Three months. It's been exactly 3 months since Sam & I boarded a plane in Accra and headed back to the US with the knowledge that the daughters we love so much will never be ours. I've cried. A LOT. Those first weeks were unimaginable. We arrived home and couldn't bring ourselves to discuss all that unfolded in Ghana while we were there. We had a family vacation scheduled for just 5 days after our arrival home from Ghana and we didn't want to spoil that for the kids, so we kept everything quiet. We didn't lie to the children - we answered all their questions very honestly - but we didn't offer more information than was specifically asked.
Our family vacation was to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL - dubbed "the most magical place on earth." It was torture. Don't get me wrong - I loved seeing Cora's eyes light up when she met Princess Tiana and watching Mya curtsy to The Beast while adorning her Belle costume with full hair & makeup - but less than a week had passed since saying goodbye, FOREVER, to the precious little girls in Ghana that we longed to make our own. I was (and am) in full-on mourning and the 60 degree temperature felt like 30 with the constant rain. The weather sure seemed fitting to the personal hell I was enduring internally, all the while trying to put on a happy face so the kids would enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The parks were beautiful - all decorated for Christmas (yes, even manger scenes...and a menorah or 2). It was spectacular to see the lights shows and to watch Liam's face as he tried to decipher if it was the "real Tinkerbell" flying overhead during the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. It was special to see our sweet Ivy still want to see the princesses, even at eleven years old. Memories were certainly made...but sadly, what I remember most about that trip was the fear. The fear for R & A in Ghana. The fear that I wouldn't smile at just the right time and my very intuitive Mya would figure out what was going on. The fear that I would be the one to ruin their Disney vacation because of my grief - of which they knew nothing.
We returned home just a week before Christmas. Talk about emotions running high!! December 24th, Christmas Eve, marked ONE YEAR since Liam & Cora arrived home! What an amazing anniversary to celebrate. I love these children with all my heart. Their first year home has NOT been easy (that's another post) but it has been miraculous. I wanted to celebrate them, yet the whole time I struggled immensely with the reality that R & A will never come "home" to us. See a recurring theme? The grief has been consuming. Completely, utterly, all-consuming.
We agreed not to ruin the kids' Christmas by telling them about R & A...so the presents the kids made for their sisters remained tucked under the tree, all wrapped pretty in anticipation of a homecoming sometime in the future. Oh the heartache!
Christmas led to New Year's Eve. I was a wreck. Here were were, what many would deem a perfect mid-size family, sitting around the house sipping hot cocoa and watching fireworks displays on television as each timezone around the world entered 2013. 7:00pm rolled around. It was midnight in Ghana. Were R & A awake? Was there any sort of celebration? Do they even know the year is changing? My mind raced and my heart ached. I couldn't live through the lie anymore. I couldn't start the new year off with this secret that was eating away at me minute-by-minute. So Sam & I sat down with the kids and told them that their sisters would probably never be able to come to America as part of our family.
The tears were many...but the questions, OH the questions...I was not prepared for those. Why, Mommy? Don't you WANT them? Weren't they nice girls? Will they be safe? Will they have food? Who will take care of them? Why were you told they needed a family if they didn't? WILL THEY BE OK MOMMY??????
Those questions still haunt me several months later. I can't go to sleep at night or wake in the morning without wondering ARE THEY SAFE? ARE THEY FED? ARE THEY OK???
I still cry for them.
I still ache to hold them in my arms again.
I suspect a piece of me always will.
We held our daughters and had to say good-bye...and we don't have the peace that might eventually come from a "typical" loss of a child, in that the child is resting peacefully in perfectly healed spirit at the hand of God in heaven. No, we have to rely on HOPE that the evil in this world won't overtake them again, as it has in the past. We have to HOPE that the people who deceived and dishonored these precious girls will not continue seeking to do so. We have to HOPE that R & A have someone in their lives in Ghana who will feed the Gospel into their souls so that we can hold onto the HOPE that we will have eternity with them. So while we have peace that we are in God's will...we, or at least I, do not have PEACE with the situation and the loss...but we're clinging to the promise of HOPE.