Many months ago, I asked Alex:

“What are you most looking forward to?”

I was talking about in terms of our adoption, but that didn’t need to be said.  Alex’s answer was immediate and adorable.


He went on to describe snuggling Baby W late at night in the rocking chair in his room, or wrestling around the living room floor and then snuggling afterward.  Melt my heart.

Alex then turned the question on me. “What are you most looking forward to?”

I didn’t have to think about my answer either, but I knew it was going to sound way less meaningful than Alex’s answer.

“Making our travel arrangements”.

Alex looked at me like I was crazy, and with good reason.  It is no secret that I don’t enjoy flying and am dreading the travel aspects of this trip.  Furthermore, of all the wonderful and beautiful mommyhood moments ahead, it seemed almost calloused to be most excited about booking plane tickets.

But back then, and even up until yesterday, fear still had a pretty firm grip on my heart.  We had already had one enormous adoption loss (which was still pretty fresh at this point), where I had dreamed up and imagined everything about Baby M and our future life together, only to have that ripped away.  I wasn’t sure I could make it through that again, and therefore had been protecting myself by doing my best to not think much about Baby W or life after meeting him.  What if he was ripped away from me too?

I explained to Alex that I was so desperate to be excited about things like bedtime snuggles and evenings of watching him playing with our son.  But I had not allowed myself to go there.  I couldn’t.

I was most excited about making travel arrangements, because that would be the point when I allow myself to dream about things like snuggles.  That would be the point when it would be safe to be excited.  Really, truly excited.  I told Alex I was jealous of the faith he had – that faith that allowed him to already be to that point.


Fast-forward to yesterday.  Over the weekend, we had sent a few potential travel itineraries  to our agency, but couldn’t make any actual arrangements until our Polish attorney had confirmed a few details.  We knew when we wanted to leave, but still didn’t know if it was going to happen.  By mid-morning, I couldn’t take the waiting anymore and called Victoria to see if she had gotten any updates from our attorney over the weekend.

She answered saying, yes, she had gotten an update over the weekend, but was right in the middle of an emergency situation with another travelling family and had to deal with that before she could explain things to me.  We hung up, and she promised to call back as soon as she could.  I tried to be patient, knowing that Victoria has given the same answer to other inquiring families when she was dealing with our emergency situations in the past.

I busied myself by perusing apartment listings in Wroclaw, just in case.  It didn’t take long before I realized this was only stressing me out further.  The downside of hopefully travelling over the holidays was that rental prices had gone up and most of our original choices were booked up.  After doing a quick scan, I concluded there was only one apartment left that was in our price range and had an actual bed.  All of the other options were for sofa beds, and I have the Rathburn gene for a bad back and two worthless, post-surgery, annoyingly high-maintenance shoulders.  Not good time to also introduce a pre-walking toddler to cart around.

Rather than sit and stare at the apartment listing and wait for someone else to book it, I opted instead to prep the roast we were having for dinner and get it in the crock pot.   I dropped a slice of butter into a sizzling skillet right as my phone started ringing – the old timey, alarm-like, terrifying ringtone that meant Victoria was calling.  I snatched up the phone and sprinted down the hall to the office, where I had all of our travel options and email correspondences pulled up on the computer for quick reference.

The news was just what we were hoping – we could make our travel arrangements, book our apartment, and leave when we wanted.  I was ecstatic, and immediately hung up and called Alex at work. We talked through the details and decided we would wait until he got home to book our flights, but that I should go ahead and rent the last apartment before someone else did.

And so I did.  It is a bit small – let’s call it “cozy” – at 344 sq. ft., but that is just all the better for hardcore bonding, right?  It is in a beautiful area on the Odra River in downtown Wroclaw, next to a park and just a short distance from the famed Wroclaw Market Square.


Our apartment complex on the Odra River


Park Juliusza Słowackiego next to our apartment


Wroclaw Market Square

Around that time I finally ventured out of the office and back to the kitchen.  Ya’ll.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.  That slice of butter I dropped in the hot skillet and then immediately left?  It has turned to tar in the skillet, and the kitchen and living room were filled with thick smoke.  Dante, who is incredibly over dramatic about smoke ever since we, ahem, set our kitchen on fire shortly after we got married (story for another time … maybe.) was shaking and whimpering and stumbling around like a drunk person.

I screamed and grabbed the skillet off the burner, turned on the fans, and threw all the windows open.



I took this picture while waiting for the smoke to clear, and upon seeing it, our sweet friend Sarah decided I wasn’t safe to be left alone and took it upon herself to come over and supervise my insanity.  Soon Alex was home too, and we were ready to book flights!  Sarah is a missionary in Africa who is currently in the US on furlough, and the most-traveled person I know.

Together we booked our flights (EEEEEKKK), celebrated as the Poles do with hearty food and drink, and Sarah taught us about things like making layovers fun and the joys flying business class (which we get to do – free upgrade!) and how to use European outlet converters and not pack too much.  It is possible I might try to pack her in my suitcase and take her with us.  The three of us spent the evening huddled around a computer looking up Polish castles and train routes and watching Rick Steves videos.

Rick Steves, we offer you Sarah's hand in marriage.

Rick Steves, we offer you Sarah’s hand in marriage.

And for the first time in this adoption, I allowed myself to be truly happy, to be truly excited about what was coming.  Just like that, my most anticipated moment had arrived, and I could move on to dreaming about snuggles, like Alex had been doing for months.

  • Dec 14: Flight at 1:30 pm!
  • Dec 15: Arrive in Poland mid-afternoon
  • Dec 15-18: Settle in, site-see, fight jet lag
  • Dec 19: CUSTODY OF BABY W!!!
  • Dec 21: My birthday!
  • Dec 25: A family for Christmas!
  • Dec 26-Jan 8: Bonding Period
  • Jan 9: Court Day = Gotcha Day!
10 Days.

10 Days.

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