Our middle (continued)…..
“Should I feel scared, nervous, anxious, worried, or terrified? What if I feel nothing? What if he feels nothing? What if Nick or Jaxson feels nothing? What if he’s not there? What if this is all a really bad joke? What if I mess up; say the wrong thing; move the wrong way…squeeze too long…get too close…smell funny…give the wrong impression? And then what…about…leaving?!”
Alrighty…just typing all that out made my heart start to race and breathing became a struggle. Just so I don’t sound neurotic, I did not have all of those thoughts at one time…lol. But, some were pretty close together. I had never experienced a battle over my mind, thoughts, and emotions like the anticipation of meeting our soon-to-be-adopted-son. I have fought and overcome many things in my life, but my mind is always the trickiest. I knew going into this that I would have to take captive every single thought that did not bring peace and life, and replace it with His truth. I am not saying I didn’t have all the “natural” thoughts. I am simply saying I fought them with love.
On the morning of August 4, 2012, Nick, Jaxson, and I woke up and got ready for the BIG morning we knew was coming.
I did lay my clothes out the night before, along with everything we would need to give to “S” and the rest of the children and people living with him and taking care of him. The caring and loving people with us that morning, our team, would ask me how I was doing. I answered honestly…"I have no expectation." I had spent months giving my desires and expectations to the Lord. I had read, heard, and witnessed those around me go through heartbreak and redemption when it came to adoption. I knew to expect nothing and everything all at the same time. That left me with a little empty place that I had been filling with His Word, worship, and humility. Now, I certainly do not want to come off as self-righteous and pious. For those of you who know me, you know how I have struggled to get to this place of trust and security in my walk with Jesus. So, just to clarify, the state of complete peace that morning, was a gift of grace from God.
We all loaded up, and headed out….the bus stopped at an orphanage…no “S”…wrong orphanage. Oh, how I wish I could tell you where we were, because many of you would be laughing at what a normal occurrence this really was. Moving on…we pull up and park by the “right” foster home. Cameras ready…check…Nick in front…check…me sort of next…check…Jaxson close…check. And as I turn the corner of a lime green home, I see a flash of dark hair and white t-shirt, jump off the porch. And in one leap the blur is clasped tightly to Nick’s waist, with his face turned away from my sight. A few steps closer, and I see the side of his cheek. I felt something from way down inside me rise up…it came out as a whisper… “That’s him.”
I dropped to my knees, to look him in the eyes…those big, beautiful, brown eyes. I had spent hours staring at them in pictures. Now they were looking back at me, full of life! He let go of Nick, wrapped his arms around my neck, and placed his head on my shoulder; just like a child does to his parent; just like my children do to me. And if, there was ever a doubt in my mind or heart that he wouldn’t “feel” like mine, it was gone…done…finished.
I released him long enough to introduce him to his big brother. Jaxson had a smile on his face that only a picture can capture. He leaned over and wrapped his younger brother up in his arms; like only the covering of an older sibling can. And it was sealed…brothers for life.
“S” came back to me and I carried him into the house.
We spent the next 6 hours with him and everybody else, there at the house. We showed “S” his family photo book that we had made him; complete with pictures of each of us holding his picture while ours was being taken. He loved that…he kept saying, “That’s me!”
Jaxson and “S” held hands most of the time as they walked around outside. They played with the toys we brought for everybody. The whole place felt like a huge celebration! We heard laughter and singing. We sat and looked through the other children's family photo books. As they described their new families, I realized that I had never seen smiles like that; smiles of hope, relief, redemption, purpose, and love. We met faces we had seen before and others we will get to see again. And the whole time we celebrated on earth, I know there was a true rejoicing in heaven, because His kids, young and old, were doing His work.
The rest of our team left, and headed for the other village. We headed to our hotel to spend time as a family with “S.” Just in case you didn’t know…blowing bubbles, and running after them is a universal, cross-cultural, border-breaking, pastime that is fun for all ages! We did that until dinner. I was so proud of us ordering and being on our own. The dad from the foster home joined us for dinner and we had a wonderful time and great conversation. They walked home. We were tired enough to sleep.
The next morning, while trying to ignore the obvious outcome of the day, we headed for the foster home. We relaxed with “S”…played funny games on an I-pad…organized his stuff…went for a walk…and held each other a lot. Then the moment came…to say good-bye. It was the hardest on “S” and on Jaxson. I knew it would be. But, I knew it was a good hurt. The kind of hurt that makes you keep longing, hoping, loving, and praying. I saw it as a momentary separation to accomplish a greater goal. My logistical side took over…for that moment anyways. I held Jax in my arms while we were in the cab. I didn’t speak…he was shocked. I prayed...for him…for “S”…for Nick…and for myself.
I know this will be the hardest thing we have said “yes” to, up until now. I also know, it will be the most rewarding for everybody who is trusting in our God. So, we press on one day at a time…trusting, believing, and waiting. I have a boy to fight for. He will be redeemed!