July 11, 2013. A very, very, very long awaited day. A lot of "blood, sweat, and tears" led up to it, five years of blood, sweat, and tears.
When we set out to adopt, we wanted a little girl. When we found her, we fell in love with her brother, too. At least one of them. (We didn't know there was another one.) We came so close to adopting them, so, so close. Then we lost them both.
That's when we met the other brother. He helped me grieve. He gave me back the opportunity to say goodbye. He gave me closure. I loved him, too.
Another family stepped up for the first two. At least I knew they'd be part of a family. At least I knew they'd stay together. Until the split. It broke my heart in two. He let her go because he loved her and wanted the best for her.
She had a new family. He was included as part of another family. The "other brother" became part of ours. I still loved all three of them as if they were mine. I knew I always would. I always will.
"If you had the chance to still adopt my brother, would you do it?" Julian asked me one morning as we sat and talked over breakfast that first summer in Colombia.
"Of course we would, but another family has embraced him now. I just want him to be happy."
I never imagined I would have a chance to live up to my response to Julian that day. I never thought another chance would ever come our way.
I'll never forget July 11, 2013, though sadly, the details of the actual day are quite blurry. I'd been in Colombia for five weeks. David slowly recovered from a pretty serious sickness, and now I myself was falling ill. I waited all morning for my lawyer's phonecall, hoping and praying to finalize the adoption that day. With a heavy heart, so disappointed that he hadn't called, I laid down for short nap. Shortly after I fell asleep, the phone rang.
"Come now!" Our sentencia was ready to be signed.
I jumped out of bed, quickly brushed my hair, grabbed the boys, and ran out the door. We met our lawyer shortly after, waited in a line, climbed the stairs for about five stories, recaught our breath, waited on a bench, and then signed a paper at a counter.
Nothing formal. No courtroom. No ceremony. Nobody dressed up. But with that paper officially signed by all, Juan David officially became our son and took on our last name.
I kept my word to Julian that we'd still adopt his brother if given the chance.
Hardest thing I've ever experienced. But I am grateful for all of it.
(Want the whole story? Hop on over to my book blog, www.unexpectedtearsbook.blogspot.com to read it piece by piece, with pictures. Or wait until it comes out in print next month and is followed by the sequel a few months later).
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.