Today I walked away from my son and left half of my heart in Ethiopia.
I had been dreading this day from the moment we found out that Ethiopia had become a two-trip country. I knew it would be devastating to leave him, and I knew I would need God to give me the strength to walk away.
I had already started crying at breakfast this morning, just thinking that our next visit with him would also be our last for quite some time. We met our guide, Yonas, in the lobby after breakfast, and as soon as he made eye contact with me and asked if I was ready to go, I broke
down... and cried all the way through town... and through the gates that lead into the Transition Home... and into Elias's room.
Today was the first day Elias looked truly happy to see us (yes, even with his crazy momma crying hysterically!). He smiled and reached out for us as we walked into his room! I loved bonding with him this week and seeing the progress he's made with us, and it gives me such great hope for all that we'll see when we finally bring him home!!
Our time with him today was very similar to the last two mornings - feeding, nap, playtime - physically the same routine, but emotionally so very different. I tried so hard to push pause on these moments, to freeze time, to stop the clock from moving forward, to memorize his smell and the way he felt in my arms. We took a few last pictures with him, and then it was time to say good-bye. I lost my delicate tears, and went straight into the ugly, sobbing tears.
I walked Elias back into the Transition Home and down the hall to his room. Those few steps were some of the longest ones I've ever taken. When we walked into the room, I noticed that all of the nannies were crying just as hard as I was. I love their hearts and the love they have for our son. I handed him off to one of his nannies, and through his tears, Charlie asked her to take good care of him for us. For the one-millionth time, we told Elias how much we love him and that we'd be back for him soon, to finally bring him home. Sobbing, we left the Transition Home and left our son.
Today I am clinging to John 14:18. "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." We are not leaving Elias as an orphan. We are leaving him as our SON, and we will return soon to bring him home to his forever family!