I never want to forget the way they looked that first day that we went back. As the gates opened and we pulled into the orphanage compound, it didn’t take more than a second to spot their faces. N and M were the very first two we saw- waving with two hands and had the biggest smiles on their faces! They had been waiting for us!
I snapped a few pictures before the van stopped, but a few seconds later, I put my camera back on the seat and jumped out of the van to love on all the kids. Every one of them came up to each of us to greet us and hug us. So many of them had remembered Randy and I and were excited for us to be with them for the upcoming holiday. They were all curious and excited to see that we had brought Jensen too. I wonder if any of them noticed when we gave our biggest, longest hugs to our beautiful N and M and then after greeting everyone else, we hugged them again! :)
The first item of business after all the greetings was to go and see the Ox. Right away the director asked if we would like to see the ox that would become our lunch for Easter- we said sure. So we walked up the hill a little and there he was, tied to a rope and just looking like an ox!
He asked if we approved and we said uh sure, and then he was made into meat- right there on the grass. Some of the kids grabbed my camera and took pictures of the event while we conveniently moved on to other things- I’ll spare you the gore though and you can just imagine what those pictures look like- lol!
As we were walking up the hill to see the ox and then to take a look at the construction of the new school buildings, I looked over and there was M holding one of Randy’s hands and N holding the other- it was like we had never left. They both had a firm grip and didn’t look like they were going to let go anytime soon.
I snapped a few pictures as we walked along and they both kept smiling those sweet smiles.
My mind thought back to the last time we were there in September and how we had felt the same way then. I had been so worried all these months about whether there would still be a connection between us or if the kids even still remembered us and then at that moment I knew there was nothing to worry about. Our hearts had been knit together and even though we would not be able to tell them how much we loved them for a few more days, there was no doubt in our minds that they WERE our son and daughter.
Even though we couldn’t communicate with words very well, we didn’t really even need words anyway- it was like they just knew we had come back for THEM.
My heart was so full I thought I would burst. During the next few hours I would find myself just staring at them, and every few minutes one of them would catch me staring and then would flash that sweet grin and then move in a little closer to one of us. I just couldn’t stop this mother’s heart from wanting that time to never end.
The few hours we were there went by way too fast. We brought some balls, Frisbees, balloons and jump ropes and the kids got those out and split up to play with them. Many of the boys quickly became friends with Jensen and before we knew it, he was off running around with them as if they had been best friends for years.
N took off with Randy and Jensen to play a game of soccer with the boys,
and M and all the girls taught me a bunch of fun, silly games that we played together. We would switch off and we’d play one of the games they knew- which were very fun once I actually learned- and then we’d play one that I knew- like Duck Duck Goose or Red Rover.
We were all having so much fun and had fallen in love all over again. Those who have been there to this place know what I mean when I say that there is just something special there. The kids are incredible and we really do love them all- I am not just saying that. We most definitely have a different, deeper love for N and M, but all of the other children mean so much to us too.
All too soon the sun was setting and it was time to say goodbye. I hated to leave them after such an amazing day, but it wasn’t too terrible- knowing that we would be back the next morning to love on them all day long! We gave another round of hugs before we got in the van and we reassured them all that we would be back the next day. As we drove off away from the compound, our beautiful M’s smiling face was the last to go out of view.
I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply. I was full and I knew that at that moment, there was no other place that I would have rather been. Randy and I looked at each other and smiled and nodded in a kind of quiet agreement. We had both asked the Lord to make it clear right away about N and M and whether or not the connection was still there. And after that first day, there was no doubt in our minds that not only was the connection there, but that God was already in the process of knitting our family together.