February 22, 2010

A million miles to Miles

I have put off blogging long enough. What once was such a wonderful outlet for me, has become a burden these last few days. The first week with Miles, who got malaria while we were in Africa, was crazy and new and exciting and wonderful and scary. The things that I saw in Africa will haunt me for the rest of my lifetime. I think that God has etched those images into my brain so that I will never for one moment forget to be grateful for all the blessings that I have. There are not words to describe what I have witnessed. There are not words to describe how deeply my heart has been broken for Africa. Africa gets under your skin. I just can't internalize it yet or make sense of it, much less put it to words. So- for now I am just going to focus on the good... MY SON! And I'll leave the rest for when I finally feel ready. I'll try to blog in chronological order starting from the beginning of last week and try to catch up as quickly as I can.

DAY 1: We meet.
I spent 20 hours on a plane. I have been in three continents and crossed and entire ocean. Many tears came that day. I cried leaving my Sadie and Noah and Kamron behind. I cried when the plane took off because I knew that my life would never be the same and I kind of liked my life before just fine. I cried when the plane landed in Kinshasa because I knew that within a few hours, I would be meeting Miles Dieudonne. My friend Cami and I navigated the Kinshasa airport like rock stars- and that is no easy feat. We asked a man in Paris if he had any tips for getting out of the Kinshasa airport alive and he said "Good luck."

We met Pastor Loma (Miles' foster father) at the airport. About three weeks prior to our arrival, Miles left the orphanage and moved in with the Lomas, who took great care of him and helped him get his passport. I was so happy to see Pastor Loma. Seeing his face brought about so many emotions.First- there was just the overall feeling of gladness that he was going to take us away from the crazy airport and then the amazing feeling of knowing that he was going to be taking me to my son! We drove in a taxi (more about the taxis of Kinshasa to come in another post) out of Kinshasa toward the Methodist-Presbyterian Hostel where we would be staying. Miles was going to meet us there. It was pitch black dark as we drove through Kinshasa but there were people everywhere. That is what sticks out in my mind about being in Congo- the sheer number of people everywhere. Thousands and thousands of people. All over the place. We asked Pastor Loma what were all the people doing. He said, "Some go for to drink the beer." That was as much info as we got about what the people were doing out on the streets.

After driving for what seemed like an eternity we pulled up to the gate of the guest house. While we were waiting for someone to come open the gate for us, a car pulled up behind us. Miles was in that car. I jumped out of our car. I saw him get out with Mama Josephine (his foster mother). She ran to me and hugged me over and over. I got a good look at Miles. The. World. Just. Stopped. I couldn't believe how small he was! He was just so tiny. At first I though that they had brought the wrong baby because he was way too little, but then I saw those puppy dog eyes and I knew that was my little guy. I wanted to run and snatch him up and love all over him, but I held back. I didn't know how he would react to me, so I took it slow. I rubbed his back a little while Mama Josephine held him. She kept telling him in Lingala that I was his mama.

We all went into the guest house together. I just couldn't take my eyes off Miles. Once we got in I held him for a second but he still wanted Mama Loma. I expected this, but it still hurt just a little. The Lomas didn't stay long- they said it was easier on the babies to get acquainted when they weren't around. I was grateful for their understanding. At the same time, I wanted to ask them a million questions. I mean, here is this child that I know nothing about. How does he like to be held. How often does he eat? Does he like to be sung to? They walked out the door and I just had to figure it all out. Once they were gone, Miles seemed to warm up. Actually I should say that he tolerated me. Miles never smiled. He just seemed to want to study me. I just wanted to stare at him too. All the emotions I had felt for months just seemed to flood me. This child who had endured God knows what was finally safe and sound and all mine! It was very late at night and Miles was sleepy, so after about an hour of staring at him and snuggling him, it was time for bed. I put on his pajamas and held him until he fell asleep in my arms. And for that moment in time- all was right with the world.

The first moment I laid eyes on Miles (with Mama Loma),







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