By the end of this week we should all be home!!!
As much as visiting the rainforest was absolutely spectacular, home is sounding very good right now. Pray with us in this transitional time!
This picture is one that I will always treasure. It shows a glimpse of this special time in my relationship with my new son. We are getting to know one another and establishing our roles. It is an honor to do so.
But as with all of us, there is always more going on than just the look in the photograph. I would like to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse into this time in ours lives. We are doing well, I think, but doing well does not mean it’s easy. And it certainly does not mean that we are all smiles. But we work for those smiles and they are more and more natural each and every day.
On meeting day, Jefferson didn’t actually speak for the first twenty minutes or so. Understandably, he was shy and although he was interacting, we didn’t hear his voice right away. But, once he started speaking, he pretty much hasn’t stopped since. And more than any other word or phrase used, he has this amazing ability to enter the word “Papa” into everything!
Jefferson follows Brian around pretty much all day long. So if Brian is in the bathroom, Jefferson is waiting outside the door yelling (because why talk when you can yell?) “Papa! Papa! Papa!” no less than twenty times. We are on the fifth floor in our hotel and if Jefferson and Brian have left or are just downstairs, I often hear Jefferson when they start up the stairs. He even calls out to Brian in his sleep. Seriously. His desire to be in Brian’s presence is strong and powerful.
With that, he and I are bonding in our own ways. Every day he comes to me more for help with something or just to play. I’m not even sure how it all started but we are laundry buddies. It’s a very sweet time that is usually just he and I. We practice English as we walk down the stairs, through the lobby and down into the laundry room. You can often hear us saying “I love you” back and forth dozens of times because he loves it and so do I. We also practice his new name, counting, and other simple phrases. It’s really great.
Saturday evening at 8pm we received a note under our hotel door that there would be no water available in the hotel the following day from 8am-5pm. We weren’t expecting this, obviously, but knew we needed a plan right away. Our days are long, even the really good ones and we believed that a day without use of water would be even longer. And the whole neighborhood’s water was turned off so we couldn’t just walk next door to use the restroom for example. We had already said goodnight and this is when we usually go through the plans for the following day. So this was definitely going to throw us off.
We decided to go to Parque Diversiones which is the local amusement park. Lesley Simons, a former student (turned into great friend) is actually here at our same hotel for a week to give the bio kids a bit of a break. Her and I took the younger four to the kids area of the park and Brian and Claudia headed off to the big rides. Jefferson was hesitant to leave his Papa but we explained it was just for a while. We went on some rides and all of the kids did great! There were many funny moments, including Kennedy getting out of her bumper car just before the start because Silas was not buckled right. Yes, Silas went on the bumper cars. It was hilarious!
So things were going well...and then Jefferson happened to see Brian and Claudia walking in the distance in a totally different part of the park. I’m telling you, this boy loves his Papa! Needless to say he started yelling and then screaming his name. Which of course turned into a full-on fight against me. He instantly was over a fence and doing everything he could to get to Papa. Everything I did or said was responded to with “No!”. To be honest I am not even really sure how long it took or what I did that convinced him to come with me. This was not an isolated incident so they are kind of all running together.
However long later, we are back to the rides and Jefferson wanted to go on a spinning ride. No one else wanted to because, well, no one else likes spinning rides. I told him I would go with him even though I cannot stand spinning rides. Or really any rides for that matter. I used to love them but ever since having babies they make me sick. Even the easy ones.
So we get on the ride and it is quickly understood that Jefferson is the one doing the spinning, not me. Every time I try to help or talk to him about it, I get the standard “No!”. So I pulled my arms back and chose to just watch my boy in his glory. He loved it and he allowed me to do it with him. On his terms, perhaps, but we were together.
Lesley happened to get this great picture of us enjoying it together. Like I mentioned, I will always treasure this photo because it’s a glimpse of this time in our relationship. In our story. Part of our story is the backstory. Water service being turned off. Seeing Papa in the distance. Full on fit in the amusement park. Going on a spinning ride with my new son.
Please know there is not an ounce of complaint in this post. Or a bit of thinking we are doing it all right. We simply wanted to take an opportunity to share with you in a real way. Much of their stories we will keep private because it is theirs to tell but we felt as though this was okay to share.
We would like to introduce our Forever Family to you!
Today is a beautiful day! Today is our Gotcha Day! Celebrate with us!
(Can you tell that Silas does not like getting his picture taken?)
It’s been radio silence on our end for a while. We hope that you understand that our focus has needed to be on the many details of this process and on spending time with our changing family.
The obvious question is “how’s it going?” Well, that answer changes day by day and hour by hour of course, but overall, things are going really well. Have we had some significant challenges? Definitely! These are kids from a difficult past and the issues are complex and substantial. But our expectation is and was that these challenges would be there. We are choosing to count the wins instead of the challenges, and at this point, we feel we are making progress. We are learning to communicate better, we are building trust, and we are finding our rhythms.
Those who are at home helping out in a multitude of ways (with our house, at work, and more) have made it possible to simply focus on what we are doing here. Thank you to all of you – you know who you are!
Please pray for us as the next 24 hours are critical in the process. Pray especially for patience, understanding, and peace for all of us.
Brian and Ann
We are Brian, Ann, Kennedy, Rowyn, and Silas. In 2018 we added Claudia and Jefferson to our family! You can follow along through this blog as we share our hearts and our tales of the process.