Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting to know our son

Yesterday, it was very hard to leave Samson behind at the Care Center. When I gave birth to each of my daughters, I stayed at least a night in the hospital with them. After we left the hospital, they were each stuck to me because I nursed.

Seeing Samson for the first time, was like the birthing part of the adoption. Even if you haven't given birth, you can imagine how hard it was to leave him soon after meeting him. I could never imagine leaving a new born in the hospital.

We returned to the Care Center this morning and none of the five of us could get enough of Samson. We all fought for his attention. Steve and I kept having to remind the girls that it was most important that he began to bond with us, so it was best they let us have the most contact with him. But, as you can imagine, this was not easy for the girls to stand back and observe.

I would say, we all got equal time with him. In fact, at times, the nannys were confused as to which one of us was his mother. At one time, a nanny picked him up, said "You go to your Emaya" and haded him to Olivia! We still joke today about how he had four mothers travel to pick him up.

On this morning, we brought bubbles and balloons for the toddlers to play with. The kids had a ball. They ran around screaming and chasing bubbles. There was one toddler girl in particular who asked for endless hugs and kisses from our family. She loved the attention she got from the girls and always had the brightest smile on her face. When she kissed our cheeks, it was the longest kiss I have ever received. She was so sweet!

While we were entertaining the kids, the nannys would encourage Yunnie (his name in the Care Center) to go to his Ababa and Emaya (sp?). Samson kept his distance and refused to get too close to us but he was still having fun, running, laughing and popping bubbles - he just wasn't running close to US. When ever he would get close enough for one of us to lean over and talk to him, it was like we caught him off guard and he would run to the other side of the room.

One thing I will never forget is even though he kept his distance from us, there was one time that he showed me he was paying attention and desired to protect us. Each time we visited the Care Center, I brought a yellow canvas purse - I bought the purse special for the trip because it had an over the shoulder strap. I always left my purse on the floor in the far corner of the toddler room while we played with the kids. One day, each time a toddler started making his or her way over to my purse, Samson would run over to them, yank the purse from them and either bring it to me or bring it back to the corner.

I put the purse away after we returned home and just began using it again a couple weeks ago. When Samson saw my yellow purse, he said, "Mommy! This is the purse you had at the Care Center!" This kid is smart!

I remember how I hungered to get closer to my son, to understand his personality better and to count his toes, find his scars and birthmarks and to just discover his little body. He appeared to be healthy, well adjusted and physically able to do most things. But I was eager to learn more about him. For most of my curiosity, I would have to wait 2 more days until his first visit to our guest house and the first diaper change.

But here we were at the Care Center and it was time for the toddlers to go potty. The nannys lined up all the potty chairs in a row, stripped the diaper and pants off each child and sat them on the pottys. It was quite the sight watching as the toddlers sat there - some finished right away and were hauled off to nap time and others took forever to go. Samson was one who took forever but we didn't mind because it meant more time we could spend with him.

As he was sitting on his potty, he continuously kicked his tennis shoes off and put them back on. I got down on my hands and knees and helped him put them on once and that is when I got to see his toes for the first time.

I know this sounds weird, but there was something about getting close to him in this way that it just hit me this is really my son. In just a few short days, we will be boarding a plane to take this child back with our family.

When I met him the day before, I was in shock and a little numb. But at this moment, I was less in shock and now overwhelmed with the idea that this was MY son. We went through a lot on this journey, we came a long ways and soon, God would be making this journey complete. There were times during our wait that I thought we would never get to this point, that we would get discouraged by the long wait and exhausting, endless piles of paper work or something would happen to keep us from our son. One of the neatest things about our journey is that God moved mountains to make it possible for our entire family to travel and experience this together.

But now, I will no longer have to look at a picture of my son and dream of having him home some day. For goodness sake, I was holding MY son's foot in my hand. This was real. I no longer had to dream. God is good!

When we returned to our guest room that night we had to shift gears mentally and prepare for the most difficult part of this journey to come. While our family discussed the next day's events, I was reminded of how much Samson had to lose in order to join our family. This evening, our family put out our best clothes for a day long journey to our childrens' original orphanage south of Addis to meet special people who were a very important part of our childrens' first days, months and years of life.

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