Sunday, June 28, 2015

Date Night

Friday night was date night. 

 It was a new kind of date night.  

Friday night I shared my husband with two other beautiful young ladies.

Our daughters.

We picked up The Oldest first.  Another girl in her cottage had fixed her hair in a french braid that ended with beautiful blonde curls falling over her shoulder.  It was a sign to us of the excitement she had for the evening.  

The three of us walked across the street to pick up The Cheerleader.  In true girly girl fashion, she didn't want us to see her until she was completely ready.

It was in those moments that Our Dancer realized she was not going to dinner with us.  The tears came.  They came hard and fast.  Her house mom tried to comfort her.  We tried to help but it was one of those moments when it was best for us to just walk away.  We told her we would be back soon and would visit with her and then we slipped back into the hallway.

In the hallway we saw The Cheerleader all dressed up and ready for our date.  She had picked out a new dress to wear and had one of the other girls curl her hair.  She looked absolutely beautiful.

I smile every time I picture her in my mind.

We realized very quickly that night what a big deal this first date with us was to all them.  To be chosen to go first or to be staying behind...

We want them all to feel special.  We want to get to know all of them.  And they realize we need these small group dates to get to know them, but they each desire for their turn to be now.

There were so many times during the night when I wanted to pull out my phone and snap a picture or record the sound of their laughter and banter with one another.  But at the same time I didn't want anything to get in the way of me soaking up these moments.

We talked to The Oldest about soccer opportunities and watched as she beamed with excitement.

We watched The Cheerleader struggle with her feelings, being torn between what she currently has and what she could have.

Oh The Cheerleader.  She's a fun one.  It was raining when we left the restaurant.  Andrew and I, along with The Oldest, walked in the rain  sprinkle to the car.  The Cheerleader stayed under the awning of the restaurant until Andrew drove the car over to pick her up, which he happily did.  Then she took off her blue jean jacket and held it over head.  

We couldn't let the rain mess up those beautiful curls.  :)

After dinner we took them to get froyo.  As we enjoyed our froyo we showed them pictures of our house and their bedrooms.

Questions started to come out.

"If you adopt us..."

We looked them in the eye and told them we were in this.  We weren't going anywhere.

They've heard those words before and it breaks our hearts that they've been through a placement that didn't work out.

They have walls up that only time and love will bring down.

We are doing everything we can to assure them that we aren't going anywhere and that it is okay for them to feel both sadness and excitement at the same time.

We understand.

When we got back to the campus we were able to see all of the children.  We all met in the dining hall, the place that has become our private place to meet, and gave them supplies to make cards for their brother.  We will meet him on Tuesday and plan to give him these cards.  I think it meant a lot to them to be able to do this and I think it showed them that we care about him too.  Some of the kids were private about their cards and some asked us to read them before they sealed them.

It was a sweet time.

We then gave them each a small gift, a framed copy of our first family portrait from Tuesday along with a card with a note from Andrew and a note from myself.

The tears flowed.

Theirs as they soaked in the photo and read our words, and ours as we watched their tender hearts overflow.

One told us she had never had a family portrait before.

One asked, "When you adopt us can we have family nights where we do stuff together like on Friday nights?"

When she finished reading her card, Our Dancer looked at Andrew and asked if she could call him dad.  He told her she could call him whatever she wanted.

"Ok, Dad" she said.

And then she called him Dad a thousand times.

As we were walking to the dining hall, The Oldest was behind me and called out to me saying "Mom, I picked you a flower."

I heard her, but didn't even realize she was talking to me.

I'm mom?

I am mom.

I laughed throughout the night when different ones would say mom or dad and Andrew and I didn't answer immediately.

We are not used to those names.

But oh how we cherish hearing those names.

It's something we dreamed about for years.

It's something we never dreamed would happen so quickly in this process.

What we thought would be a thirty minute visit with all of the children quickly turned into a couple of hours.  It was late and we were all exhausted and ready for bed.

Yet it was hard to say goodbye and walk away.

As Andrew and I plan our next date it seems to far away.

We miss them the moment we leave.

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