John: Well, I am sitting at the Airport in Accra waiting to board and leave these wonderful new friends and family we have just met. This morning we woke up and had some good family time at the hotel with the kids. Our plan was to play with them until noon then go get some chicken and fried rice at the corner for lunch. After that, we’d go to the orphanage until 3:00 to say our goodbye’s and then have our new friend Divine the Taxi driver pick us up and take us to the airport. Well at about 9:30 I realized that I hadn’t taken any good-up pictures of Courage. I asked him to come outside with me so I could take some in front of a pretty green bush. Delight followed, and we started taking some pictures. I was surprised at how well both of the kids were handling everything. We were outside for about five minutes and then we went back into the room (to enjoy the wonderful air conditioner). As I was opening the room door I looked down at Courage and I noticed he was quiet but had tears running down both cheeks. I assumed it’d finally hit him that we were leaving. I went over to the bed and put him on my lap and asked what he was feeling. He didn’t answer (what a surprise). I asked him again, “Why are you crying?” He said, “Delight Beat me!” We have been here for over two weeks and we haven’t had a single behavioral issue the entire time. I figured that I had misunderstood him. I looked at Delight and asked, “Did he just say what I think he said? Did you beat him?” She just smiled and looked away like she was embarrassed. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “Are you kidding me? You just beat him?” For the first time ever to her, I said very sharply, “Delight, that makes me very unhappy. Go sit down on the chair in Time Out until I tell you that you can move.” She looked at me to see if I was serious. I pointed to the chair and said, “NOW”! She went over to the chair and buried her head into the cushions and started to cry. I thought to myself, “Why now”? Why do we have to do this right as we are leaving? I comforted him and within a few minutes he was fine and we put on their favorite movie, “Johnny Lingo.” I waited for about five minutes and my soft side came out and wanted to go make up with her. She started pouting and wouldn’t talk to me for about two hours. Jenny was getting annoyed that I kept trying to get her to talk. She said to just let her be. I agree with that but we only had three hours and we were going to have to say goodbye for four months. I didn’t want to leave like that. We decided not to go back to the orphanage at 12:00, but to eat lunch and to take a nap at the hotel. We all four lay on the bed. I had Delight on one side and Courage on the other. He was totally snuggling up to me and Delight was all wrapped up and wouldn’t even hold my hand. It was killing me. Needless to say when she was sound asleep I slid my arm under her so that she would wake up snuggling. I was hoping that she would forget what had happened. I am happy to report that it worked and she was the sweet little Delight that I learned to love this past two weeks.
Before leaving the hotel, we knelt down for one last family prayer before we said goodbye. We all shed many tears and hugged until we figured we better just start walking back to the orphanage. When we got there we all went into the little office area of Emily’s and once again the tears started to flow. For a diversion, I asked Delight to give me a little tour of the home while I recorded it on video. We went up to the bed rooms of the kids and then went into the girl’s room. The only girls in there were Mahti, Elizabeth, and Nestine. They were all so sweet when we walked in. They all had these huge brown eyes, waiting for us to say something. They knew what was going on. Jenny followed me in and immediately Delight started the water works all over again. Mahti was sitting on the floor doing something so I went over to her and put my arm around her and asked her to help Delight when we leave. I reminded her how she felt when Jason and Brandie left. She gave me the biggest, sweetest, smile and told me that she would. My heart melted once again. I just love these kids so much. I gave her a big two-armed hug and said, “Hey Mahti, do you realize that the next time I will see you it will be in America?”
Well, that was a mistake. She immediately buried her head into my chest and started crying harder than Delight. I still don’t know if those were happy or sad tears, but I do know that these kids know exactly what is going on. We cannot ever take anything for granted and assume that they don’t understand. Ever since they were abandoned their only dream is to find a Mommy and Daddy and go have a real family. I think it just tugged at her heart strings, and reminded her at how close she really is to realizing that dream. She went over to Delight and gave her a big hug and said something in Ewe that I obviously couldn’t understand. Then I felt that it was a good time to slip out of the room. Jenny told me that she had a similar experience in the other room with Courage and his little BFF Joshua.
I think they must have injected all the chicken I eat here every day with a double dose of estrogen, because I cried like a girl today. I have no idea how I am going to cope with the next four months, but I do need to get back to work so I can pay for all of this. I am just going to pray that God will take over and give me the strength to focus on what I can control and leave the rest in his hands.
Our flight will take off in forty-five minutes and then I am on a twenty-three hour journey back to Idaho. I am wearing a light weight golf shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. I didn’t even bring a long sleeve shirt. Last I heard it was only like 23 degrees in Idaho. I am probably going to freeze when we get to Boise. I think I will welcome that for at least a few minutes.
I am in JFK airport right now; we landed at 4:16 after and 11 hour, 8 minutes flight. It went well but because of this souvenir I brought home from Ghana (sinus infection, earache and head cold) I wasn’t able to sleep as much as I’d have liked. Hence, it’s gonna be a long day…
I hope you don’t think I’m imbalanced or off my rocker for what I am about to say, but…I WAS THRILLED TO SEE AND HEAR DELIGHT CRY!!! I just kept hugging her and giving her continued permission to “let it all out, have a good cry.” She was very obedient, and finally let herself grieve for what I assume has been 11 years of hard stuff. They are so conditioned to keep their emotions in check. While she lives in Ghana, I suppose that is okay. But when they get home with us, I hope they can learn to cry when they need to. Sometimes it is so therapeutic to just bawl your eyes out. When we turned the corner yesterday to walk away, that’s what she was doing. I’d be interested (if we were better able to communicate) to hear if she felt the cathartic release that surely had to come after all of those tears. Someday when she has the English comprehension and her little heart has healed, maybe I’ll ask her…
We need to hurry and find a “hotspot” to upload this and then get ready to board the flight to Minneapolis. I think we’ll write some more tonight, this time from HOME (and sufficiently medicated and decongested).
I’m having a hard time knowing how to say thanks to all of you, so for now…I’m just going to say, “Thanks.” That was pretty clever, huh? Yah, I spent the whole flight thinking that one up. My quick wit and astounding command of the English language are unparalleled. (Whatever!)