One year ago today a little boy walked into a big room holding a man's hand he had never met before. He was introduced to a group of people he had never met before. These people were all staring at him and snapping pictures. These people looked different, smelled different and sounded different than any he had ever seen. They kissed him, hugged him, stared at him and one of them even kept petting his head. They gave him a bag of goodies, toys, books, cars, and candy. They talked to him for awhile and then took his hand and led him to the door. A nice lady explained something to him in Chinese and he froze and started to cry. He did not want to leave the safety of the building. He literally walked out of one life and into another with only the clothes on his little body.
His new life had begun.
I reached down to pick him up and carry him out to the waiting van. He did not know how to be carried. His legs were straight as a board and his arms hung limp. He cried. He cried all the way back to the hotel and he kept mumbling something over and over again. Our guide told us he was saying "I want to go back."
Our 3 weeks in China were long and hard and filled with all kinds of emotion. Much like this last year has been. We have seen so many firsts: petting a dog, walking in the grass barefoot, going to the beach, riding a bike, swimming, riding in a boat, going to Disney world, eating popsicles, going to a movie, getting a bedtime story accompanied by a kiss goodnight, attending soccer games, baseball games, and basketball games and pre-school and church, experiencing the joy of all the holidays we celebrate including his very own birthday. Xin has learned an incredible amount of things in a year: the English language, all his letters and their sounds, how to count to 100, ride a bike, swim, shoot baskets, do 100 piece puzzles, put together a Lego set all by himself, and the list goes on. We have been tremendously blessed by his good health reports.All of his medical needs are really non-issues now.
But we have had our share of struggles too. We have had really, really bad days where there really wasn't one of us left tearless. I have learned many things about myself and some of them not so good. I have been on my knees and humbled countless times. I have even gotten angry at God, in a selfish spoiled brat kind of way. "God we stepped out in faith and now look at this.....this is hard and I don't want to do it! I can't do it!" I have learned God calls us to hard things. But He is there, in those hard places. 8 months ago when we prayed, Xin made noises or tried to disrupt the prayer. Now he adds things to the prayers and tells us the things he knows about Jesus. He will give kisses and "I love you's" unsolicited now. He will obey...half the time. He is learning to live in a family....still. We are still pulling down 4 years worth of walls built up strong around that little heart. At times my compassion and sorrow for his earlier life brings me to tears and I feel ashamed of the fact that I would expect more from this little guy. On those days when compassion wanes and my patience seems gone, my heart feels heavy. I ache for the peace that once was. But God placed this child in our family and He sustains us and He loves us and He will provide. We will continue to grow and continue to love Xin and help him transition until he has no choice but to see that we are not going away, we are his family and we love him and this IS where he belongs. Isn't that what God does for us? He loves us.......likable or not. He loves us and pursues us until we fall into His outstretched arms saying "ahhhhh this IS where I belong!"
Happy Forever Family Day Xin! We love you and we are glad you are a part of our family and we look to this next year praying that you will feel safe, secure and most of all loved!