We’d done it.
We made it.
With four international adoptions in five years, life had been a little rough for our family, but we survived, and we were on the other side of the world standing in a Civil Affair’s office that smelled of old books, bureaucracy, and sour laundry.
“Gotcha” Day was here.
Xiao Dian and Xiao Zhong were about to become Aeren Renae and Trenton Allen. Their short lives spent drinking recycled sewage water and living on the side of a mountain, five hours from the nearest village, in an almost-forgotten orphanage were about to be traded for a family. A home. A community of faith. Friends. Food. Water. Texas and Dr Pepper.
Aeren, who had been left to waste away in a hospital bed with no mental stimulation to speak of after facing death from unsanitary living conditions would get the medical treatment she needed. The cerebral palsy that destroyed any hope for a normal life five minutes before she crossed into the office would instantly morph into a starting point, not a finish line.
Trent, born without a foot and so heart-breakingly ashamed of his “deformity”, would finally be able to wear two shoes. He would be able to run. To play. To be a boy.
My parents fought hard for them. My entire family sacrificed – but not out of a sense of “doing our Christian duty”. We fought because they were US. They were Rutherford’s. They were our brother and sister, daughter and son – we were called to them. But they weren’t the only ones waiting that day.
A young boy who was about 5-years-old had arrived before any of the rest of us. He was sitting at a table, next to a representative from his orphanage, clutching a small photo-album until his knuckles turned white. It was a simple photo album, filled with pictures of his soon-to-be Forever Family. As soon as we entered the room he stared at our faces. He was disappointed we didn’t match any of the faces he had most likely spent countless hours burning into his mind, waiting for the day when they’d arrive and say,
“Hello, son – welcome home”.
But it didn’t damper his excitement for long. Soon he was running to each of us, grabbing our hand and pointing to the one picture that mattered more to him than any of the others.
“Mama!” he shrieked, over and over, “My mama is coming!”
It was one of the only English phrases he knew – but it was all he needed to tell us.
Children like these. . .
Are waiting for us to stop groveling in our despairs, to stop worrying about whether we can afford the latest car, the best higher education, the hottest clothes, to leave our failures and our mistakes behind us and push forward.
To bring them a future, and a hope.