And just like that–three years, many tears, and a million prayers later!– we have a son!
He’s incredible. He’s worth every prayer and every tear, and each long day waited. He’s ours, and he fits our family perfectly.
May was quite a month of chaos, though.
At the end of April, the adoption agency scheduled us to “be approved by the board” on 22 May. We thought this meant the next step in the process was to be approved; leading us to believe that we’d then meet him a month later, and the process would slowly move along. So, we hoped that he might be with us by June or July.
They called us again on 3 May to ask if we could come meet him on the 16th and take him with us on the 17th. We’d then go before the board on the 22nd as they said, but with him. We’d be approved to go back to Mae Sot with him!
So we left just a week after that and caught a few days at a beach near Bangkok, just the two of us.
We visited a water park–the best I’ve ever been to and my birthday gift from Stephen!–and spent a day on the beach. It was nice to have a few days to prepare, and since we’re getting so good at accentuating those positives, I’ve nearly forgotten that I was throwing up for part of that trip!
And then we went to Bangkok. We had a day of chaos, trying to get Stephen’s Apple Watch fixed (at the new Flagship Apple Store in Bangkok, which is a “thing” we do: we visit Flagship Apple Stores when we can), go to the dentist, and see our sweet friend Musana who lives an hour or so away from the city.
On the 16th, we went to meet him! We were told to be at the office at 10am on the 16th to meet him, then 10am on the 17th to just pick him up. We were nervous about Bangkok traffic and unknowns, so we left an hour early and were just nearly pulling into the parking lot at 9:15am, when we got a call. It was our social worker asking where we were. I explained that we were actually nearly there, but we were also very early. Was everything alright? Turns out she thought she told us 9, so we rushed inside, a little bit flustered and nervous to meet this little guy.
We were greeted by her, and she sat down with us in the hallway, showing us photos on her phone of our sweet little boy. At this point we were pretty confused. Wasn’t he in the next room? Why didn’t we just go meet him?
Well, all the things they didn’t say on the phone: He wasn’t at the office, but we’d be going out to the children’s home to meet him and spend the day with him, not just for a few minutes in the office. They also didn’t know we had a car, but were thrilled that we could just drive the social worker out there ourselves! So we got back in the car, and Stephen patiently (and awkwardly) drove us over an hour to the children’s home, with late directions from the staff member, who also mixed up her right and left every time, in Bangkok traffic. All this resulted in us having to back out of a toll lane on a Bangkok highway, and other significant stressors. I’m pretty thankful Stephen is the most relaxed, most patient person I know.
The children’s home was also full of surprises for us. First, it was huge: about 250 children all under age six, cared for by about fifty staff members and five social workers. They are incredibly organized, and incredibly kind. They cared for all the kids so well, and we were just thanking the Lord for them every moment of the day.
They gave us a bag of goodies of his: a bracelet he was wearing when we arrived at the home, his first stuffed animal, his toothbrush because he loves to brush his teeth, and a half-burned candle from his second birthday. They also gave us a photo album that we will treasure forever. I can’t quite capture how incredible it is: pages and pages of photographs from his time in the home, from the day he arrived until the day we did. An incredible gift.
And then we went to meet him. I’ll never forget that.
He’s incredibly adorable, and did quite well warming up to us. They had been showing him a photo album of us we made, and they had taught him that we were mom and dad in both English and Thai. They also showed him a video we’d sent, with Stephen playing two songs on the guitar and me reading a book to him. (We sing those two songs every night before bed and read that book at least twice a day still. He loves them.)
We spent the day playing with him, laughing and running around. He did incredible adjusting. We just relished it.
During his nap time, the social worker sat down with us and told us the names of his primary caregivers and best friends, so we could add names to the photos in the album. She also gave us contact information for many of his friends that were adopted to various countries–Denmark, France, Germany, and Belgium–so we could be in touch with those families if we wanted to in the future.
He was practically famous at the home, mostly for his expressions. He’s incredibly expressive and joyful, and he drew everyone’s attention. And he’s ours!
That day, we left around 5pm as they went for dinner. Stephen and I rushed off to the store to purchase the things we still needed. It was a frantic night of buying a car seat, bedding for him, a bike seat; all the things that will be more challenging to buy in Mae Sot or that we needed immediately, particularly now that we knew his size.
And then we crashed, thrilled for the next day.