So as I mentioned in my last post I had a really crappy attitude about the trip once we found out our visas would be delayed. I was mentally prepared for 2 weeks in Congo, but it was not in my plans to stay for 3 weeks. It was not in my plans to have a loud and tearful discussion at the embassy office. I did not like the way I fell apart each night when I saw my kids falling apart on the other end of skype.
In short, I was not in control of the events before me. I was going to have to roll with the flow.
It sure is a good thing that I was staying at the same guest house with such a lovely assortment of characters. Very few people in this world will ever really understand what a trip like this is like, what raising a family like mine is like, but these people will get it.
First there was Ken and Barbie....I mean Joel and Kristie, the cutest couple in Kinshasa, and their adorable son Kayden. They were long timers. When I arrived they had already been in Kinshasa for 5 weeks. We would spend another 2 weeks together. On the surface there wasn't a lot to laugh about on our trip, but these two had me rolling on the floor night after night. We laughed about scabies, and bad food, and how Papa L couldn't understand at least half of what we said. We laughed about "Bon Soir" ladies, and crazy taxi drivers, and probably a lot of things that would not have been funny if we weren't so sleep deprived and sweaty and bored. But oh did we laugh.
|Is that Angelina? No, this woman is way prettier. We're visiting an orphanage and Kristie still looks good!|
On top of her great sense of humor Kristie is stunningly gorgeous. She's tall, has long wavy hair, and a natural glow. She always looked like one of those movie stars who had come to rough it in a 3rd world country. I, on the other hand, looked more like the overwhelmed, sweaty, and slightly androgynous tourist who ended up on the wrong flight. Kristie looked completely comfortable traipsing through orphanages, kissing babies and spreading good will. In every picture of me I have a ridiculous plastic smile on my face. Cameras have that effect on me. I am not photogenic and my inner "cheese" always shines through.
For a couple of days we got to spend time with Shon and her wonderful mother. Shon was on her first trip to meet her son. He was a beautiful and shy boy. I was so impressed that Shon's mother had traveled with her to Kinshasa. My relatives would not have signed up for that trip. They both were sweet and gentle women, just charming to be around. I hope that we will have a chance to reunite someday.
Our roommate on this trip was Kelly. That's right we had a roommate. We shared an apartment with her to save money. Kelly was AWESOME. In great part because she put up with our family and never complained for a second (at least not in front of us) She was a single woman who had adopted Elijah, the boy who would not sleep. He was sweet and funny by day, but at night this kid could scream for hours. Kelly could not have gotten more than 3 hours sleep on any night that we were there. But she was patient and calm, a real super mom. As big a baby as I was and I had my husband there to take care of me, Kelly was so strong and wonderful. On more than one occasion she let me vent and cry and I will always treasure her for that.
|Our wonderful roommate Kelly and her cutie pie Elijah|
After Shon left, Amy and Shawny arrived. Amy adopted Nicolas, possibly the most attractive OFA baby yet. OMG, this kid is adorable. And he was the easiest baby there. Lots of smiles, ate well, slept well. I might have hated Amy if she hadn't been so cool, so smart, so lovely to spend time with. Brian especially loved to sit around and talk theology with her. Nothing like a really smart and spiritual person to lift your mood. I also admired what a faithful blogger she was. Amy posted something every night on her blog (while I spent each night googling pictures of rashes, trying to find out what dread disease Manny had all over his feet) and every post was funny and interesting. I should have just linked my blog to hers so you guys would have had some good reading while I was gone.
|What a beautiful mama Amy is to sweet Nic|
|Shawny and her pretty girl Jovie|
|Looks like Dennis wanted to take this sweet boy home|
|Kori and Jonathan apparently worked hard to avoid my camera. This was the only shot I got.|
In addition to the other adopting families, we spent a lot of time with Jules, our interpreter, gopher, navigator, and all around go to guy. Jules speaks several languages and was invaluable to our work at the orphanages. He knew where to go to buy anything and got us good prices. He held our hands and comforted our children. He was especially helpful with the older kids that were already speaking Lingala. I don't know how our families survived this trip before Jules came on board. He is hoping to come to the US to study to become a pastor. We certainly hope that dream comes true for him. He has helped so many families with their dream of bringing home a child.
So to all the wonderful people who helped me make it through the day and some long nights: thank you, thank you, thank you! We will probably never all be in once place at one time again, but the time we all spent together will provide a lasting treasured memory!
|Our new extended family|