I always knew my husband would make a wonderful daddy. Watching him interact with nieces and nephews over years has been evidence of that over and over.
And then as we began to talk about adoption and there were times when I wondered if his heart was in it the same way mine was. Would he fall in love with kids that were not biologically ours?
I'm sitting here now shaking my head at those silly thoughts. After all one of the things I love most about my husband is his big loving tender heart.
He told me last night when he got home from work that before he even opened his eyes yesterday he was thinking about the kids. He was ready to see them again. He spent the evening looking online for activities and things that we could go do with them.
And he was still up thinking about our kids long after I went to bed.
And as you will see he is much better with words than I am...
Elaina has already shared about our eventful day yesterday. I have not. I do not have a blog so one obscenely long Facebook post must suffice...
So simple a thing, saying "hello", has never felt more special, more important, more purposed.
We have had one picture of the children this whole time. One picture that's at least 18 months old today. We were to meet the children one-by-one starting at 11:00AM. Everyone was running late except for us and the kids. We caught a glancing view of them coming up the stairs a few minutes earlier than the DHS workers thought they would. Excited children running up the stairs to meet their forever parents; excited parents trying to steal an early glimpse of their forever children. The workers at the group home quickly shuffled them back down the stairs and out of view. My first thought: "they've grown!!!" Kids can do a lot of that in 18 months. What have we missed in those 18 months? What have they been through? What have they felt while waiting?
We then met with everyone that has anything to do with the kids. DHS workers, group home workers, the attorney that represents the children. Adults scheming away about how to say hello to children. It's comical to think we can control such a thing. There is only One that orchestrates the affairs of man. This day was His day and in the hours that followed we felt His hands. Words came from our mouths that He put there. When to speak, when to listen, when to interact and when to observe. He was good to us all on this day.
Finally it was time. We were to meet the first one they had chosen to introduce to us. We were to hear one of our children's voices for the first time. I'm sure he felt like we were staring holes through him as he entered. He was nervous. We were nervous. After a few minutes, most of the workers left and we were able to visit with him for a while. The nervousness went away and we talked. He asked questions, we asked questions. We showed him photos of our family, our home, our dogs. His calming demeanor put us all at ease. Then we met with his brother, then with his sisters... A new wave of excitement and nervousness each time the door opened. It opened four times, bringing with it seven children. One more was not available and we will meet him on Tuesday. Eight in all. Sounds like alot, sounds crazy, feels perfect and wonderful. Elaina has told this story and I won't repeat every detail, but I must say it was a special time. At one point one of the girls asked me point blank "when will you adopt us?" I said "there are many steps we have to go through and we have to wait until DHS and everyone else involved thinks we're ready. I can be ready and you can be ready, but we have to go through the process." She immediately responded "I'm ready." In an instant so was I.
After the introductions in smaller groups we went to the dining hall to have lunch. Our girl who was ready prayed for our meal and then we ate together. Our first family meal was pizza around a couple of folding cafeteria tables. Not exactly a fine feast in an ornate dining room, but it was home for a few minutes. We answered more questions from the kids, and watched as they talked with each other and picked on each other. They are definitely siblings. State workers and group home workers sat at the end of the table, observing it all. To be honest, it was like the workers weren't even there. My focus was elsewhere.
Elaina has told this next part but I must tell it again. As we finished eating, our little prayer leader asked me if I had "Church Clap" on my phone. I said that I didn't and she asked if I could find it online. I said I would try and she helped me locate the correct version on YouTube. So I hit play and sat my phone on the edge of the table. I then turn around to see my beautiful little girl dancing. With no shame. Doing the church clap. The youngest boy soon joined in. Then one of the older girls. I selfishly soaked in every second of it.
We then took a group photo. Our family's first portrait. I so wish I could share it with you. In time we will be able to, but it will be a long, long wait because of the rules in place to protect the children.
We then went outside and played a little and talked a little. We were treated to another dance of course. The children only get to be together so often right now, so eventually we just sat back and watched them visit. Viewing a close group that we hope to break into. We took the time to visit with two of the workers that have been there with the children from the beginning. Great people doing the Lords work. Such beautiful, helpful, gracious people. We are thankful for them.
Finally it was time to go. What was originally going to be a couple of hours had turned into three and half. Elaina told of our tiny dancer running and jumping into my arms. She has won my heart and I fear that she knows it. We exchanged hugs with the kids and told them we would see them all very soon.
As we walked back to our car, our dancer walked along side. I asked her "where are you going?" and she said "to my cottage, you come see where I stay." I said that I didn't think we were allowed but she insisted. So we followed her into the living room. The house mother soon entered the room and we exchanged niceties. Then a procession of girls made their way from the halls of the house to the Living Room. Beautiful young girls. Some hoping to go home soon, some having been told that they never will because their parents' parental rights have been terminated. Their only hope is adoption. Our dancer was proud to have us there, so we were there and we said hello to each of the girls. I recognized some of their faces from the heart gallery. I thought about what they'll look like in 18 months. What are their forever families going to miss? What will these girls go through? What will their eager hearts feel while they wait? They're each so beautiful and worth pursuing. Don't let them wait long.