Have you ever been on a blind date?
I never had- until this past weekend.
On Friday we met our friends Ben and Melanie for the first time and let's just say, it was love at first sight. :)
Let me back up.
When our adoption plans did not turn out how we had hoped and we were praying and waiting for God's direction and leading, our hearts kept coming back to one place, one specific group of people: "The Lost Boys". We knew that we knew God had placed these boys deeply in our hearts for a reason. We had no clue, and still aren't certain what His plans are for us and those boys, but honestly, the main reason that drew us to eventually visit Eastern Europe in April, and the main thing that is drawing us to move our family overseas is those boys. So, we contacted the people had been there before. That was quick, because there are only 2 families that have adopted from there: Rob and Julia, who adopted Aaron, and Ben and Melanie who adopted Judd. We contacted those families and I don't even remember all what we said, but it was along the lines of "God has put your son's former home deeply in our hearts...can we be friends?" (I'm sure it was more detailed than that, since I'm a talker, but you get the idea)
Out of that developed very special friendships (after they all figured out we aren't weirdos). We became co-laborers for the Kingdom; united for a group of boys that most people don't even know exist.
Go team go!!!
All along our journey so far Ben and Melanie have been our encouragers extraordinaire. Although we only knew each other over emails and blogs, it was apparent that God was doing something. He was knitting our hearts together in a very special way. When we finally got to Eastern Europe in April Ben and Melanie's emails were like huge spots of sunshine. They prayed, they encouraged. When we thought we weren't going to be able to see The Boys Melanie actually gave us directions to just head to the institution ourselves.
(HA! You go girl!) That is how passionate they are about what God is doing in that place.
Ben and Melanie live only a few hours from us, so we had decided that when we got back to the US we would meet. The long-awaited meeting happened this weekend and it was all we hoped it would be.
Ben joked to Melanie on their way to our town that it was like a "Family Blind Date"- kind of like our own version of EHarmony.com + 7 kids ages 8 and under. Jed texted me Friday afternoon before they arrived and asked if I was excited. My reply "Yep! I hope they're not weird." I was joking...sort of. :)
It was amazing.
When God knits hearts together He goes all out.
They arrived at our house Friday evening and when they pulled up I may have cried a little bit. Then when Judd got out of the car and I saw his sweet face in front of me I know I cried a little bit. We hugged, we laughed, kids ran a muck. It was fabulous. Judd, Ruger and Abraham are as cute as can be. In Addy's words "I love Abraham, his eyes are so shiny!"
We had a great evening together, chatting, laughing, watching the kids jump on the trampoline. Unfortunately the SD card to our camera was stuck in our Wii, so we don't have any pictures of that night.
The next morning we met at a park for the fun to continue. We also got to meet up with a very special family who has a very special connection to all of us. It's a BIG FAT secret that I'll be able to tell you about soon enough. For now let's just say that there are no accidents with God and He is too stinkin' good to us. He loves His kids and He loves the orphan more than we realize.
|The littles playing together, pre-drama :)|
A good time was had by all, minus the little spat between Ruger and Havalah. Typical boy/girl drama that ended with Havalah wanting to talk it out, Ruger responding "I'm done with this nonsense", and Havalah running off to pout. Oh the drama... :) They are so cute.
After the park we said good bye to the very special secret surprise family and headed off to lunch downtown (where my camera died...so no pics of lunch) then home for little rests before resuming the fun.
|Proof that Addy and Ez were there!|
Oh my word, Judd is such a water baby! I think he drank about a gallon of pool water. He would just face plant into the water with his mouth wide open and laugh and laugh. He and Havalah were our fearless ones. I think both of them were convinced they could just jump in and swim on their own and were slightly annoyed at our attempts to keep them safe. Ha!
|Judd jumping to Mommy!!!|
Next up was pizza at our house. I think I loved this time the best. The kids played happily and we got to just sit around the table and chat, encouraging each other, understanding each other. It was sweet. We told Ben and Melanie then, and I'll say it again, their encouragement to us on our journey has meant the world to us. They have seen the children, they have touched them, they have loved on them. Their hearts ache like ours. To hear them say "What can we do? How can we help you?" were the most precious words they could say. Any and all encouragement along this journey has been meaningful and amazing (keep it coming dear friends!!) :), but there is something extra special about it when it comes from ones who have seen and know the huge mountains we are facing. But- more than once Ben and Melanie reminded us that NOTHING is impossible with God. Amen and amen.
|Abraham and his "shiny" eyes|
This weekend brought so much hope to my heart. Hope that God has His big plan in place and it is better than we could ever imagine. He brought us friends who instantly felt like family. I can not wait to see what He wants to do with our relationship in the years to come. Woohooo!! This weekend brought hope in what God is able to do. He is a miracle-worker. When I watched Judd jumping on the trampoline, swimming in the pool, giggling in the kitchen, kissing on his Mommy it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. What a miracle! God has redeemed Judd's life. When I think about where Judd was and where he would still be had he not been rescued it's almost too much. God has taken a boy who was invisible to the world, lost in a village, abandoned by earthly parents and given him abundant life.
|Judd signing "happy". Melt my heart!!|
He is loved.
He is cherished.
He is learning.
He is happy.
He is thriving.
He is Ben and Melanie's sweet baby boy and we got the privilege of celebrating with them.
To God be ALL the glory for the great things HE has done!!!!
Love you Ben and Melanie. Thank you for coming all that way to love on us. You rock!!!!