For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The moment when the picture of a child you have prayed for becomes a reality is always surreal. Noah was so brave. And so willing to go with us. And so happy. No tears. No goodbyes to those who seemed familiar. He acted as if he had known us for years and he never looked back.
We all watched intently on the drive home wondering what he would do. We were prepared for the seatbelt battle being that he had likely never been in a car much less buckled into a car. We were prepared for car sickness - towels packed, bags ready, and change of clothes on hand. Thankfully, none were needed. We drove well into the wee hours of the morning, he slept on and off, played with a little fan on and off, and drank his beloved water on and off.
I wondered what he could be thinking.
He is only 6.
New country. New language. New smells. New experiences.
We arrived home and he excitedly unpacked his bag showing us all of the items inside. And he checked out his room and a few toys.
We said goodnight, tucked him in and asleep he went.
The next morning we all waited anxiously outside of his room for him to awake.
Thankfully, he was all smiles and ready to take on the day when he awoke.
He played and laughed and ate and immediately began to weasel his way into our hearts.
This was the beginning of his new life.
A life of hope and future.
When we traveled to China last year to adopt Maryn, we met many families who were adopting the children they had hosted the previous summer. This is where the seed was planted inside of me to host a child in our home. We do feel like our family is full. We have a whole hand of kiddos and we are navigating through teenager-hood and toddler-hood 24/7.
But I do struggle with knowing that so many children wait.
Hosting allowed our family to do a "mission" trip of sorts together, in our own home, without traveling and within our financial means.
And mission it was. Our main goal for Noah was to find his forever family and to gain as much knowledge about his medical challenges for potential adoptive families. This child's file was/is just that - a file with many words about a child who is much more precious than words can ever describe.
Fifteen years ago, while attending a Discovery Toys party, I met Connie and her baby girl, Abby. We became fast friends and began a playgroup that included Abby and our son, Colin.
On Colin's first birthday, we moved to Boston, MA.
Not long after, baby Abby and her family moved away to SC - right to the town that I grew up in.
Last summer, as God would orchestrate without us knowing, our family bumped into Connie. We mentioned that we were in the process to adopt our Maryn and would be traveling very soon to bring her home. Connie told me her dreams of adopting from China. Their Abby was adopted domestically as an infant. With Abby and their two bio boys support, they were praying about adopting once again. She felt a strong desire for China adoptions but also the domestic programs as well.
That was that. A conversation. We became FB friends and life went on.
And then came this little guy!
I am pretty sure they were smitten at first sight - that first picture that I posted on FB.
They met and the rest is history.
The host program has changed this little guys life.
He came to us with one list of diagnoses and left with a new list. Medically, he is fragile.
But, more importantly, he left us yesterday to go back to China with HOPE. He has a family who adores him and will go to the ends of the earth to care for him.
Our hearts hurt today that he is gone from our home. Tears have been shed and our home is eerily quiet. I would be lying if I said we have handled this all in stride. Goodbyes are not my thing. At all. Even knowing that he will be home soon, even knowing that he has a family, even knowing he is loved by many....I am struggling today. I miss him. We all do.
Our lives are once again changed by the needs of an innocent child. We are humbled to have been allowed to be a part of his story.