I woke up with a start because I can't remember checking the crock last night that holds our traditional Sunday fare....wipe your mouth BarBQ....relieved to find it on and cooking.
The house is quiet....as I check on the kids, the soft sounds of sleep from a flurry of activity yesterday claims the last moments of the night.
In the last week we have walked through what normally takes most adoptive families 6 weeks to prepare. Checking documents, sending wires, packing, gathering last minute things, making lists for dad of school things, making countdown chains for the kids to visibly see when their new siblings are returning, planning surprises to keep it fun with dad home (and who also will continue to work from home ---I am married to Superman), appointments, filling Oma in on things to watch for when littles are struggling, and the most important....lingering over little ones who will stay home with dad trying to fill their tanks with mommy time before I leave.
We also celebrated birthdays for 2 of our treasures....that was one of my mama prayers to be here for them to celebrate.
They will wake soon to more flurry.
Today is the day....today is the day where we travel across the world to meet and claim our treasures...ones that have waited for a family for SO long.
We've packed and repacked our bags...gifts for the people who have taken care of them, the children in the orphanage, the officials and of course for our newest treasures.
Packed in those bags amidst clothes, medicines and such are birthday cards, balloons and streamers for Sara. We've discussed over and over what to give her for her upcoming birthday ....we keep re-asking ourselves....how can we top giving her a family? Not that we are extraordinary...no we are as ordinary as you get for a family of 15....lots of noise, shoes on the floor, stepping over toys, dishes in the sink and lots of laundry.
But also...encouragement, fun, love,......a place to call home and a place to belong.
All orphans over 10 have to agree to be adopted...we have prayed over this because some kids are fearful of the unknown, some have heard crazy stories of what happens to them when they get home ....so, to ease my own fears, I asked Ben what he recommended. His response?
"Mom, just be yourself."
Oh, this boy who has been in their shoes ...a month away from losing his chance of family...the one who knew we were coming and thought we had given up on him and was beginning to become hopeless...he melts my heart. He has walked with tears in his eyes all week...he said he is afraid for me. I tell him to be like Joshua because parents who love their kids will literally go across the earth to claim them...or in our case...over the North Pole! (We have a direct flight from Boston to Bejing right over the North Pole)
Last night at family Bible time, Darrell had the kids come and lay hands on Brandon and I....they surrounded us with their little selves all squished together...it was a beautiful thing as they prayed for Sara and Jacob, our safe travels, and for God to go before us.
So many people have told us they are praying for us. A dear friend reminded us that this is so much bigger than our family. God has used so many people to bring these kids into our family. That is not lost on my mamas heart.
The evidence of God in their story and our story colliding is amazing. For that, we give Him the glory!
So...today it is! We board a plane and land in Bejing on Monday night. We will meet our first treasure bright and early Tuesday morning on Gotcha Day for Jacob. That boy with the incredible sweet smile. I am so excited to actually go to his orphanage. It takes quite awhile to finish up the paperwork in his province.
We will leave on Friday with his paperwork in hand and fly to Nanning. We will meet Sara for her Gotcha day on Monday the 13th....yes, of course this makes me nervous being so close to her birthday on the 15th. We will celebrate her birthday there and then take the bullet train to Guangzhou where the US Consulate is for a flurry of medical exams, testing and review of documentation. Hopefully, that will go quickly and we will be home.
I know there will be many tears today when we part....some of the kids have already told me they will cry. My heart will miss them immensely but is excited for the days ahead.
I can't wait to share our story in the coming weeks. So many things to take in and see and savor...two children waiting to become a part of a family....how incredibly amazing is that?
As we say in the Lowman family....
Let the adventure begin!