Sunday, April 01, 2007

Travel Journal: 3-10-07 Part II

Amsterdam to Accra--

Well, it's a little after 3pm and we haven't taken off yet. I'm hoping they will be able to make up for lost time in the air. If I understand correctly the flight will only be 30 minutes late arriving even though we are 1.5 hours late leaving. Also! I have another aisle seat AND there is an empty seat next to me! Ahhh....I should be able to get some descent sleep this flight. I was kind of hoping to make a friend, but the gentleman next to me doesn't appear to speak much English (He's Dutch).

This flight is probably 90% black. What's funny is that I no longer feel like an outsider. Last time I felt like everybody must be looking at the big white lady, but now I know that Ghanaians don't seem to notice (or rather, they just don't judge) skin color like Americans do.

I thought I would be starting to get excited now, but I'm not. If I *knew* that Bright would be at the airport I probably would be. I guess I'm expecting Edward to take me to HoHoe tomorrow instead.

Oh Lord, bless this trip. Let me find our son in good health despite the bad lab report. Let me find friends to keep for a life time. Go before me, my Shepard, and make safe my paths. Keep me from wavering off the road you wish me to go down. Make me a gracious guest even without many of the luxuries I am used to. Help me be a good Mommy to Bright, even if only for these 3 weeks (so far). Help Bright to accept this white stranger. Protect his heart from emotional damage, should I have to leave him. Please give me wisdom as I make decisions and have interactions with people who could make a profound difference in the outcome of this trip.

Lord, soften hearts! Soften hearts Lord! Allow the "powers that be" to have compassion on Bright. Lord, allow them to determine he is an orphan WITHOUT a field investigation. Help me to be gracious in my dealings with them.

Lord, protect my family at home. Let Taevy and Samren know in their hearts that I am coming back and that I love them every minute I am away. Help Eric as he manages our family alone for 3 weeks. Give Eric patience like never before. Allow him to have a soft heart towards the children, being both mom and dad for now. Lord, also soften Eric's heart towards this trip. Help him to feel that there will be no circumstance under which this trip will be in vein. If the purpose is not to get Bright healthy, or to bring him home, help us both to see what it is so that we can find peace in our hearts about the decision to go to Ghana right now.

Lord, finally, please provide the financial means to complete this adoption. We don't know your ways and can't see your plans, but I know that you can make a way for all of this to work financially. In Jesus' name, Amen.

*POST TRIP NOTE: I think every request in this prayer was answered completely!*

--We're an hour away from landing--scheduled to have landed 10 minutes ago. I keep waiting for a huge rush of emotion to hit me but instead I keep thinking about details--when I will get Bright...what I need to buy at the store...the passport transportation will be worked out (I have no clue at this point except I know Hands of Mercy is picking me up and Edward will take me to HoHoe)...if I will be successful at accomplishing anything while I'm here (beyond Bright's health status)...will I do well by the people that are counting on me...if we do go to HoHoe to pick up Bright how quick will that trip need to be? So many questions and very few answers.

I wish Lois would have offered more support with the adoption/immigration preparation. I just assumed that whenever I traveled she would go over everything with me in detail--but she didn't. I have several questions for her now that I have no way to contact her.

I realized this morning that Taevy left a piece of herself with me. Instead of beer and yogurt staining my shirt upon arrival, I have salty tear stains left by my daughter on both shoulders.

In Accra at Hands of Mercy--This was a very discouraging night.

The plane landed 1.5 hours late. I was the last in line at immigration. I went to get a luggage cart to collect my luggage with and a man walked up and said, "Someone is meeting you here, right?" I said yes. He said, "Good! I found you! He sent me to help you get out fast." I said, "Who, Edward?" "Yes! Edward! I am his friend Chas." I said, "Did he have a baby with him?" "YES!" "Oh good! That's my baby! I didn't know if he was going to bring him or not!" "Yes, the baby is there. That's why we must hurry."

We got the luggage and he says, "I'm going to get you through customs fast and I need $40." I thought twice because this is definitely against my own moral code, but Edward sent him, right? I trust Edward. I don't want to disappoint Edward. I gave him $35. Then there was another guard--he needed $15. Then Chas himself required $10 for helping me. Are you counting? That's $60!!!

We got close to the exterior doors of the airport. Chas pointed out the airport door and said, "See him? He's right out there with your baby.", pointing to a specific area of the crowd awaiting outside. He told me I could take the cart from there and he disappeared back into the airport, probably to "help" his next "customer."

I walked out, camera in hand, ready to see my baby for the first time, but I didn't see Edward. After a moment I did see a group frantically waving a photo of my family. It was the Hands of Mercy folks (14 of them!). They ran to me, hugged me tight and a 14 year old girl named Edna held my hand. Still not processing what had happened in the airport I said, "Edward is here with Bright! We've got to find him!" They all looked at me with confused looks, having spoken to Edward and knowing that he was definitely NOT there with Bright. Then it finally hit me in my sleep deprived 30 hours in transit brain--I had been scammed. And money was already very tight. I am so mad at myself. Edward will be picking me up at 7am tomorrow morning to go to Ho Hoe for Bright.

The money situation gets worse. It was $20 for the right home (I was expecting to give $10), and HoM has asked for $80 a week to stay here. That is EXTREMELY inexpensive...I just didn't know about the cost and was expecting to give a total of around $100 for my "living expenses" while I was here (in addition to another donation my mom sent with me to give). I brought $200 to give but am going to need $240. So...not even here 6 hours and I'm $100 in the hole. And I can't find my toothbrush. I'm very lonely and very discouraged. At this moment I wish I were at home.

The room is basic but comfortable. The cold water shower is welcomed. It's so humid that everything is wavy...this book...other hair. Main concern right now is money. I'm afraid transportation is going to eat up my budget. 12:20 am here. Guess I'll try to get some sleep.

*POST TRIP NOTE: Can you say pity party?! LOL! It gets better!*