As we arrived at Faith Children's Home late in the afternoon Nicco parked the car as David and I walked up to the large metal gate. I had such mixed emtions- For almost a year I had held photos, dreamed about and fallen in love with these two precious children that I would soon hold in my arms. I felt that I knew them well inside and out yet I really didn't know them at all.
As we knocked a lady answered the front gate and allowed us in. We quickly walked up the front stairs of the house into an office area where we were told to have a seat. I was clinging onto the stuffed bear that we had brought for Tia with one hand and holding onto David with the other hand. My emotions were like none I had ever experienced. Very soon a lady walked up the stairs with our precious son and daughter. Words can't begin to express the joy in this mother's heart- They were just as I had imagined them.
I gave Tia a huge hug and then just held her precious face in my hands- much like I had after I delivered Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay- I wanted to see every tiny detail of her. She was so pretty and her smile was larger than any smile I had ever seen. David was doing the exact same thing with Garrett and after a few minutes we switched. Tears pouring down my face I held my son for the first time. He seemed so unsure and shy but very handsome.
We gave them each their stuffed bears and showed them how to push the hand of the bear to hear our family say, " Mommy, Daddy, Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay love you very much and can't wait for you to come home." They pressed the button over and over again to hear the voices of their siblings who were half way around the world from them and giggled with delight each time they heard their voices. Priceless moments for me to hear my children laugh and giggle for the first time.
I had so much that I wanted to say to Tia and Garrett- I wanted to share how much I love them and how I have waited for what seemed like forever for this moment to be with them. They don't understand English and so no words would be understood by them but I continued to whisper to them how amazing God had made them and how much I loved them as I hugged and kissed them. Tia would run her fingers in my hair and just stare at my face. I think she couldn't believe I was really there in front of her. She would blink her eyes as if she thought she was maybe dreaming. Garrett kept rubbing on David's arms in the same disbelief. We were really all four there together yet it seemed so unreal to all four of us.
As we were spending those first few minutes together Nicco continued to meet with the office staff at Hope to collect any more information that he could. He also started asking Tia and Garrett quesions about their mother and father. Garrett was very helpful and seemed to be answering every question that Nicco would ask which made me more confident and hopeful that we would be able to locate their birth family. His last question for them was if they had to ride a boat from their home to get to the orphanage and Garrett and Tia both said yes. In my heart I was praising God that within a few short hours of being on the ground in Ethiopia so many questions were starting to have answers.
Since it was late in the day we were not allowed to spend much time with our precious kids- We were there with them for only about an hour. This hour radically changed my life forever. Saying goodbye was very hard but we promised that the next day we would be back early to spend the entire day with them.
To hold my son and daughter in my arms was the most amazing gift in the world. To hear them call me mom was simply a moment like no other. As we left from the orphanage I like Tia began to blink my eyes to make sure that I was not dreaming-