Have you ever had something you can’t think about?
Like your child, sitting in an institution. That would be one for us. Our brains gave up, “Nah, I’m done,” and we agreed, too much. Mental separation to function.
As we waited in line at LAX, with our bags, surrounded by Turkish people, it still felt like an insurmountable wall. It still felt like it will never happen.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I told Andrew as we slipped off our shoes. “It’s too hard. The wait…”
“Yeah,” he agreed. We boarded and they passed around no pork meals and played middle eastern music. We slept, boarded another plane.
We drove through the dark African sky in the middle of the night to our hotel, not far. The next day was not a visiting day, we explored the city, rested. I didn’t think about meeting her once, still separated, like a hand from a spot that’s been burned by the stove.
The next day, I woke up at 5am, the alarm was set for 7.
My heart was racing. I wasn’t prepared. It’s the day, I’ve been longing for, sometimes in joy, other times in anguish.
I got up, I knew I still needed sleep, but I couldn’t. I got up and stood by the window, moved back the thin curtain and gazed out at the night sky, flecked in bright stars. I smelled the dust outside, I started thinking about what to do, but not about what was happening. I tried to take a deep breath to quiet my racing heart. We were here…
“You will have two hours with the child.”
“Andrew, should we have brought toys or something?” I asked quickly, the empty space in my head, filling with a child.
“No, probably not…” He joined me in the day. We started getting ready in the dark morning, stillness out our opened window without a screen. My mind still not going to what was happening.
Our driver arrived.
I started crying.
I put on my sunglasses.
He was kind and quiet in a gentle way. I sat in the back seat as the world passed me by out the window. I watched the people along the road as we drove quickly in our car, our kind driver managing the roads well. I feel fine, and numb, and nothing else. I take a deep breath, focusing on what I was seeing out the window.
Beep beep, he honks at a closed metal gate, a man pulls it back and we park in a small cement square outside the building.
I’ve dreamed of this, my palms are warm. Tears come down my face, now I don’t even know the feeling attached, I just feel the tears on my cheeks.
We are greeted by a kind woman inviting us to sit. I try to chill.
“You want to go up?” she asks us.
Andrew and I look at each other, my heart is racing, “Yes…” we say quickly, jumping to our feet.
We walked up the stairs, piles of freshly washed clothes hanging on the banister. Women in head wraps bow to us and smile at us kindly. They are excited, I think. It doesn’t smell sterile, it smells warm, alive.
We walk into a room, filled with small wooden cribs, so many pairs of deep coffee eyes find us, each with pouty lips, the sun streaming in from a window behind, I squint to see, squint to take it all in, we take one step into the room.
I don’t see her. I will know her when I do.
I have looked at her little face so many times, our baby, just a picture, our child. I will know her, I scan the room with my eyes to find her eyes.
Then I hear,
“Arsu! Arsu! It’s your mommy…”
She was behind another little girl in my line of vision, and she is placed on her feet in front of her bed.
She looks into my eyes, shy.
I start to cry, but don’t want her to be worried. So I smiled a wet smile. “Hi sweetheart…”
She smiles back.
I pull out the bear, the one thing, the only thing.
She loves it, feeling the soft fur in her chubby hands. I reach out my hands
“Little one,” I whisper into her cheek, she leans her head on mine.
Her weight in my arms, her small arms around mine, my mind couldn’t move away, because the long wait is now filled with our child, our daughter.
I look at Andrew who is overcome.
He is just overcome with her. We here, in this room, she is here, with us.
When I see his face, it makes me smile. We are happy.
We are here.
But when she sees him, she clings closer to me, we giggle. She’s probably never seen a red head, plus that beard, would scare any kid. Took her about 5 minutes, though, to be a daddy’s girl.
We hold her close, we tell her we love her. She wants to be held, so opens her arms to us, doesn’t want to be put down. She had been waiting for this too, but with what would seem a much better attitude 😉 Oh, this girl will teach us so much.
The only way to describe her is, angelic. Happy, loved, cheerful. Chubby and gentle, full of personality. Wanting to be loved and held more than anything else.
A blessing, a gift, chosen for us, which just baffles us.
To be honest, it’s hard for me to find words to capture the magnitude of this blessing, which is a good thing, I think. She is joy and sunshine, perfectly preserved and well loved in our time apart despite my fretting heart. Each moment of worry of no value. God can do all things, his love reaching and filling where you ask, even oceans apart.
Thank you for following our journey, for touching the sky and our daughter with your prayers. Andrew and I feel so small and undeserving in so many ways for the goodness he has given us in each of our children.
And this girl, I can’t even.
She gets her own mama and papa, forever. But the gift is for us. When I thought I couldn’t wait. When I just couldn’t, here she is, she gazed into my face, seeing all of me, my tears and my joy, my shaking mama heart, eyes alive with the love we have for her, chubby hand on my arm,
You waited for me? in her eyes, on her face.
How could we not…how could I have spent one second in worry and discouragement when she waited, right here, the entire time. Our sweet gift, His perfect plan.
‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.’ Habukkuk 2:3
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it.’
She spent half the time with us asleep in our arms in the baby wrap, her soft cheek squished on us as we fall deeply in love. When she wakes up, she wakes up smiling.
The staff here love her well, they love all the children so well.
“Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house. God makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom.”
That is who God is.
And we really want to say thank you again to each of you for helping us make it this far, your love and support and kindness fueling us more than you may even realize, even some of you we have never met have been brick layers connecting us to our girl.
Ultimate thanks to our God, for hiding seeds in our hearts, all of this is inspired by him entirely– and for leading us every step of the way, and his patience with us, even when we got a little impatient 😉 God, you are so good, we don’t deserve it. Your love for us and your children leaves me speechless. We will live our lives as a thanks to you, as people made new by your love and your guidance, as best we can, with open hands, as you teach us.
Thank you for teaching us how to open our hands even small enough to trust in you long enough to receive the goodness you had planned.
Our world is big, needs are big, and if we let him long enough, he will blow our hearts out of the water with his plan that is more good than we could ever imagine, know this in your heart. God loves you.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3 /20
So anyways, thanks to everyone who ever lived 🙂
For our Penelope River Arsu Brockhaus <3
Aka our Poppy