We had the opportunity to go back to the Halfway House where Isaiah and Laila were when we adopted them.
I was so excited to see the children again and to deliver 2 full bags of gifts!! We had bubbles to blow, coloring pages, soccer balls, quilts to donate, the list goes on! Abby, we delivered your bag of toys and clothes. They were so blessed by all the work you did to bless them!!
I had no idea when I walked in the door what I was about to experience.
We walked into the living room and sitting on the couch was Isaiah's and Laila's Aunt! I was overcome with emotion. I have prayed to meet her. I have thought over the last 2 years about all the questions I would ask. It was an opportunity I never thought I would have.
I immediately burst into tears. So, did she. We embraced and hugged and cried. It was holy. One woman who had to give up her sister's children because she couldn't continue to care for them embracing the woman who was now their mother. I cannot begin to describe that moment.
I could see her pain, and I know the joy that our family has experienced. How do I communicate to her without making that pain cut deeper for her? All of the things that I had pondered over the last 2 years left my mind. I had no idea what to do or say.
We set up the video camera and took the next 45 minutes to talk. I told her all about Isaiah and Laila. I showed her pictures and videos. We laughed and we cried some more. I asked about their mom. She shared their story. She understood some English, but we had the head of the Halfway House to translate for us.
It was a precious time. I learned things about their family that I can share with them some day. I pray that she was encouraged as we shared with her our love for them. She met Cody and Lauren. We told her about Abby and Sam. I told her how Laila loves hugs and kisses and how Isaiah loves to entertain. I told her that Laila loves shoes and Isaiah loves to work. I told her how blessed our family is to have them and how much we love them.
I gave her the photo album I had with me so that she would have those pictures of our family. It was truly a beautiful time. Even the rest of the team who were in the room with us were touched by the experience. I am so grateful to the Lord for orchestrating this time.
There were 3 things that she said the stood out to me:
1. She talked about how much their birth mom loved being with her children.
2. We asked what she would want to say to them. She said she wants them to grow up to be respectful and work hard.
3. We found out that we were at the same hospital visiting the sick on the day that Laila was born(we were in Swaziland). We may have seen her or her mom and not even known it.
We shared with her that Isaiah and Laila love to pray and go to church. We told her that we are teaching them about the Lord and want to raise them to know Him. Rick and I prayed over her.
There are so many more things I could share about this experience. I am still processing it. Most of all, I just feel so thankful to have been able to meet her and talk to her. I believe this video footage, pictures, and info we were able to learn will be a HUGE part of processing for Isaiah and Laila as they get older.
Later in the day, we visited the hospital. It was hard to see the 16-month old baby girl, Andile, that looked like a 4-month old. I will never forget the 9-month old little boy named Freedom. He was very sick and his mom was very young. It was hard to see children who have been abandoned and were not being cared for. We prayed over many children. We spoke words of encouragement and love to their moms. There was a 12-year old boy who had been hit by a car that day. Cody spoke with him. I believe the experience really impacted Cody and Lauren.
Our day ended with dinner at Julie's house. She is the missionary here that leads over Timbali Crafts, the purses that we sell. After an amazing dinner, it was shopping time!! I have some new items to bring back to the U.S. and sell. You are going to love them!!
We are winding down our ministry here. Saturday is a day to focus on the D-team. We are going to have fun and pour into them.