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.




  1. and im crying. I am so happy for you Megan, and this is beautifully written. can't wait to see more pics. xo

  2. I just love thinking about that day! Pure joy!

  3. ... AANNNNDDDD I'm already crying and it's not even 8 am. Beautifully written Megan. Just beautiful.