A year ago today we walked into a very unfamiliar orphanage and looked into the eyes of two little girls who’s faces we had been staring at for what seemed like ages and who we couldn’t wait to wrap our arms around. It’s been a full year…a year of hard fought battles and fits of laughter…a year of what we thought were unnecessary tears, but ultimately they were tears of hurts being healed and memories being mourned. It’s also been a year of sisters learning to be sisters and daughters learning to be daughters. I think it’s safe to assume that is a day we will never forget.
We’ve recently asked them what they remember about that day. Sifa willingly offered that my pants had a lot of pockets and Jen had awesome hair. Yeye simply said she didn’t like me. I remember looking at their feet and holding their hands, they remember our style and my facial hair…go figure. But they also said they were’t scared. WHAT?!? They weren’t scared to leave what they had known as they held our hands and walked out of the gate into a world they did not know. Maybe they surrendered to the thought that this is simply another day in what has been all too normal.
We’re still learning how to be a family of six. Jen has recently accepted a position at one of our awesome high schools, so we are learning how to be a family of six with two working parents and four girls in school. Needless to say, it’s been a crazy adjustment, but we love watching the Spirit gracefully thread himself through every fabric of our lives drawing us closer to Him and each other.
Here are some things we have learned over the past year:
- You can read here what we had learned in the first six months.
- It’s harder than we thought it would be…but so was having twins.
- First grade is hard for a child from the Congo who was in Kindergarten for five months. It’s also hard on her parents…But God is good!
- Yeye LOVES to sing songs that make no sense.
- Sifa is AWESOME at soccer, and when I say awesome, I mean so awesome that I see her potential and I become one of those dads that no one likes…so much so I’ve heard other coaches complain that she’s too rough! My response, “There’s only one way to play in the Congo!” Let’s face it…she’s my only hope for an athlete.
- All four of our girls are hilarious.
- Van rides over 5 minutes are not fun. (Fighting, singing loudly, asking questions, throwing things)
- Sifa & Yeye still remind us the healing process is not over.
Others have traveled this road, but I do believe we all have similar feelings and thoughts. Jen Hatmaker has a great blog that expresses our thoughts exactly: The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later.
It has been a GREAT year, but that doesn’t meant it hasn’t been a difficult year; so we are extremely grateful for the people that God has put in our lives for such a time as this. All of this has been so new but with a touch of familiarity as it defines our relationship with a loving Father who adopts His children into a forever relationship with Him.
Again…thanks for walking with us, hurting with us, crying with us, and serving with us!
Jarred and Jen