I am writing this post on 11/13/13 to keep the memories fresh on my mind, but I know I'm not posting it until whenever today is...
On Friday, November 8, our world took a turn, a new page turned, a new road opened up and with it the floodgates of emotions and realities started to sink in... on this day we got to meet our children for the very first time.
After many weeks of praying for these children and patiently waiting for the next step, the next go ahead from the authorities that be, we were given the green light. As we drove from Midland the 4 hours to the city where they resided, I was emotionally wrecked with joy, happiness, anxiety, and fear like I had never felt before. I think I talked Robert's ear off with nervousness the whole way! This was the moment we were patiently (well somewhat) awaiting for weeks and weeks, the chance to see them face to face. The drive was totally a blur and seemed to drag on all day. Navigating to our hotel through an unknown city was hard bc of all the nerves.
We checked into our hotel and proceeded to get ready for the night ahead of us. With a few minutes to get changed from the drive and freshened up, I just prayed and prayed. There was nothing else I could do. Things were in Gods hands at that point bc my body was going numb from anticipation and fear. As I was unloading my suitcase a thought occurred to me...
"What do you wear to meet your kids for the first time ever?"
How strange and how not normal this situation was and how frightening that we were about to walk into this experience feeling like we were blindfolded and handing two little beings our hearts on a glass platter.The uncertainties and the fears were very real and very vivid. Of course, it didn't really matter what we decided to wear bc I'm sure kids don't really notice those details, but in a way we were interviewing to become parents... to our kids... so very strange. The questions began to run like crazy through my mind: what will they think of us? Do they know our names, our faces? What do we do when they get hungry, fussy, or tired? How will we break the ice? What if they don't like us, what if we aren't any fun to them? What if they refuse to go anywhere with us? I could have driven myself crazy with all the questions... and I could have let the enemy terrify me to death that I backed out and told Robert we had to drive back to Midland...
But no, God was my patience and my strength, He took my hand, whispered in my ear His calming words of encouragement, and led me through the hotel lobby, to our car, and with Robert, down the few blocks to the appropriate place we were to meet with the kids and their foster families.
The moment had arrived, as we pulled into the parking lot, we double checked the address, of course we were a few minutes ahead of schedule. Would they be in the lobby? What are the first words to my son and daughter going to be?
When a mother first meets their child, their newborn, I imagine it just being so emotional and joyful and happily chaotic as you take in the child's first cries, first breath, first every moment in life. And as they grow you get to mark down their many firsts- first steps, first time eating solid food, first words, first smile, first laugh, first fall, first bruise or scrape, first ... You fill in the blank. And there's usually photos or video to document these momentous occasions so you never forget.
At this time I have never seen a baby picture of either child. I don't know when they first developed their gross and fine motor skills (which kills me as a physical therapist), I have no idea what their first words were or what they liked to play with. Their firsts were about happen for us and there would be no typical new mommy and daddy fanfare happening around us.
There was just two terrified kids and two even more scared adults.
So as we walked into the building and saw Elva sitting there next to her foster mom, my body could have just fallen over from how tense and nervous I was. My first reaction from my daughter was a glare. Who is this strange person staring at me? She was very timid and shy, as I would be if I was meeting a perfect stranger who looked at me like they knew me. Waylon came in a few moments later and was happy to unite with his sister. He didn't even give us a glance. And not that I don't blame him...this was not normal.
We were introduced and led to a room where we had to talk some logistical stuff with their social worker. From what I could gather the kids had been told about us but just small details. The kids were not exactly aware that we were wanting to adopt them. We were warned not to even mention adoption or "living forever" to Waylon (for many reasons, he just wasn't ready to hear it). Really... I couldn't even talk to my kids about them coming to be with me forever. How not normal again.
After discussing some things about the kids and the whole situation and after being introduced to several other members of their CPS network we were able to go through a photo album we had created about our families with the kids. They asked some questions but were anxious to see what we were going to do after being stuck in this room. I have to share the best moment bc it was one of the happy memories we will have of our first meeting... while talking logistics the kids kept coming to us with large strips of paper and measuring our heads. They informed us that they were gonna make us king and queen crowns. And that they did. Elva put hot Cheetos on mine since she really likes hot Cheetos and she wanted me to like them too. We kept those crowns on for a long time and I even kept them in an album- minus the Cheetos bc that would be gross.
I can't say that our first meeting was everything I had hoped it would be. We took them to a golf/go cart/skating/game room place to just play games and break the ice together. There was a lot of awkward times and some less than glorious moments, again we felt like auditioning as parents. All I wanted to say was please like me! I love you and I am really fun! But I just had to take it one step at a time. There are so many more details I could share but for the sake of time and not overloading my server right now I will leave you with just one more paragraph about that first day.
The stress of the day cannot even begin to explain the emotional roller coaster that we went through. How hard it is to stare right at the perfect beautiful two sets of brown eyes you had prayed over and decided to love many weeks before and yet to have those eyes blankly even give you a second glance. We knew this was going to be hard, and knowing that these two kids are real people with real feelings and real opinions, just made it all that much harder. Robert and I had to trust God and to persevere through whatever doubts popped up around us. We felt like the most nervous babysitters in the world although instead we were pining for these kids to see past all the hustle bustle of the games and see Christs love through our eyes, a love that spoke of future to these kids. Elva is very loving and super creative, Waylon is also creative and smart and just playful boy. Together they are silly and super energetic. We love them. Though their first moments with us were less than a joyful and glorious chaotic happiness, we love them. The real challenge was now to begin... Showing them who we were and that we were there to be parents, to not be a babysitter or cool hang out person who would buy them tokens for game machines, that we simply and plainly love them.
Yes, the real challenge had now begun.
If you have been following us on facebook you know that we will officially be bringing the kids home on December 20th. We are overjoyed to be having them right before Christmas (although they sure are expensive to buy for :) and we are still in need of prayers. Throughout this entire journey we have definitely felt the prayers- keeping us safe on the road to see them, giving us strength to endure every rough patch and every crack in the road, giving us hope through each layer of the process- we have felt your prayers. And while we may fall apart at the end of the day from the stress, it is only God who has helped us stay strong. Thank you. December 20th is coming soon, and I know I have alot more to update this on and it will happen, just give me time to get my words right. Thank you all again for your support!
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an INEXPRESSIBLE and GLORIOUS JOY, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9