Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three years ago this past Sunday...

I met these little guys. They were sleepy, and sick, and one of them had a gash on his head, but they were oh so sweet. I'll never forget the moment I scooped up my son for the first time, picked him up out of the orphanage crib and held him tight. And I'll always remember how no one could find my other son, because he was hiding on a shelf on the ground.



To this day my boys love hearing the story of the first time we met. They giggle with glee when we talk about how Yosef was hiding on a shelf. They say they want to go back to Ethiopia. Biniam says he wants to go back to help people, and Yosef says he wants to go back "to see some things." (If you ask him what, he'll tell you "beds, and lightbulbs.")




On Sunday evening our family cuddled up on the couch and pulled out the amazing scrapbook a dear friend made us of our trip. We talked about Layla House, and AHOPE, the people we met and the things we saw.



Three years in and Ethiopia seems distant, like another world. My sons have no accents and no memories, just their names and some paperwork that speak to another place and another time, a part of their lives that is lost for now but may not always be. So far there is no overt sadness--that may come in time--just optimism and and a child-like love for a far-off land.



Mostly, though, they are my sons, and I am their mama. Motherhood in this case is profoundly mysterious...Weren't you always my sweet boy? Haven't you always been with us? The answer is, of course, no. First you lived with your birth mom, then you lived in three orphanages, and when you were 16 months old you came to be mine. The life you lived in Ethiopia, while you don't remember it, will always be part of who you are, something treasured in our family. We love you dearly, and while we mourn the losses that come with adoption, we rejoice because Yosef and Biniam, you are our sons.


The past three years have gone quickly. I am so grateful that the Lord called us to Ethiopian adoption, and that He gave us the grace to follow after Him. It was a huge unknown, a leap of faith for two 24-year-olds. Except it really WASN'T--because God, knowing us all too well, pretty much told us we had to do it and there was no question in our minds. A gift, to be sure.

So Sunday we celebrated the fact that three years ago, we stepped into an orphanage compound, in a relatively obscure corner of the world few will ever see, and took two 16-month-old boys into our arms. Told them we would be their mommy and their daddy, and that we'd never let them go. We became a family.


17 comments:

Jeannett Gibson said...

THREE years????!!! Really? Wow. Cannot believe how quickly it has gone by...until I see how much they have grown since that first time we met them. I never get tired of seeing those first pictures with that awesome blue paint!

Paige said...

Every time I read your story I cry tears of joy! Heldt family you guys are the coolest!

Joanie said...

This is such a great story. I'm still crying and looking forward to when you write a book about all your adventures in parenting!

Big hugs to all the Heldts!

Mama Mote said...

I applaud you for keeping their history part of their lives. I would give anything if I could find out anything about my past. My adoptive parents are both gone and anyone who knew anything are probably gone, too. But I thank God for them and that I had THEM for awhile. You have such an adorable family. Wow! Three years and counting.

Penny Malley said...

It's hard to decide who's more blessed- the boys, or you? I call it a tie! Happy anniversary!!

Kristen said...

so beautiful.

joy said...

I think it's so wonderful that you celebrate in such a sweet way the first time you met your boys. That will mean so much to them in years to come. I just called my dad the other day (the 13th) because that is the day he flew home with me. It was funny because he thought we arrived on the 14th and I told him mom always said it was the 13th. We finally figured out it was because of the time difference, Korea is ahead of the states. Anyway, I agree with Penny that you are all blessed and have blessed many others! Hug your sweet kids for us.

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

These pictures are precious. You are an inspiration! Blessings to your sweet family. :-)

Rachel Slagle said...

what a beautiful story.

Jennifer said...

Wow, you were only 24 when you adopted? That's incredible! My husband and I are 27 and 30, newlyweds, and also considering adoption. We'd like to have some homegrown children first before adopting. In what order did your kids arrive?

Shonni said...

What a beautiful way you wrote about this! They sure are precious!!!

Brianna Heldt said...

Jennifer we had Anna when I was 22, then brought the boys home 2 years later when I was 24. I was 23 when we started the process actually. Kevin was 25 by the time we brought the boys home (the US requires that one of you be 25 by the time you travel.) Four months after bringing them home, I got pregnant with Kaitlyn. It's been a busy few years! :)

Angela said...

LOVE hearing your story again...I especially love the pic of you and little guy looking out the plane window! (is it yosef or biniam? i can't tell from the back! i guess biniam...am I right?)

Brianna Heldt said...

heehee, yes angela it is biniam! i love that picture too!

Meagan Brown said...

As usual, you capture this moment in time so beautifully with your pictures and words. Happy family day!

Alicia said...

What a beautiful family! Your kids are so sweet! Hope we get to see you all again soon (*cough* *Rachel* *cough*)

Lisa Leonard said...

absolutely beautiful.

 

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