Friday, November 13, 2015

It Takes A Village

I've long debated how I would write this post.  We've known we would take our kids back to Ethiopia since before their adoptions were final.  It was something that was very important to us from the beginning.  Now that we're in that place and we're doing exactly that what I thought I knew has been completely shattered.  In a good way, a beautiful way, a way I never imagined.

What I learned today was more than the cliche "it takes a village", I saw the village first hand.  Having a village of people that love your children nearly as much as you do is a gift.  People that want whats best for your children but perhaps bring a different perspective to the table, an ability to say things in a way you haven't.  A different gifting that maybe brings out a side in your child you didn't see before.  Today I saw some of my kids' village.  We're blessed that our village spans oceans, it bridges cultures and religions, our village is a complex group of people with one thing in common; a deep love for us and our children.

Today our village grew. You can never really prepare for what it will be like to have your children see their birth family after so many years. The anticipation of that was very real for all of us. There was never a moment that I felt like I didn't want to do this. Never.  Never a time that I was concerned about my place in my kids' lives. I knew God had sovereignly entrusted these kids to David and I, we were simply sharing them with the people who loved them before we even knew them and made a painful choice they felt was their only option to allow me to be their mother and David to be their father.  

The quote below says it best.
A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me. 
- Jody Landers

Today we bridged that gap. Today Silas embraced his biological grandmother, his aunts, and the neighbors that helped during his early years of baby/toddlerhood. Today filled some holes in his story, he heard first hand stories of his life before he came to us.  He heard, felt, and watched the deep love his family has for him.  He watched his two families embrace, his worlds collided, and in one incredible coffee ceremony all was right in his world. Lemonade and egg sandwiches in the mud house where he was born filled his heart to overflowing.  He knew his roots, he knew his family, he could ask questions, he could share pictures, and above all he could just be.  

Sitting in this tiny house with my son and his family was as much a gift to me as it was to him. A unity was formed, bonded by the mutual love of a small boy, and a desire to see him thrive. His village loved him well then, they have continued to love him and are so grateful to see him again.  His village in Ethiopia was comprised of family, friends, and neighbors.  His village in our home is made up of the same.  Today some people from those villages met and I couldn't be more honored and blessed to have these people in my sons life.

Because of our village we have pictures that are priceless.  My kids will be able to look back at their first birth family visit and relive those moments because it was so well documented by someone who loves them well.  Someone who gets what it means to be apart of that village.  Someone who loves well.

 Silas' immediate family.

Part of the village. Family, neighbors, social worker, friends that are really more like family. 

 Without this amazing lady NONE of these photos would be possible. Check out her other work here.  She's blogged about this trip from her perspective as well here.

 It was truly incredible that a whole neighborhood had stories to share about our son.

A Grandmothers love meant a sacrifice of possibly never seeing her grandson again.

 A friend pointed out my shirt in this picture.  I didn't think about it but that's another beauty in the village.  Together we're stronger.  So. Much. Truth.

 I just really have no words.

When you see family resemblance. 

 Pure joy. I really can't even articulate it.

This boy. So brave. Such an open heart. He grew up a whole lot today.

This sweet auntie was 5 when Silas left. She cried and cried. It was an honor to stand with her and tell her to come back each time the emotions were too much and she walked away. To embrace the hard. She did and she did it with beauty and grace. 

At the end of the day the joy in the hard, the beauty in pain, all of its comes together and you just need a good cry.  When I asked what he was feeling the only thing he could eek out was "Mom, I'm just so happy, thank you"

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Everything here is shared with permission from my valiant, brave, precious son Silas. Thank you to our village on both continents, to my amazing older children who helped make this trip possible. To Jessica Oh of whom we owe the gratitude for these pictures.  Thank you for walking into the hard and beautiful with us. PC: Jessica Oh Photography


Merany :) said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen or read. And that's all I can really say about it. Wow.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I sit here sobbing tears of joy for your sweet family. Such an inspiration. And what a gift ❤️❤️❤️

Angela said...

Amazing!!! Love that it made him say it just made him so happy and you cd see he was overcome with emotion!!! Amazing little souls!!!