Elliana, Adalyn, Joshua, and I have been able to spend a lot of quality time together. Eliana is slowly processing all the changes and handling it very well. She has a beautiful heart, is wise beyond her years, and takes this adoption very seriously—realizing the fullness of it.
This past week, as I was leaving the orphanage and saying our "goodnights," Elliana kissed me on the cheek and told me that she would be thinking that night about what she wanted to call me—Momma, Mommy, or Mom. She said that starting the next morning, she would no longer call me "Jenny." It was not only a sweet moment, but a monumental one as well. She has been melting my heart these last couple days as she tells me things like, "I have the best mom ever!" and "I love my mommy so much."
Adalyn is such a joy. She has a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh. In fact, one of the other families here, gave her the nickname "Giggles." She loves teasing (especially her Daddy), and she loves affection, being held, and being close and cuddly. She tends to be shy with her English, but out of the blue, will shock us all with her vocabulary. Last night, she was like a broken record reciting her abc's! We have been practicing, but last night was the first time I have heard her sing it, and it was nearly perfect! It is so much fun watching her blossom.
Joshua has come alive over these last few weeks. As soon as he spots me walking into his group, he drops what he's doing, and runs full force, with a huge smile, saying "Hi-iiiiiii!" He is a little sponge and has already learned many English words and phrases. He is very observant and loves to anticipate what you will do next so he can meet that need. As soon as he knows it is time for me to leave, he has my boots next to my feet and is handing my gloves and hat to me. He loves to be a helper! It is so exciting to begin seeing glimpses of him growing and thriving just because of the love and security of a Mommy and Daddy.
In the evening, before I head back to my apartment, I pray with our three; it's become a tradition that we started while Todd, Jaden, and Kellen were here. There was one night, when I was tired and wondering if they even appreciate that time of prayer. Sometimes it feels like I am just going through the motions, and it can begin to feel redundant. So I decided to skip it this particular evening. As we were walking down the stairs to exit the orphanage, Elliana proclaimed, "We didn't even get to pray yet!" So we quickly gathered and thanked the Lord. Since then, Elliana has mentioned several times about our time of praying together, and it is clear that it is a highlight of her day. Now we are beginning the countdown to when we no longer say our prayers as I leave for the night, but rather when we get to say our prayers as we all go to sleep under one roof.
Yesterday was a difficult day of emotions as Elliana and Adalyn said their goodbyes to their best friends as they are heading to America. Although it was a time of rejoicing, it was also a time of grieving, of saying goodbye, of letting go, and accepting change. I had flashbacks of the times when Todd and I have moved, and I have had to say goodbye to dear friends. I remember all the tears I have shed and falling apart emotionally, and I remember Todd trying to put all my messy pieces back together and wondering what he got himself into! Change is difficult!
What really broke my heart, is seeing the children who will be left behind. Our children will be leaving next week, others have been hosted and have forever families coming to get them in the next several months. But there are those who have not been given hope, who do not have the promise of a family to love them forever, who have never experienced the comfort and security and love of a mommy and daddy. My heart breaks as these children wonder if they will ever be "chosen."
A little over a week ago, before Jaden left, he and I had a conversation about the friendships he had developed in the orphanage. He and Kellen were often seen hanging out with "the boys." These boys all went sledding together, had snowball fights, tickled and wrestled each other, learned words in each other's language, made up games with items that were lying around the orphanage, and they laughed together. There were many hugs given and smiles shared. It didn't matter that there was a language barrier; they were friends.
One boy in particular had a big impact on Jaden. Jaden asked me, "How do we leave him behind? He needs a family. He is real, just like me."
There is something so true in that last statement. The term orphan is so abstract. We know there are orphans all over the world, but it doesn't seem to affect us...until we meet one. And we realize they are real, just like us.
Please pray for:
-all the children being left behind, not only in this orphanage, but those across the world, including the U.S. May we
be the hands and feet of Jesus.
-Adalyn & Joshua to develop their understanding of the English language and that it would happen quickly.
-a seamless transition, not only for our three new children, but our whole family as well, as there will be a lot
of change and many adjustments.