As usual, I am playing catch up updating here on my blog. Now that I am Stateside for a few weeks, I figure I have no more excuses to put it off so here it is, a reflection of the last few months.
I think I have put this off for so long because I did not want to write about this thinking if I would write about it, it will have actually have happened. One of the happiest and hardest moments of my life happened February 28th. My precious little Ruth met her forever family. I got the text that her parents would be in Manila 7 short days before they arrived! I immediately cried tears of joy and heartbreak. It was one of those moments where you don’t really regret praying for something but you almost want to take it back. Since this little 5-pound baby was put in my arms, I prayed for her forever family and now that this prayer was being answered, I just wanted a little more time.
Ruth had lived in our Children’s Home in Malaybalay since she was a week old but because of her passport being processed early, she had to move to Manila two months before her adoption which usually does not happen. Since she was already attached to me, we did not want her to have to go through the trauma of adjusting to the Children’s Home in Manila and then shortly after, adjust to her new forever home. So, I decided it would be best for me to unofficially foster her until her mommy and daddy came. These two months were some of the most exhausting months of my life. Two-year-olds are no joke! But, for every moment of ’oh my goodness I think this creature is sucking out every ounce of energy I have left in my body’ there were many more moments of ‘this child is the most beautiful soul there ever was and I do not know how I am going to ever let go of her.’ But I did.
We met with Ruth’s social workers and parents before they met her to sign paper work and for me to share with them about their child. It was so difficult to know what to tell the parents about their daughter when I had been the one to know every little thing about her from what food she doesn’t like to the made-up word she used for her flip flops. I told them everything I could think of, they signed the papers, and then I went out of the room to bring their daughter to them.
I picked her up for the last time that day as her mother figure and explained that her new mommy and daddy were downstairs waiting to meet her. I walked her downstairs and held her tightly the whole way. We walked into the room and when she saw them for the first time, she joyfully said “Mommy! Daddy!” like she was surprised they were actual people and not just pictures that we said goodnight to every night before bed. It was the cutest and most heartbreaking thing ever. We read books and played with a puppet until she was comfortable to sit in their laps and I slowly created the distance needed to let her go. Let’s just say, I held it together pretty well until this point, slipped out of the room, and sobbed.
Adoption is beautiful and it is hard. Knowing that Ruth was able to healthily attach to me and not develop an attachment disorder like so many children do in her situation, made it all worth it and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
On a much lighter note, things are going great in Manila! I am slowly adjusting to city life and loving my new job as Home Life Manager of 51 kids. We were finally able to close the Children’s Home in Malaybalay and it feels so good to have all my kiddos in one place.
It is summer time now so we have been trying to create activities to keep all our kids busy and out of the house some. We enrolled 21 of our kids in a parent-run basketball program which is like a 2-month tournament every Saturday. I coach one of the 7th/8th grade teams which has been a blast! It is so cool to see our kids stand out as individuals on their teams instead of being a ‘Children’s Home Kid’ which is what they are often referred to at school and in the community they live in. We went to the beach two weeks ago and the kids LOVED IT! Never seen more tired kids than in our bus on the way home from a day of swimming in the ocean.
We also had our first Kindergarten Graduation at Paglaum Learning Center in Malaybalay at the end of March! We had 11 graduates who are ready to enter 1st grade!
It was so fun to see the joy on all our kids’ faces as they received their awards and certificates. I am so proud of each and every one of them and am excited to see what God has planned for their lives.
I am home (Stateside home) until May 18th. I will be speaking at churches, going to a lot of doctors’ appointments, going to a training in Texas, and spending as much time with my family (especially my little nephew) as I can. Thank you to everyone that supports and prays for me, allowing me to do what I love to do in the Philippines.
P.S. Thanks, Candace for the picture of me and Ruth. 🙂