I can hardly believe it was one year ago today that we met this sweet, precious boy for the first time. We walked into an eerily quiet Guangzhou civil affairs office and peered through the infamous curtains. The curtains that separate all families from their new children until it is “time.” The curtains my son sat behind, waiting for his future to begin. The anticipation in the room was palpable as more waiting adoptive families shuffled in and the noise steadily grew. After all of the paperwork was signed and it was “time,” I finally held him in my arms and knew instantly that he was my son. The unconditional love I felt for him was overwhelming. All of the waiting and heartache melted away as our new life together officially began. The escalating chaos and noise of the civil affairs office went unnoticed as we became a family of 6 that day. My other children attempted desperately to catch his attention, to see even a glimpse of a smile, while hubby held the camera ready to snap. Snacks, drinks, and toys were placed in his lap to divert his welling tears. I tried to shield him from everything else that was going on around us because I knew he was overstimulated and unsure. But everyone was elated to simply be in his presence after waiting for so long. I gaze at this picture of me holding him … the one that I asked hubby to shoot on my iPhone so I could tell the world he was finally ours … and I feel all of the emotions come flooding back. The feelings of joyfulness, thankfulness, concern, love, fear, protection, confusion, trauma, and more. I see a scared, apprehensive little boy who had no idea what was happening to him. I see sadness and brokenness in his precious eyes. I see hurt in his face that no one should have to experience. I see an amount of bravery and strength that is overwhelming.
I also see the beautiful story of redemption unfolding in his little life. I see a child who is loved deeply by his family and by his Abba Father. A child who is fought for. A child who is fearfully and wonderfully made. A child who was knit into our family through divine intervention. A child who has difficult past experiences that are part of his story, but don’t define him. A child who has hope. A child who is worth it all.
Over the past year, we have watched our precious son and brother come alive. He’s blossomed from a quiet, shy boy into a loud, fun-loving, needs-to-be-in-the-mix, joyful, sometimes bossy, silly, loving son who happily gives and receives affection. He has learned that his mommy and daddy will meet his needs. He has gained 7 pounds and grown almost 4 inches this past year. He has learned how to draw, how to put puzzles together, how to use simple words to communicate, how to pretend play, how to rough house, and how to laugh so contagiously that you can’t help but laugh with him. He has won the love and attention of his siblings. He has learned how to take things apart so he can figure out how they work. He is learning the ABC song and will impress anyone with his Itsy Bitsy Spider hand illustration skills. He has learned so much in his short time with us, and we have too.
We have learned to love more, give more of ourselves, and forgive more. We have learned to be more patient, although I’m still a work-in-progress on that one. We have learned more about ourselves as we’ve grown and stretched. We’ve been reminded that we aren’t in control, but we know Who is as we learn to let go. We’ve been reminded that when we mess up, we are forgiven by the One True God. We’ve remembered over and over again what God’s grace means, as we stumble through trying to share it with each other. We’ve felt His unconditional love repeatedly. Through adoption, we’ve learned, grown, stretched, shown grace, forgiven, and loved together. We’ve been reminded what our Abba Father’s adoption of us means, as we try to grasp our eternal inheritance in heaven. And we’ve seen a small glimpse of His remarkable redemption of us.
“God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:5-6
Happy Family Day precious son. You are so very loved!