Monday, August 16, 2010

3 Years


If you are here to learn more about "Pennies for Pencils", please scroll to the next post or CLICK HERE.

I have debated for a few days about posting today, but in the end the very sentimental side of me that remembers every significant date and every little detail about it won out so here I am. Today is not what we celebrate as family day. That will come around in October. But today is still a really big day for me and at least while he is still young enough to want to celebrate anything and everything, for Tommy, too. I'm sure I have written about this somewhere before, maybe even here so I am probably being repetitive...again.

Three years ago today I hugged Danny good-bye and cried my way through security and while boarding the plane. I had myself convinced that this would not be a long part of our adoption journey, though deep down I knew that I would not be home within the week or so that we hoped for. I couldn't take being away from Tommy any longer so I went to Guatemala knowing that day, unless something drastic happened with our adoption, I would never have to leave him in Guatemala again. As much as I would like to say I was following God to Guatemala that day, I wasn't. I went with my own agenda. My prayer was simple. I wanted to go, pick up our son, spend a few glorious days exploring Antigua while spending precious time with him, take tons of pictures and get out. I had a plan. Central America, even Guatemala, though I had fallen somewhat in love with the country simply because Tommy was born there, was still not at the top of my list of where I wanted to work. I was still sure that a lot of my focus for orphan care in the future would be somewhere in Asia, in China and Cambodia, and while Guatemala was on the list now, I had no intention of ever spending a lot of time there. I wanted to spend this time in Tommy's birth country with him so I could tell him about it one day, so I could show him pictures and eventually we would bring him back for a week long vacation there so he could see it for himself. I tried to tuck my really huge God into my back pocket, just in case I needed Him in an emergency. Because this was going to go the way I wanted it to and I would settle for nothing else.

It's not like I believed life would always go my way. After all, it never really had before. Maybe I thought we deserved some kind of break so surely this time would be easy. He had made it clear so many times before and this time was no different. I was not in control; He was and through my fight to try to make things go my way and my near tantrums when they didn't, He made that very clear.

During my first couple of weeks with Tommy in Guatemala, I viewed everything through the lens of the camera, snapping as many pictures as possible so that his precious baby face could always be remembered and so the pages in a scrapbook could be filled with sights of Guatemala so one day he would be able to see what it looked like. I had near raging fits (silently), cried myself to sleep every night, spent a lot of money on prepaid phone minutes so I could talk to Danny who was in the states and stressed because he never expected us to get "stuck" there. But we were....stuck. It took that for me to finally pay attention. So I stopped looking through the camera at often sad images and started seeing the hearts of people in Guatemala. I did not go on another all out photo shoot until 2 months later, after we heard that we would be going home. This time I cried as I snapped photos that I hoped would be enough to hold me over until the next time I could return to Guatemala.

Three years ago I landed thinking that I would not land in Guatemala again for at least the next 15 years. I had no idea that 3 years later I would be less than a week from returning for my 5th trip in just over a year. I had no idea that I would be preparing to make a trip like this alone and also preparing for Tommy's 2nd trip back (which will come in December) at the age of 3. I had no idea on the day that I arrived in Antigua 3 years ago that in a small village just 20 minutes away there were children and families that I would fall in love with one day. As much I hated leaving Guatemala to return to the U.S. without Tommy at the end of visit trips, I never could have imagined that I would leave the U.S. to return to Guatemala without him. I have to admit that leaving him here to travel to Guatemala is just as hard, if not harder, than leaving him in Guatemala was. I thought I kind of knew that day what our lives would be like, but my imagination could not have been further from what is now our reality. I would not have believed that my views on some big adoption/orphan/poverty issues would change so drastically. A lot can happen in three years and a lot has.

Three years ago when our tiny 5 month old son was placed in my arms, my greatest dream came true. This may not be our Family Day and it isn't even the day that I became mom (because I consider that his birthday even though we had no idea he was being born), but this is the day that I had waited so long for. I never had to give him back. I never had to leave him in Guatemala again. I never had to depend on someone that I didn't even know to care for him again. Because I was his mom and I no longer had to live out that role from 1600 miles away. What a blessing he is to me, to us! He has no idea how he has changed my life. I am so thankful that the Lord allows me to be his mom. It wasn't easy three years ago, when he had no idea who I was and spent days wanting nothing to do with me. And isn't always easy now...what parent would call 3 easy all of the time? But I LOVE being his mom. Most days I forget that we adopted him. I can't clearly remember life before him. It feels like he has been with us forever. His smile still warms my heart and his giggle is still contagious, just as it was when he was a baby. Three years ago tonight I rocked him to sleep while holding an outfit that smelled like his foster mom because he was so scared and uncomfortable that there was no other way to soothe him. Tonight I tucked him into bed, read a story, talked about our day and what tomorrow may help, laughed a little inside at his version of bedtime prayer and then got the usual big hug and kiss and the sweetest "I love you." A lot can change in three years. A lot has.

Life is sweet and God is so good.


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