We met Tanya four years ago, the same day that we met the twins. She offered me pretend food, something to eat and something to drink – and I pretended to eat it and drink it. I didn’t realize until later that this made her unique from the other kids there. I thought we were just playing. I realized later that she was listed on Reece’s Rainbow, and we came home hoping to find a family for her.
(I don’t have a picture of my first meeting with Tanya, here is a picture of the train window as we traveled to the twins’ and Tanya’s region for the first time.)
We came home and settled into life with two new toddlers. We moved across the country. We continued to advocate for her and hope for a family for her, but we thought it would be someone else.
Two years ago, our life had calmed down somewhat, and she was still available for adoption. We started to discuss going to get her, and the more we talked, the more it seemed that we were headed in that direction. The week we were prepared to make a final decision, I shattered my ankle. I wound up spending months on the couch, and Ray had to spend that time caring for the house, the kids, the pets, and working his full time job. Through that time I was alternately hopeful that someone else would find Tanya and decide to adopt her, and scared to hear that someone was committed to her. As soon as I could hobble, I started talking to Ray again about whether we were supposed to pursue adopting her. We were both scared, after having come through so many life changes. We finally decided that yes, this is the path we were supposed to take – and the next morning, we heard the news that a part of her country had been invaded.
(Max and I, looking worse for the wear.)
We pressed on with the adoption, although we weren’t sure what was going to happen to adoptions, with the turmoil where she lived. We had ridiculous paperwork issues, house repairs, illnesses, and finally right as we were waiting to hear our travel date, Ray was hit while driving, and our van was totaled.
It was surreal to actually get to the point of traveling, and I had a hard time believing we were finally going to go back to a country we love, for a child that we expected to help find another home. Since that first day that we got on an airplane, I have been bouncing between countries, cities, towns, and airports. We have gotten to re-know Tanya, and are so excited to finally bring her home.
At the same time I am having trouble wrapping my mind around how far we’ve come. Looking back, so much has led us up to this final trip. Months of travel, a year of paperwork, years of prayer, discussion and discerning, longer years of hoping and praying for someone to find her. And before that, the years that she spent waiting for someone to come, while we were learning to be parents, learning to parent kids with extra needs, learning to let go of some things and hold on tight to others. Looking back over the events of all of ours lives, in some ways it feels like we have been preparing to be family since she was born.
There is a lot of weight leading up to this one trip. I am exhausted, scared, excited, nervous… I am not sure I am ready.