Two years ago I was in a third world country in an orphanage filled with babies waiting to find their forever homes. Some of them never would.
Ellie was fortunate. We were blessed.
I remember the hour and a half ride to Tokmok. It seemed so surreal. I had a mixture of butterflies and the feeling you get on a roller coaster when your stomach "falls out" of you.
All I wanted to do when I got there was run into her room and grab her up. I had to play nice, though, and give them donations, cakes, sign her out on a log book.
She was sleeping when I went in. I remember thinking, "Is this really her?" She had grown a bit and changed a little in the five months since I had last held her.
I scooped in and picked her up and she opened her eyes and her face lit up with a smile. What a beautiful, radiant smile she had. While I will never know if that was the way she always woke up there or if it was just getting attention or whether it was, as I like to believe in my heart, that she knew her mama had come back, it was a beautiful moment.
And I cried. Big fat, happy tears of joy that it was finally over. Five long years of waiting was finally complete in this one moment. God had kept His promise to me.
Tonight when Ellie came home from the ballpark all covered in dirt and grime I remembered how very blessed we were to have this girl in our lives. After her bath when she was sweet smelling and clad in pjs, she came and climbed up in my lap and we watched the video I made the day we got her. Normally, she would talk all the way through it telling me who everyone was and asking questions. I don't know if she was tired or not, but there wasn't any talking on her part. I narrated the video and told her how very much I loved her and how happy I was on that day. We pointed out the entire process (thank you AGAIN, Jennifer for all your pictures -- they are such a blessing to Ellie and us!) as it happened. She only asked one question, "Who's that?" of a picture of one of her caregivers.
We are all so blessed -- each person in this family is a blessing from God.
And while we celebrate Family/Gotcha' Day on October 24, the day we arrived home and become a family of four, today was a sweet time of rememberance.
Here are a couple of photos I took today of Ellie at the park. She is imitating her brother who was trying to get her attention and make her smile. Turns out we were the ones paying attention to HER and smiling!