The day they met Papa, which amazingly, was July 4th Independence Day!
Yesterday, praise GOD, our VISAS were approved!!! The Embassy told us we could pick them up today!! So, this afternoon my husband will go and pick them up! The rest of us get to stay home!! Even better!! Our young 4 sat in a waiting area for 2.5 hours in complete boredom waiting so they could be interviewed. Here was the interview:
Embassy Man: "Do you want to go to the United States?"
Kids: Nodding head "yes".
Four more days and we go HOME!! Home sweet home!!
Yesterday my daughter, Rachel (14) said to me, "I feel badly because I know *they* are now going to go through what we went through when we came here." "What we went through", meaning "culture shock."
I nodded in agreement but inside my heart swelled as these declarations of compassion and relating spell one word to me: "BONDING".
Bonding is happening, little by little, hug by hug, struggle by struggle, joy by joy.
Bonding is a process, for all of us. The parents have a little head start as we have done the "deciding" and the "choosing". It's kind of like we were the "pregnant ones" already developing a relationship before the "true meeting." But even for us, it is a process.
We came together:
Not sharing a culture: Parts of our culture rubs against them, parts of theirs rubs against ours. One great example is the American parent catch phrase: "Look at me when I am talking to you!" Their learned cultural tendency is to look away. Then there is the "shutting down emotionally" tendency that I have read many orphaned children share and you suddenly find yourself diving under blankets to have conversations!
Not sharing history: When we have biological children or even adopt babies (I assume for adopting babies) you see the behavior *develop* and I think have more understanding and even more natural compassion. There's a "this is how we got here" knowing that is missing for all of us. Our favorite all around family phrase in English and Spanish? "Thank you God for my crazy family!" Sometimes we all think the others are crazy and it's easier to laugh at it and love each weird member of our 9 piece family!! The little ones will say, "Mama, you're crazy!" And I respond, "Yes, happy crazy!" And they laugh...
Not sharing language: Besides simple communication there is a struggle to have family time. Want to watch a movie? Well, English or Spanish? Want to play a game? Do you KNOW enough Spanish to explain the game and how it is played?
A painful past: Our 4 sweeties have hurts. They've had to live through lots of loss. They need healing and compassion and patience and loads and loads of love and security and all of Jesus (don't we all?). They need time to realize that we really are in this together and it is permanent!
It is work, hard work, but we all WANT it to work so we are working at it! But, it's messy. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something.
At the same time it is beautiful and satisfying and hopeful and worth it...so worth it. I wouldn't have missed it! Sometimes I think it's so hard but most of the time I think, "I was made for this."