After dropping our bags at the guest house we headed out to see Lemi. On the way to the orphanage Nicco explained that he had gained permission for us to keep Lemi with us for our entire visit. This was a huge surprise to us because we thought that we would spend the days with him but that in the evenings we would have to leave him. I had noticed that our room at the guest house had an extra twin size bed (thanks to Nicco) but really thought nothing of it until Nicco shared with us the good news of spending the week not having to say goodbye each night to Lemi.
On the way to the orphanage I was very nervous, excited, overwhelmed and full of emotion. I remembered having these same emotions when we were meeting Garrett and Tia for the first time yet this time my emotions caught me off guard. I had met Lemi two years ago as my sons best friend, yet now I was going to meet him as my son. Things had moved so rapidly with this adoption that I really had not had time to process what the first few minutes with him would be.
We pulled up to the large metal gate in front of the orphanage and Nicco blew the car horn. David and I sat in the car as we saw the guard open the small door on the gate. Nicco then explained who we were and then the guard said that he would get him as he turned and closed the door. I quickly said, "David, we have to get out! We can't just be sitting in the car when Lemi comes out." We both jumped out of the car just in time for the door to reopen and there stood our son.
He pointed to David and quickly said, "Dad!" He then started to point to me as he said, "Mom!", but I quickly hugged him and tears started to roll down my face. I am sure that he had been longing for years to say those two words. They both rang in my head.......Dad........Mom! After a hug, I then placed his face in my hands just as I had done with Tia and Garrett and looked into his eyes for just a few seconds. The smile on his face was something that I can't begin to put into words- Pure JOY!
After a few more hugs we got into the car to head off to have some lunch. Much like we had experienced before, Lemi had so many first ahead of him. He had never been to a restaurant, never eaten at a table, never had pizza and the list goes on and on. The look on his face as we walked up the steps to the place where we were going to have lunch was priceless. His eyes were wide and his smile filled his entire face yet he had no idea what to do. He grabbed my hand very tightly and the best I could I explained that we were going to sit down and have lunch. He sat between David and I and didn't take his eyes off of us. The waitress brought us some bread (Dabo- a word I know :) ) and then she wanted our drink orders. We ordered him an orange soda (that is Garrett's favorite) without really knowing what he would want. When the waitress came back and opened the bottle top on his soda you would have thought that she was handing him the world. His enormous grin somehow managed to get bigger. Much like with our other children, we giggled as we watched him experience the fizzy taste of soda for the first time. He ate very little for lunch and only later did we understand and know why.
After lunch we took him out to shop for some clothes. He came to us with a shirt, a pair of pants, a jacket and a pair of shoes. We knew that if he was spending the week with us he would need a few more things and as Nicco explained that we were going to take him shopping he really had no idea what Nicco was talking about. Lemi has obviously never been into a store and so I knew that the afternoon ahead would be fun.
We pulled up in front of a children's shop and went inside while Nicco parked the car. It was a two story shop and we quickly realized that all of the baby and toddler clothing were on the first floor and Lemi's size clothing was on the second. We made our way upstairs and Lemi was in awe as he started to look around. This store was very small in comparison to stores here in America but to Lemi it was huge! Nicco came in and we explained that he could pick out three or four shirts and some pants. He was picking up any size and we finally got him to understand that not everything there would fit him. He picked several shirts and pants in his size and it was time to try them on. Instead of going into the dressing room, because obviously he had no idea what a dressing room was, he just started stripping down right in the middle of the store. David and I both laughed and we along with Nicco explained that he needed to go into another area to try on the clothes.
I am crying as I type this because the look on our sons face when he came out with brand new shirt and a new pair of pants was something that is hard to describe. It is a look that I will never forget- He was so proud, so excited and he was beaming with a smile like I have never seen on a child.
After he picked out his clothes we then explained to him that he could find a pair of shoes to buy. I don't know why but to me being able to provide him with a pair of shoes that fit was a big deal. I know that he has never in his life had a pair of shoes that fit his feet and to think of a boy that is 8 or 9 years old never having shoes just breaks my heart. As we were helping him try on shoes I was reminded of watching our sweet Kaylee put shoes on Garrett's feet for the first time. There is just something special to me about giving our sons shoes for the first time- Maybe that is weird but just like I loved giving Tia her first dress that fit her, it made my heart happy to put new, fitting shoes on my sons feet!