Sunday, July 29, 2012

Knoxville or Bust

no boys.  plenty of wine.  minimal hair washing.  late night summer olympic watching.  morning coffee in bed.  great girlfriends.  quick drive out of town.  best weekend i've had in awhile.

happy 30th birthday, fanny.  so glad you're a part of my adventure.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coincidentally (day three)

july 9, 2012
6:28pm freetown time
day three

 we went to a hospital in freetown today.  we started our visit on the malnutrition unit where the twins spent time as 2 month old babies when they were very sick.  i was somewhere in the middle of the pack  when we arrived and decided to veer right and start at the far side of the unit instead of following the rest of the team.  coincidentally the first bed that i came to held twins.  coincidentally a boy and a girl.  they were 8 months old and could not have weighed more than 7 pounds a piece.  their tiny little legs were exactly the width of my pointer finger.  their tiny little cries were exactly loud enough to burrow into my heart.  

their mother, obviously exhausted with worry, sat perched at the end of their bed.  i told her that her children were beautiful, because they were.  i told her that i, too, had twins and that they were once patients on that very same unit in that very same hospital.  i told her that my twins were now thriving, because they are.  i told her that that her babies looked strong, because she needed to hear it.  i asked her if i could pray for her and when she looked at me her face softened and she shook her head 'yes' with tears in her eyes.  she bowed her head, closed her eyes, took my hand, and for the first time in my life i prayed over someone.

auntie melissa was handing out pictures colored by a rowdy little boy on our flight from london to freetown who she distracted with crayons.  coincidentally there was exactly one picture for each patient at the hospital today.  we brought suckers to give away as well in hopes that the 'sweets', as they called them, would bring smiles too.  when we returned to the guesthouse this afternoon 3 children chased our bus up the hill toward the gate, playfully waving at us.  i asked melissa if she had any suckers left and she disappointingly voiced that there was only 1 left in the bundle.  her hand reached into her backpack and coincidentally came back out with 3.

i wish that i could tell you that i have always been 100% sure that adopting was right for me.  i wish i could say that adding 2 more children for a total of 4 in our adoptive family was an easy decision for josh and i to make.  i wish that the first question i asked was "is that all? just four??" and not "are you kidding me? how in the hell are we going to do this?"  i wish i could say that last night before i went to bed i said thank you, and not please.  but i didn't.  

i said please and this morning i got to see firsthand just how far the twins have come.  i said please and 2 times today, one for each child added my my family, i was reminded of God's provision.  

you know... coincidentally.

dear god,

thank you.


the mother of the twins and her baby girl

the twin boy

melissa handing out the pictures

kiddos in the hospital

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Best

this week at gung ho heart:
squirmy babies that don't stay in their chairs, josh joins the skype circus, and other tall tales...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Temme Tanky (day two)

July 8th, 2012
11:30pm freetown time
day two

dear america,

gerald and deen both pee'd on me in church this morning.  5 minutes before the double pee mohamed asked me for a bible and mamie, overhearing him, got up, walked across the room and ripped one out of another boy's hands.  she handed it to mohamed saying, "temme tanky" (tell me thank you).  problem solved?  eh.  we'll work on manners another day.  

my biceps are sore from holding both of the babies at all times.  if i'm holding one of them i'm holding both of them.  my hands have molded to the curves of mohamed and mamie's cheeks from constantly touching their sweet faces.  i got to speak to josh on the phone last night.  those 15 minutes will probably cost me $60.  totally worth it.

i've never been more overwhelmed.  i've never been more exhausted.  i've never smelled more like pee.

i've never been happier.


(the stolen bible)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grateful I Will Stay (back from Africa... and day one on the ground)

i'm not as depressed as i thought i'd be.  actually, i'm not really depressed at all.  in what i can only assume is the answer to many prayers i've actually been doing everything but laying in bed and over serving myself with ice cream and wine and crying at all hours of the day as i expected i'd be doing. 

you see, i just got back from meeting the children whose pictures i have been staring at since november of last year.  the children i am in the process of adopting.  my children.

i'm sure i'm still on a bit of an american made high.  i have hot water.  i'm sleeping in my bed.  i can get a hug from my boyfriend and a fountain diet coke whenever i want.  these things are helping.  i miss my kids an unbelievable amount and i'm sure that missing will turn to sadness eventually.  but, right now, i am grateful.  and grateful i will stay.


july 7, 2012
8:40pm freetown time
day one

dear babies,

i just tucked you in for bed.

best sentence ever.  in fact i'm not sure i have the words to follow that sentence.  it was a had-to-be-there kind of thing.  the whole day was.  and today... i was finally there.

this morning i woke up like a kid on christmas.  early alarm?  who cares, i get to see my babies to today.  jet lag?  not here, i get to see my babies today!  the rest of the team i traveled with and i rushed through breakfast at the guest house and promptly started down the hill and around the corner to the center where dozens of voices were lining the street singing our welcome.  as we rounded the corner i squeezed auntie melissa's hand.  we started this journey together and 9 months later we were finally getting to the best part.

