i read this morning stenciled across the bathroom wall of my in laws house that 'life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.' i'm not one for signs necessarily, but i can't tell you how much i needed those words from dear old helen keller.
you see, it wasn't long ago that i considered myself a pretty carefree, adventurous girl. i was by no means reckless, but i loved the idea of the unknown, and i was almost always up for an anything. 5 months after i met brandon we filed electronically (quite possibly the first year it was offered, and quickly got banned from e-file) and got a measly enough tax return to head to england for spring break. we had no agenda and a place to stay only for a couple days, the rest we would figure out along the way. we partied our way to the airport where we lost our passports temporarily, but somehow managed to make it across the pond with everything intact. 3 years later we booked flights to new zealand for our honeymoon and had not one accommodation booked. all we had was a car waiting for us at the airport. 3 solid weeks of tripping around the north island was our idea of the best trip ever. i was up for anything and everything, there was so much to do!
naturally things slowed down after we got married and had a few kids. my desire to not miss a thing now extends itself to being terribly troubled if i don't make it to the beach on a sunny day. the adventuress holly still exists, but its locked away within the confines of low risk and utmost safety for myself and my family.
so when it comes to leaving my 3 precious children and flying halfway around the world to a country that has sporadic electricity and such severe poverty that makes your heart hurt, i realized i was in over my head.
it would literally take pages and pages to even begin to contain the amount of anxiety i've had leading up to this trip. since i'm not typically a girl who struggles with anxiety, i have found myself in uncharted territory. its a place i'm not proud of, yet through it all i have come to realize a lot about myself and the faith i profess.
we are about to land in addis ababa. we have been flying for almost 24 hours. tomorrow i will travel to an orphanage in a city of 2 million people and meet my son (one of hundreds of thousands of orphans in ethiopia) for the first time. i can tell you without a doubt that this the hardest thing i have ever done in my life. i can also assure you that without the massive amount of prayers that have been offered on our behalf, i wouldn't be on this plane. i have never needed jesus as much as i have in the last 72 hours. somehow i know the next week will be more of the same. i also had no idea how fair weathered and puny my faith was. i have been pleading for prayers from best friends and strangers alike. i literally cannot hear enough prayers on our behalf... never have i been so desperate and never have i felt so much peace a midst raging storm inside my mind.
everybody says adoption is hard. and i'm just barely in, but i can assure you its not for the faint of heart. when my thoughts get unleashed and start crashing around my brain causing me to wonder who on earth would travel this far leaving the safety of a sweet little family in the happiest place on earth (btw-- these are surprisingly the first doubts i've had in this process, which leads me to believe that greater things were at work this last week) i have to remember that this calling was so much more than us wanting a 4th child. and though i wrestle with these doubts and many others, i keep going back to this one parable... the pearl of great price-- which, ironically, was prophesied over me just a few months after i got saved. at the time, and up until this point, i've never known why, or what it would mean. finally, i do. Elliot is my pearl, and i will leave everything to find him-- because he, and every other orphan we'll see this next week deserves a mom and a dad who will love him forever.
as my dear friend lealah says, we are just the vessel. please continue to pray for us, and for our children at home, for our dear parents that are watching them and all are friends who are standing in the gaps for us. we would not be here without our tribe.