He’s spooning up his morning tea with a tiny plastic spoon. Drops cover his lap and the concrete floor of our patio. Every few “bites” he offers one to me. I take it because I have forgotten we don’t have the same germs and the same genes. Yesterday, he mimed breaking his banana in two to Brent so they could share it. He often seems concerned whether we’re getting enough to eat.
This week in Congo has been the strangest lapse of time I’ve ever known. The days move at a pace I can’t quite comprehend. They aren’t slow and monotonous but they also aren’t flying by at break-neck speed. Another adopting mom staying at our hotel mentioned she feels like she’s in a time warp. It’s difficult for her to figure out what time it is at any given moment. I can sympathize. Our flight out of Nashville seems like it happened months ago.
Today is the day we’ve been dreading since we made our plans to travel. Today Ezra returns to the orphanage.
We’ve watched as other families staying here have said their good-byes to their children. It’s so painful. Older children who have had a glimpse of an improved, alternate life, just out of their reach. Babies, some with urgent medical needs, are shuttled back to their foster homes and the parents left in the wake are devastated.
One of the greatest blessings of this week has been the fellowship with these others American mamas and papas. We’ve sat together, comparing stories, news, and tips for getting the best wifi connection. We’ve ooo-ed and awww-ed over each other’s children but from the distance of an arm’s length, respecting the roles we must fill: Only the parents give their child food. Only mama or papa should hold the child. The child should attach to these adults instead of all adults.
There are only a few of us left this morning, so breakfast is quiet. Ezra has moved on from his tea and now he sits on the ground, pulling the colorful shoestrings through the holes in the lacing cards we brought from home. As far as he knows, this is just another morning like the three before. Oh how my heart hurts.