we arrived in a 2 minute window of the clouds holding back the rain.  the threat of the downpour to come was threat enough to keep all of the babies inside and just gracious enough to allow the older kids a moment to run out.  it took everything i had not to sprint toward the guesthouse in search of you.  i had waited so long that a few more seconds felt inexcusably unbearable.  my eyes started landing on tiny brown faces whose names i had memorized from countless hours of scanning facebook albums belonging to previous teams.  face by face this whole thing was becoming real.  face by face i could feel my heart tying itself tighter to this place.

i had the honor of being present when your auntie melissa and uncle jeremy met their boys for the first time.  i got to deliver a hug and a kiss to junio that his momma, auntie kelly, had asked me to give him.  i saw your sister, mamie, and marveled over her first tooth lost. i held her hand and we walked into the gates of the center where your brother, mohamed, found me and asked my name.  when i told him it was megan he asked, "megan james?" because he had seen it on the skype list.  it was joyful chaos.  and then... you.

i met you in person in the same order i met you over skype.  gerald, you walked out of a doorway and onto a landing at the exact moment i reached it. you were wearing a yellow and navy striped sweater over a grey hoodie sweatshirt in stifling jungle heat and couldn't have looked happier.  your famous smile stretched even wider as i knelt in front of you and you jumped into my arms.  i scooped you up and we merged back into the river of little brown bodies moving us into the room where the welcome ceremony would take place.  you kept your arms around my neck as i scanned the room for your sister.

sweet geraldine, my eyes landed on your long sleeved, long legged, fleece pajamas first.  you toddled in to the room dead last, affirming your position on doing things in your time and on your own terms.  one of your aunties took your brother out of my arms to give them room to hold you.  and hold you i did.  you nuzzled right in.  head on my shoulder, arms around my neck, legs around my waist, heart beating right on top of mine.  i breathed you in, took note of your weight and the way your hands gripped at my shirt, and began to cry.

i spent the morning in your room.  mohamed and mamie stayed with us the whole time.  it was actually very fitting.  just as you do not yet know that josh will be joining our forever family as your dad, your brother and sister do not know that they will be joining our forever family as well.  the 5 of us, without you knowing so, spent our first day together as a family.

i listened in awe as mohamed flawlessly read me a book that was far more challenging than any 6 year old should be able to read, much less a 6 year old in a third world country.  i squeezed mamie's hand as she clung to it in fear that i would let it go for one belonging to another child.  i swooned over the times that i walked into a room and you, gerald, would drop what you were doing, reach out your arms for me to pick you up, then promptly make me put you down so you could get me a chair.  i felt my heart inflate with hope over every giggle that poured out of your mouth, geraldine, because it meant that a baby who nearly lost her life to malnutrition now lived such a joyful one that she couldn't keep it contained within her.

i held my twins in my lap for dinner and fed them every bite of our first meal together.  i kissed 4 foreheads, whispered 4 'i love yous', and tucked 4 sleepy kiddos in for bed.  i teared up as your aunties prayed bedtime prayers that reached inside of me and made every single bone in my body resonate with gratitude.

tonight i know what it feels like to say 'yes' to something scary and reap the rewards that come with obedience.  tonight i know that God's plans are far, far better than any of my own.  tonight i know what it feels like to be your mom.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Africa Bound

i'm in the chicago airport.
with auntie melissa and uncle jeremy.
on my way to you.
i didn't sleep very well last night.
i was too anxious.
i'm overwhelmed with joy at the thought of being able to hold you, to feel your weight in this world.
i'm worried about leaving you in just 10 short days.  
i'm terrified that i will return disappointed in the world.
i've already looked at the photo albums we made you twice.
your smiles fix everything.
i have never been more excited.

dear babies,
you are loved.  you are safe.  you are wanted.
i cannot wait to see you.

love, mom

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday's Best and 3 Big Reasons

big reasons to love today.

1.  in 3 days i will be in sierra leone holding my babies for the first time!!!!!!!
 (you know how forrest gump says sometimes there just aren't enough rocks?  well i say sometimes there aren't enough exclamation points.)

2.  tuesday's best.  after 6 weeks of no third world internet connection this little man spent the morning showing me his 5 fingers.  presh.

3.  my partner in crime is now my partner in crime on african paper.   everybody, meet josh.  he is, hands down, the best person i know.   he bought a front row seat to the circus that is my life and continues to blow me away with how he will fight tenaciously for a good thing.  want proof?  i found out this week that gerald and geraldine's older brother and sister, mohamed and mamie, were soon going to be without a forever family.  how did he respond?  by filling out paperwork to officially join our forever family and by including mohamed and mamie in the process.  in one week's time my forever family has doubled from 3 to 6.  what a week.  what a man.  what a family.