Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Congo Trip - Chapter 1 - I am your Mama

As my new friend Megan prepares to leave to bring home her new baby Miles, I am getting just so excited for her.  It brings back so many memories those that I never really shared on my blog.  I maybe wasn't ready to share all my mixed up emotions or maybe it is because I couldn't even grasp what was happening.  So, here they are as I remember them.  I am going to have to write this in several posts.  But this is a start.

October 25th- All day one side of my heart was filled with excitement of finally being able to leave to go and hold my babies!  The other side was being ripped up by the sharp claws of fear.  That side of my heart was making me want to.....well....vomit.  I did not want to leave my other babies here in Indiana.  As the time grew closer to our departure, I began thinking what if something does happen to both of us!  Did we make the right decision to both go? 

I tuck Livia and Parker in before we leave.  They are both practically hyperventalating, with tears pouring.  "Why do you both have to go?" they kept asking.  And I kept thinking to myself, "Because we are both to stinking selfish and stubborn to miss that first moment of being together."   I began to get really angry with Jamey because he had talked me into both of us leaving.  And soooo angry with myself for not sticking to my original plan of going alone.  If all of our luggage didn't need to go to the Congo, I might have stayed that night. 

This was taken that night.  Parker wanted it so he could have it in his camera along  with a video of me singing his "Mommy Loves You" goodnight song.

October 26-On the way to the airport, I realize that I left the necklaces Livia and Parker made me in my car, along with a rock Wally and Evie gave me.  They gave us each a rock in which they engraved a cross on.  So when times got hard we could hold it and pray for each other.  What a way to start my trip!  I began to cry again.

October 27-  We arrive in Kinshasa.  We receive an email upon landing that the US Consulate is out of the country.  WHAT!?!?!!  We scheduled this whole trip around this appointment we had with him!  Our boys were legally ours Aug 26th!  But we had to wait to see this man.  He is the only person in the world who cna give Ian and Chad visas to enter the United States.  He would not see us until the end of October and now he is gone!  We visit the Embassy to find out that we will not be seen for at least another week.  About now, the vomit is coming up, but I keep fighting it down.  Livia, Parker, Livia, Parker.......that is all I can think of.  How are we going to tell them that we are here longer?  How am I going to survive being away from them even longer?

We arrive at MPH.  We are pleasantly suprised that we have an apartment to share with Jilma.  We take our bags into our room.  MPH is the Methodist and Prebyterian Hostile. It was very nice for Kinshasa.  We shared our room with many other creatures.  There were rats, centipedes, really big spiders, lizards, and lots of other bugs, and of course mosquitos in MPH.  But over all it was a great place to stay.  We met lots of people there doing wonderful things for the D.R.C.  We gathered with these people for all of our meals.  This was the only place we could safely eat food. 

Maybe fifteen minutes after arrival, Jilma tells us we have guests.  All the anger dissappears.  I feel like I am melting.  Our babies are here!  They are so very little!  My eyes are so teared up I can't focus on their little faces.  Ian comes right to me.  I snuggle him so tightly.  I remember the earthy smell of him.  One he kept for a long while.  He is little like maybe an American 2 month old.  After lots of begging from Jamey, I hand him over to his anxious Papa.  I'll never forget the smile on Jamey's face.  Jamey smiles all the time.  But THAT smile, the one that makes his face glow, only happens on those undescribable occasions.  We've been together for over 15 years now and I've only seen it three times - when I walked down the aisle, when Livia was born, and again when Parker was born, and now here it is again.  Ian fell asleep in his loving arms.  In this moment, I fall in love with Jamey all over again.  And I am very thankful that he insisted we both be here for this moment.

Chad screamed when he saw me.  Not just a litte scream it was a really terrified scream.  So, I kept my distance for a few minutes.  We all sat down in our apartment and I sat across from Chad and talked to and played with him.  I eventually got the nerve up to reach out and hold him.  I was so afraid he would scream and reach away.  He didn't.  He was pretty much limp in my arms and again so small.  The size of an American 9-12 month old.  He never cried.  He just seemed emotionless.  Later we realized that this little guy was very intelligent and the Loma family had been prpearing him by showing him the picture book of his new Mama and Papa, whom would take him away to his new siblings.  He understood this.  So, he was really terrified when he first saw me.

Events that happened during the next week-

Chad stayed in this emotionless state for a few days.  Then after a bath one evening, I decided to give him rasberries on his belly.  Chad laughed!  Not just a chuckle a big belly shaking laugh!  I began screaming for Jamey and crying.  We smiled and looked into each others eyes, and both new everything was going to be alright. 

The next day I was telling him, "I love you Chad."  As I had done hundreds of time in the last few days.  I then told him,"Now you're suppose to say, I love you Mama!"  And to mine and Jamey's suprise, Chad says, "I love you Mama!"  And the tears come again.  I don't think those words had ever meant so much.  It was so different this time.  I knew Livia and Parker had always loved me.  Chad had been terrified of me and now he says this as happy as he can be to be in my arms!

Ian seemed to bond right away, especially with me.  The second night we had him he grabbed my face and kissed me on the lips.  It was such a precious kiss.  Jamey got a picture of it.  It is one of my favorite pictures.

Another moment that I will never forget happened in the van.  The mini-van was unairconditioned and usually we had 6 adults and 5 children with us.  The temperature was always in the high 90's and the humidy was...well it's a rainforest, so it's pretty freakin humid!  And it took hours to go a few miles.  So, these trips were really dreaded, not only because of the fact that we were all sticking together, but we would be with Mama Jospehine again. 

I love Mama Josephine.  She took Chad and Ian out of the orphanage and saved my boys' lives.  She gave them her love for months.  But right now she is still their Mama, and that is really hard for me to deal with.  But on this one day, Ian was fussing, Mama Josephine took him (and he quieted down as he always did in her arms).  But this time he looked at her and looked at me and then at her and finally he looked deep into my eyes and reached for me.  He chose me!  Another tear moment.  At that moment I felt like he was looking into my eyes and telling me, "You are my Mama."

Yes Ian, yes Chad,  I am your Mama and always will be.

To be continued......


  1. Another beautiful entry, Stori. We are all blessed by your sharing. I clicked on the new blog, A Thousand Sisters, after reading this I'm humbled by what you young women are doing to help save others. Lisa's efforts are simply amazing. To go to the Congo,unescorted, untrained and make such a difference in women's lives is awe inspiring. What a generation you are part of. I want to purchase the video and the book and host a viewing in my home to enlighten my friends. Anyone can do this, this small act. Thank you again for introducing this to our family and community. Love

  2. I love Lisa! She is my hero! To think she was just sitting on the coach watching Oprah and was inspired to do something. Boy, did she do something! I really want to start a Run for the Congo here. If you want to do a viewing I'd love to help, host or show up with my boys : )

  3. Thank you for writing this. I can't stop crying. You put into this every fear that I have. I am so blessed to have gotten to know you all on this amazing journey!

  4. Stori, I can't stop crying either! I am so sorry that our lives took us in such different directions at this critical time. You are my hero. Love you!

  5. Wow, Stori. Absolutely beautiful!!! I'm literally in tears!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your journey!! And those pictures of giggles and kisses??? Priceless!!!


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