Traveling to Ethiopia: Day 1

We’re leaving for the airport at 10:00 a.m. We’ll hopefully have a tear-free goodbye with Lexi (yeah, right) and then head to the airport for much waiting and metal-detection.

Lexi will be spending the ten days while we’re gone with her grandma, hopefully having a blast and being spoiled and not dwelling too much on the fact that we’re gone. We’re not sure how this is going to go, but we have lots of friends lined up to step in and help out if need be.

This afternoon we’ll fly to Washington, D.C., for about a three-hour layover, then depart for Ethiopia in the evening.

I’ve written blog posts like this for each day of our journey, explaining what the itinerary says we’ll be doing (Abby wrote up an overview of the whole trip). You can also follow along with what actually happen on Twitter, as I hope to post a handful of updates per day (assuming local technology cooperates). Depending on how much computer access we get, we may try a few blog posts from Ethiopia as well.

Thanks for following along!

We Leave Tomorrow

In less than 24 hours we’ll be on a plane for Ethiopia to bring home our son. It’s been such a long wait. And it’s almost here.

As the hours tick down, I love how all the extra stuff falls away and doesn’t matter anymore. My last day has been flittered away with random tasks here and there, none of which really matter. It doesn’t really matter if I heard the conference call my wife already heard a week ago. It doesn’t really matter if I write that blog entry today or not. It doesn’t really matter if I clean off my desk or not.

As I’ve told about everyone I can, you can follow along at our adoption site. My latest blog posts (if you come here you already know where to find them) will be there—many are just pre-programmed updates of what we’ll be doing each day— as well as my on-the-ground Twitter updates (assuming it all works).

I’m awash in emotion right now. I’m so excited to meet Milo and hold him in my arms. I’m eager to see his homeland and the country where he was born. I’m worried about Lexi and how she’ll do without us for 10 days (and how Grandma will cope with 10 days of Lexi). I’m expecting to be broken as the reality of this 19-month journey finally comes together.

Some things in life just wash over you, flooding you with grace and love and mercy and hope. That’s already happened so many times in this journey, but now we’ll be diving into it. Can’t wait.

Ethiopia Twitter is a Go

OK, never mind yesterday’s post. Looks like I will get to be a techno-geek while we’re in Ethiopia picking up our son. At least a little bit.

A friend has stepped forward and offered to pay for my Twittering. They shelled out for four updates a day for our 10 day trip (each international text message is 50 cents), and then some. How cool is that?

So when I’m thousands of miles away you can know almost immediately when my son spits up on me for the first time. Seriously though, we’ve had so many friends supporting us in so many ways, it will be fun to share this experience with you as it happens, a little bit at a time. Of course that assumes I can work the 9-button keypad fast enough to send four messages a day (I’ve used my cell phone exactly one other time to send Twitter updates).

I didn’t ask anyone to do this, I wasn’t expecting it and I’m pretty humbled.

Follow me on Twitter for the whole Ethiopia experience.

Testing E-mail Posting

We’re furiously trying to get ready for our trip to Ethiopia next week. While I’m quite the tech-addict in my day-to-day life, I’m not a very good techie when I travel. I didn’t get a cell phone until 2006 and while I bring my laptop when I travel, I use it primarily for watching movies on the plane.

For our trip to Ethiopia I think I’ll be even less of a techie. Our laptop has no battery life left, so it’s useless on the plane (plus I’m not sure 3 hours of movie for 18 hours of flying justifies the extra baggage). My iPod battery is also toast, so it’s useless (though I think Abby’s may be good). On the plus side, we are delivering a laptop to the care center, so we might be able to use it en route. Which might work out really nice. Something tells me we won’t have time to watch movies on the flight home.

Continue reading Testing E-mail Posting

Peace or Justice in Sudan

The news coming out of Sudan has been a bit bizarre this week as the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir on charges of war crimes. It’s the first time a warrant has been issued for a sitting head of state. In response, Sudan has been kicking international aid groups out of the country, threatening even more of the mess that Bashir is charged with in the first place.

What’s been especially interesting is the reaction of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international aid organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Graham wrote a New York Times op-ed piece arguing that Bashir should be left in power in order to maintain peace in Sudan.

So what’s more important? Peace or justice? It seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation to me. There may be peace right now, but it’s being held together by a tyrant accused of war crimes. But bringing justice means more unrest, hardship and possibly death.

It reminds me of the situation in Iraq (if you ignore the whole weapons of mass destruction thing). Do you leave a murderous tyrant in charge or oust him and risk the messy aftermath?

Seems to me that real, lasting peace only comes when justice is ensured. But it’s never an easy process. Especially when different people have different ideas of what constitutes justice. Getting along with people (never mind entire countries of people) is no easy thing.

We’ve got friends who are currently in Khartoum, which makes this whole thing a lot more personal. We also had the option of a fuel layover in Khartoum on our way to Ethiopia (we opted not to take that route). Makes the world feel a lot smaller.

A Week of Highs and Lows

If a week could suck, this one would be it:

  • Found out Milo has been sick for a week with gastroenteritis. He’s doing better, but the little guy doesn’t have much weight to lose (Today we visited a two week old baby who’s bigger than 4-month-old Milo).
  • Lexi threw up in her car seat on the way home from visiting said baby.
  • Friends went through another miscarriage.
  • Other friends in Sudan wait to see if they’ll be evacuated.
  • Confronted a family crisis and the related fallout.
  • A week of workplace drama escalated like a bigger/better party.

On the plus side:

  • Distractions abounded, including the flurry of a U2 album release (did you see them do the top 10 list on Letterman?).
  • I found out exactly how much the Federal government owes me (it’s like my own personal bailout!).
  • Mazie didn’t eat anything she wasn’t supposed to (well, except for the feet of a little plastic girl of Lexi’s, but that doesn’t bother me because Lexi didn’t put it away).
  • Ate at Los Cabos for the first time in months. Mmm… tasty.
  • Two friends welcomed healthy, happy babies into the world.
  • And best of all, I get to meet my son in two weeks.

Sometimes life is hard and messy and ugly, but there’s always beauty. In that sense, I’m an insufferable optimist. Life may not always be happy, but it is joyful.

When Regular Life Falls Away

Two weeks from today we’ll be heading to the airport. We’ll spend a few hours on the ground in Washington, D.C. (never been there before), and then fly across the Atlantic (never done that before). We’ll spend maybe 45 minutes on the ground in Rome (my first contact with Europe) and then fly off to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (yeah, never been there either).

If you noticed the trend, you could probably guess my international travel experience begins and ends with Canada. So this is going to be new and different. Plus that whole thing where I get to meet my son. It’s hard to put into words exactly what we’re feeling right now.

We’re excited. We’re stressed. We’re giddy. We’re tired. We’re overjoyed. We’re busy.

We’ve got a lot to do. Our to do list keeps getting longer, but we’re hacking away at it. It’s amazing how the things of everyday life begin to fall away as you realize what’s really important. Some of my side projects are being neglected right now. Other distractions I just don’t have the time for. I do still manage to find time for certain stress-reducing diversions (preserving sanity is a priority). There’s somehow time for tickling, laughing or just sitting with Lexi. What needs to happen does, and the rest falls away.

Continue reading When Regular Life Falls Away