bring Lucy Eskedar home. Like I said before, I was a little surprised about how unemotional I was about the actual moment I met her and for days after I was operating on adrenaline, exhaustion and nerves. I wasn't nervous about taking care of a baby but about all the stress of taking care of MY baby in the setting where she had lived for four months. Every day we joined the nannies, nurses and other babies for sun baths or just to hang out. Being in an "orphanage' even a nice one was very overwhelming.

When the day came for us to leave I had this weird feeling in me. I couldn't explain it. I took Lucy downstairs earlier in the evening to say goodbye to her nannies and the nurse that had cared for her when she was so extremely sick. The held her and kissed her. They put her roommates on cushions on the floor for a group photo. They said goodbye.

We gathered in the parking lot to load up the van. Everyone was so quiet. I looked at the care center building and saw her nurse looking out the window. Then the curtains shut. I sat in the front seat quietly crying. I was gaining everything from this adoption but I also felt that I was taking everything. I looked at the baby sleeping in my arms and felt this enormous sense of responsibility to make sure I did things right for her and for the loved ones we were leaving behind. I can't really explain what I was feeling. I can best describe it as grief, but not even my own grief, maybe it was despair, maybe it was guilt or some combination of all of these emotions. It was hard and heavy.

Emotion gave way to confusion as we were left at the airport to make it through security and check in. Once checked in and ushered through what seemed like half a dozen security checkpoints (only to have to do it again in Rome) confusion gave way to exhaustion and these emotions were washed away not to return for about a year (but in a different form).


Malia'sMama said...

Reading your memories, mine are definitely flooding back.
I had a companion, my BF, for the first 3 weeks and it was awesome except when I had to take care fo TWO babies (ah, men! :) But then time ran long, and I was there 6 1/2 weeks more, just Mal and me. Late evening was the hardest. Can you say "lonely"? :)

Anne said...

Stacy, thanks so much for sharing this. I often have floods of emotion that I have trouble labeling -- it's all so complicated and bittersweet.