I am giving up on my dream of being able to post my gotcha day account with pictures or video. Still no camera from Uganda. Kaleb dutifully load the video on to my lap top, edited out the things I wanted out (like the really unflattering shot of my rear end…come to think of it I am not sure there could be a flattering one of those) , it was all done, nice and pretty. Then I managed to totally destroy our lap top…maybe beyond repair. By the way, when Windows Vista is loading upgrades, and it says DO NOT SHUT OFF COMPUTER UNTIL DOWNLOADING IS COMPLETE…they mean it. So with out further ado, our gotcha day. With out visuals.
As we pulled into Jinja, I remember wanting to take it all in. This is where my children have spent their entire lives. This has been their home. I am trying to see all I can, and we are all asking questions about the city and what we see. All of the sudden we are stopped in front of the home. I recognize the black gate with wood sign in the shape of Africa on it. I gasp, and try to catch my breath. This is it, this is what we have been waiting for, working for, praying for. I can feel my heart racing as I try to gain some sort of composure. “Am I ready for this?” I ask myself. The answer is both no and yes. I don’t really have a choice, ready or not, it is time. We must have arrived at nap time or something. I am really not sure, but there were not any children anywhere to be seen. We were led into the front room and we take our seats, where we sit and wait for the children to be brought out to us. Little faces start peaking around the corner. Sweet little faces, they don’t belong to us, but they are precious children. My heart aches for them. I momentarily have the thought “Why didn’t we commit to three? The money was there, it wasn’t that much more. Why not three?” Then before I can run with those thoughts, there they are. Ushered out and standing in front of me, two of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. They are real, not just flat images on a picture. Here they are, I can touch them, hold them, breathe them in. I am secretly praying that I don’t cry. I don’t want to cry. I keep thinking children associate crying with sadness and pain. Very few understand that when there is overwhelming joy, tears come. I don’t want them to mistakenly think I am sad. I scoop them up onto my lap and hold them in my arms for the first time. I remember vividly holding all my children for the first time. Those memories are ones that I hope never fade. Holding William and Marissa was no exception. They may have been a bit bigger, and taken up more room in my lap, but they took up no less room in my heart.
As I sat there holding them, my heart was filled with such immense love. I thought, this is it, this is how the Lord loves me. He adopted me. I was an orphan. Clothed in the rags of my sin and shame. Hungry, because all I had feasted on was empty and dry. Alone, abandoned, forsaken. Sick with the parasite of sin. I was hurt by the world, mistrusting, and afraid. Yet there was my Jesus, willing to make a way. To cleanse me and restore me. To feed me, so that I might never hunger again. He has been there to love me and bear with me, even while I have suffered with reactive attachment disorder. One day yearning to be close to Him, never leaving His side. The next, pushing Him away away and fighting against the very love that bought my ransom. I received in that moment, a clear picture of my salvation, my adoption. When I became a child of the Most High. When my Daddy sent for me. One day I will be escorted home, into His loving arms.
We spent a while in the waiting area looking at books. Watching the video, you can see the terror in their eyes. They were so afraid, yet hopeful. We could tell they were happy to have us there, but very afraid of the unknown. At one point Marissa was sitting on my lap, and we were looking at the family scrapbook we had sent them. Another little boy (who was being adopted by another family at the same time) came over and started to look at it with us. She got mad and pushed his hand away. “NO! You mommy.” She said, as she pointed to his mommy sitting across the room. William was showing the book to his friends. He would show them the book and say “See, my daddy and mommy” while pointing to us. This was terrible to watch. Out of insecurity, they wanted to make sure everyone knew, we were theirs, and they were not going to share. They did not want anyone else touching us or talking to us. As we stood on the play ground surrounded by children, my heart was torn into a million pieces. I will have to save that for another post.
They were not going to go home with us at this time. We would just be visiting them until Monday. Once we went to court they would come to stay with us. When it came time to leave, we were telling them bye, and William began to cling to Richard and cry hysterically. We told him over and over again, that we would be back in the morning. I hated leaving him. I hated that he thought we would leave him and not come back. When he calmed down, we gave them one more squeeze and left for the guest house.
That’s it, that is the day William and Marissa were “born” into our family. In a way it was a lot like giving birth. Months of paperwork and preparation led us to this day. After two days of travel with little sleep I was exhausted. There was much pain in the journey. The joy of having them in our arms was unspeakable.