Today we took custody of James.
The visit began with him peeking in the door to the office of the children’s home and giggling as soon as we spotted him. He told Vo that he was so excited last night he couldn’t sleep! The rest of the visit was comprised of the social worker, home doctor and caretakers filling us in on his medical needs, developmental acuity and physical progress, and all that they know about his family history.
We received more than we expected in the family background department! They were able to clarify the circumstances of his relinquishment, help us understand how future contact with his birth family can be initiated and even allowed us to take photos of photos of his birth mom and birth grandmother. Jason and I have managed to hold in most of our tears of joy and of “ohmygosh-he-is-adorable”, but hearing his story was hard. Praise God for beauty from ashes and for the gift of not having to guess at James’ story. When he asks, we will be able to answer, and that is something we are extremely thankful for.
We brought him a back pack filled with a change of clothing, a coloring book and pencils, some snacks and a few of the existing belongings we had sent over previously. He has never owned anything before. Not a scrap of clothing or a toy. He pulled everything out of the backpack, inspected the items and placed them back in. He kept that backpack on until we left and were eating lunch awhile later. Vo and the other ladies presented a Tuk Tuk key chain (she placed it on his backpack), a Spider-Man pencil set and took pictures with him. We will see them again for a goodbye party next week, but it was still an emotional time.
After a stack of papers was handed over to us, we were able to walk out of the home, hand in hand: a family. Jason looked at me as we trotted down the street and said – with a face of bewilderment meets satisfaction – “he is ours now.”
The rest of the day consisted of a failed trip to the hospital for visa medical paperwork, McDonalds as the first official family meal (judgment is fair on that one!), scoping out the hotel room, playing in the kids room at the hotel (fantastic eye contact, creativity and general goofiness ensued), eating at a fancy restaurant for dinner (it may have felt a lot like watching My Fair Lady), and reading every single book (there are at least 10 of them) before bedtime.
Bedtime was when he let himself grieve the day. We did our best to comfort him and express with body language that “yes, this is all really sad. Crying is fine.” Jason placed a hand on his leg until his sobbing stopped and snoring started. It broke our hearts, and we ask for your prayers for his hurts as they continue and as they heal.
We’re a family now.