My awesome team of 11 met at my house yesterday to pack our 22 suitcases. When we emptied out my basement storage and their cars, we all just stood and stared at the mountain of stuff. And I'm thinking, "There is no way we are getting all this stuff into 22 fifty pound suitcases. Not possible."
We went to town, organizing everything (toiletries in front of the dresser, office supplies under the desk, gifts on the table, clothes in front of the radiator, medical supplies in the kitchen...) and we packed. We made sure that each kid has a gift that is appropriate, we put together gift bags for the nannies, we took all the med supplies out of their bulky packages, we sorted clothes, we took a shopping trip for Christmas decorations and candy, and we ate a bunch of pizza. When it was all over, we had 20 suitcases stuffed to the brim (and about 52 pounds each). We couldn't believe it. I have room for gifts from adoptive parents that are still arriving and for a donation of journals for all the kids.
On the downside, the whole thing was exhausting for all of us, but especially for me. My co-leader, Emily, couldn't be there, so that has a lot to do with it, but it's also just the constant fear and pressure of "Am I going to be able to make everything work out?" There are just so many details of where we're going, what we're doing, how we're paying, not to mention the question of translation. My team's biggest concern is that they can't communicate, and there's just no way around it: there is only one me and there are 10 of them. I simply won't be able to translate for all of them. I am just so worried that they will have a horrible time. I have been trying to describe everything for them, painting it as bad as I can so that they can be pleasantly surprised when it isn't that bad, rather than horrified when it's way worse than they expected. (No, you adoptive parents, I did not do that to you. I told you about your kids exactly the way they are.)
It all comes back to Isaiah 41:9-10: "You are my servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." We are not walking into this alone.