This Kid. He lived for 869 days without a mom and dad, without a home.
He was well taken care of in the orphanage, but nothing replaces having a home. Nothing replaces having a place to belong. Nothing replaces having a family.
He's had a family for 43 days. For 43 days, we've tucked him in each night and promised to be there in the morning. For 43 days, we've fed, clothed, and kissed this little bundle of joy. For 43 days, Rhett has experienced a love that he'd never known before- the love of a family.
Before adoption, I never fully realized the transforming power of family. Who knew that with love, a quiet, complaint 30 month old, could start to develop a voice and an opinion. Many times we take for grated the love that we get to share with one another. It's powerful stuff my friends.
Tonight, Rhett fell asleep in my arms. I could probably count on my hands the amount of times he's fallen asleep in someones arms. For 869 days my baby soothed himself to sleep in a crib because that was his only option. No child should have that responsibility. No child should be unaware of what it's like to be soothed to sleep by someone else. But, with our love, and the love of his Heavenly Father, Rhett is learning to rest in our comfort. Tonight, for the first time, he laid on my chest and literally just stared at me with a smile on his face as his eyes opened and closed heavily, fighting sleep. It's amazing what 43 days in a family will do to the soul. As I sat there with this kid I've literally been dreaming about since I was 16, my heart broke for the thousands of babies who may never know what it means to fall asleep in the arms of a mamma. I prayed for the Lord to send more mommies and daddies. These babies need us.
Rhett's Gotcha Day was 43 days ago. We walked into his orphanage, and within 15 minutes, he was ours.
For the first few days, he was quiet and extremely observant. He never cried. Well, except during bath time. The sweet boy had never had a bath before, and it scared him to pieces. But, his brave soul mustered up the courage to start exploring the water, and within three days, bath time was his favorite thing in the world. Courage. This kid has so much courage. He was taken from an environment that he's been in since birth, and within a span of 10 days, traveled by car for over 4 hours, spent countless hours being carried around the city in a Tula, visited shops and restaurants, took his first steps, flew on three airplanes (spanning almost 24 hours of travel), ate new foods, had blood drawn, was immersed in a completely new language, and was even given some baths :) Through it all, he was and continues to be so brave.
Each day he flourishes and grows. In 43 days, this kid has learned to say, "mom," "dada," and "hi." He signs for eat and more. He dances with pure joy. He loves church. He tries new foods. He blows bubbles in the bathtub. He loves his Gigi, Gpa, MyMy, and Papi. He even started eating solid foods.
This kid. He is my hero. Not only is he my son, but he's also my greatest teacher. He teaches me to slow down, to be in the moment, and to enjoy each day that I'm given. He also teaches me about God's fatherly love. If it wasn't for God's continual pursuit of Rhett, he wouldn't be with us today. The same is true for all of us. We all have the ability to have our own Gotcha Day with Christ. He adopts us into his Kingdom and we can flourish like never before as we rest in his arms of grace, love, and forgiveness. We are continually pursued by the King, and he longs for us all to have our Gotcha Day with him. Step out in faith and in courage and receive God's love as Rhett is learning to receive love. You will flourish and find purpose like you've never had before.
*I'll post soon about our trip to Bulgaria and the endless ways that God continually provided through the adoption process!*