Thursday, April 4, 2013
This post is long over due!! Since we've returned from DRC we've been very busy and time has flown by. I have a lot of catching up to do on the blog. I've been thinking about the first time we met Leyna and how to put it into words. I wish I was a brilliant writer but I'm not so my simple words will have to do.
Leyna is now 10 months old. We met her 4 months ago on Dec 4, 2012. We had so much anticipation and excitement on our flight to DRC. I've read so many blogs that I was nervous to enter the country. We landed at 3:00 pm. We had to exit the plane on the tar mat and wait to load buses to the airport. Landing we could see the huge city of Kinshasa.
I learned quickly to not judge too fast. I heard a lot about police asking for money. So when we got inside the airport I immediately thought everyone that was helping us was going to ask us for money. We were filling out our cards to enter the country when a guard came up to Larry to ask if he was Larry. Our in country representative had sent him to check on us. He was very nice and helped us get through the first part of the airport. Where we went to get our luggage was crazy. There were so many people and the belt the luggage came on was very small. We were starting to worry because our luggage took at least 45 mins to come. During that time several different workers there came to talk with me while Larry was looking for our luggage. The workers were so nice and helpful to us. They wanted to make sure we had all our luggage. Not one of them asked us for money!! I was humbled and was sorry to judge them all too quickly. We went outside and our representative, Etienne, was there waiting for us.
The car ride to St Annes is so hard to describe. This is were I wish I was the brilliant writer. After driving around there for several weeks I would call it organized chaos. I can't believe in the 4 weeks I was there I never saw an accident or someone getting hit. It truly is a miracle. The roads are a combination of paved and dirt roads. There are no real lanes. Drivers will make their own lanes. So many people are constantly crossing the roads. There are no crosswalks and drivers do not stop for them!! During our drive to St Annes Etienne was giving us a talk he probably gives every new family coming. He talked how we need to be really strong while we are in DRC and things are a lot different than the US. He said how many US moms cry to him so I need to be strong. Oh looking back on that talk it was so true!! He knew what he was talking about. I do have to say I thought I did pretty good. I only cried once to him and it was on the phone! That doesn't mean I didn't cry by myself.
The day every parent dreams of is what it will be like when we see our daughter. I didn't know if they would bring her to us the next day or not. I really thought we'd get settled and then they'd bring her. Well we got our luggage in the room and had a few minutes to grab the camera before Leyna's foster mom was at our door with her.
I was so nervous!! Here she was after looking at her pictures for months. She is so much smaller than I thought. She was tiny! She came to us without crying. We talked with her foster mom for about 30 mins. I will be forever grateful to her. She was loving and kind. Leyna just sat with us. She wouldn't cry but just had a blank look. I can't imagine what a change she just went through. The pictures are the first time I held her and she slept on me. I look at them now and can see a difference in her. I didn't know how I'd feel towards her. I was preparing myself that if I didn't connect right away that it's ok. Bonding could take time and I tried to prepare for that.
It was so overwhelming after traveling for so long and now we had her. I'm so thankful that night I had the strongest confirmation that she is our daughter and this is what I fought so hard for. To think we almost stopped our adoption process several times for different reasons. I'm so glad I continued to pray and receive answers to keep going. I loved her the moment I held her. I know this is a blessing to feel this so quickly. The past 4 months with her have been amazing. I hope to catch my blog up with more of our time in Congo.
So many people tell me how lucky she is to have us as her family. I tell them no we are lucky to have her and she has changed our lives more than we could ever have imagined!