I'm incredibly sorry that it has taken me so long to post! We were so busy while we were in Ethiopia, and then we pretty much went straight to summer camp with the teens once we got back! To sum up our trip to meet our boys, it was the best week of our lives and also the worst week of our lives.
It was the best week because we got to meet our kids for the first time! Our first meeting was precious. Our hearts were racing as we waited on the front porch of the transition home for them to bring the boys out. We could hear them coming down the hall, and as they caught sight of us, little N started running and squealing and jumped up into my arms. A went straight to Shane and hugged him, and then we switched. I will never forget how I felt as I held each of my children for the first time. I got to hold them, kiss them, study their faces, pick them up, and show them the love that our hearts had already felt long before our face to face meeting. We also were called "mom" and "dad" for the first time. In that moment, every step of our long journey became worth it.
I can't wait for everyone to meet them and see their personalities! N is hilarious! He makes really funny faces, says funny things, sings funny songs, wears his socks up to his knees, and marches around sticking his belly out. He cracked us up the whole time! He has the best giggles too. A is super amazing at soccer! He is also a thinker and a very old soul. He loves God SO much. We asked if he would show us some traditional dance, and his nanny interpreted that he said in response "no- I only sing songs of God now". I took his clothes one night back to our place to wash them, and in his pocket I found the first letter we had sent them. It was all folded up, and on the outside he had written "dad" and "mum". He wants to be a pastor when he grows up. Our sons might look different from us, but they are totally our sons in every way!
We spent most of our time at the baby transition home with the boys, but we did get to walk down the street one afternoon with the boys to the older child home where they live. We took pictures of their beds and their room...it was sad. Eight children sleeping in a like 10x10 room, nothing on the walls, and pathetic pillows (in which A had hidden several items). They have lived that way their whole lives so it's no big deal to them, but it was sad to us.
We got to meet with the boys and the child psychologist on staff there. He is so great and we are blessed that he has been a part of their lives! They have a great relationship with him, and I know that he has been instrumental in helping them to process everything going on in their lives. We had him ask the boys if they were happy, and they both said they are very happy. They know they are moving to Florida and can point it out on the map. We had him explain to them that they could keep their Ethiopian names if they wanted to, or they could choose American names. They both wanted American names, and A said he wanted his to be "Florida". :) We told him he wouldn't want to be named that! We let them look at a list of names and their meanings that we had chosen. A picked the name that I knew he would pick because of it's meaning. He chose the name Christian- "follower of Christ". N picked the name Joash- "given by the Lord". Their names are perfect.
We had our court date on July 13th. We went in knowing that we would not pass unless by miracle. The MOWCYA is twenty days behind on approval letters, so no families are currently passing the first time. Right now we are just waiting and praying! We need to pass court by the time rainy season starts over there (August 7th) because court closes down for like two months I believe. If we don't pass before then, it means we cannot be a family for at least 3-4 more months. We are hopeful that the Lord will intervene, and that we will have that letter very soon! Please join us in praying! It is in the best interest of the boys that we go get them soon. We are a family and we need to be together!
So earlier in the post I said that it was the worst week of our lives too, right? Well, that was because of having to leave our boys. We had asked if we could meet with the psychologist again on the last day so that he could reassure them that we loved them so much, that we are a family, and that we would be coming back for them very very soon. Christian A. started crying first, then me, then Joash N., then Shane. Our hearts were breaking. We asked the boys if they had any questions, and Christian A. said that he just wanted us to know that he loved us so much. We tried the rest of the afternoon to just have fun with the boys, but we were all pretty somber. Joash was able to laugh and play with Shane a little, but I just sat and held Christian. He kept looking at Shane's watch he was wearing, and then when the van pulled in to pick us up, he went and sat under a bush and sobbed. We said our goodbyes, squeezed them both, and told them how much we loved them, and then we got in the van and left. We were all four crying. Heartbreaking. I will never forget their faces as we pulled out of the drive.
On a happy note, our reunion is going to be so so sweet and we will be a forever family next time.
We were singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" at church this morning, and I could totally relate to a line of it..."strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside. Great is they faithfulness!" We live each day being apart from them with His strength, and we have bright hope for our "tomorrow"!
There are so many more details of our trip that I would love to share, but some just too personal to put out on the world wide web. We would love to show you pictures in person and give you more details of the trip...we always love talking about our boys. :)