It is hard to explain the trip, the one I had waited for. In a few words, it was just "A LOT." It was a lot of emotion, a lot of feeling overwhelmed, a lot of frustration, and a lot of heartache.
I do not know how to describe the moment we saw him, the little boy who we had been waiting for. I was not prepared to see how small he was. I was not prepared to see the fear in his eyes. Part of me wanted to look away. It is painful to see someone starving. I did not FEEL love.
My mind raced back to when my daughter was born eleven years ago. I was one of those weird moms that did not FEEL love then either. I was not overwhelmed with affection for her. I knew, though, that she needed me. So, I loved her. I made that choice. It was not that hard, but it was a choice. I knew I wanted to keep her safe. I sang to her and I did the actions of love. And, over time, affection grew.
Love is a choice, NOT a feeling.
Each of my children, except my fourth, came with the same fear and unknowing. And each of them needed the actions of love from which grew affection. By my fourth, I knew what was coming and affection could not be contained. From the moment I saw her, I knew already what it would feel like and the feelings came quickly.
But, each day, when it gets hard and no one listens and I am tired, I choose to love. It becomes a habit, a good habit, and one that happens naturally after you have chosen it enough.
These things are what filled my mind as I looked at a terrified little boy. I was so uncertain that we could meet his needs. It is so difficult to look at a child who is hurting. It is easier to look away, to pretend I do not see. And a small part of me -- a part that I am horribly ashamed of -- wished I had never looked at that blog and seen those eyes. Because then I would not have to make this choice. Life could go on being easy. Not that life is ever easy, but we live a pretty easy, comfortable, and blessed life. BUT I did look, and it was time to make my feet, my actions do the walking that my heart and mind have believed in for so long. The actions that declare each child deserves a home, a family, and to be loved -- this little boy as much as any. And just because it is hard does not mean I should not do it. Because I know that one day I will stand before my God, and on that day I cannot say, "It was too hard or too uncomfortable."
So, we choose love. We choose to do the actions of love. Love is patient and kind and not self seeking. I will hold and sing and protect. I will stay up late and get up in the middle of the night to soothe and comfort. I will take him to appointments and to doctors and care for his needs. It will be hard and exhausting. It is scary. But I know the actions of love will someday turn into affection.
And affection grows.
I choose love, to hold him and put his cheek on mine. We fed him. When he cried about food that they took away or when he was afraid, we wiped his tears. We held him. He wanted to look out the window ALL - THE - TIME. So, we did, and I dreamed dreams for him that he may not even know to dream, whispering about the world that waits for him.
And just days after leaving, we are starting to do the actions. We are starting to fight for him here, to put a plan in place for when this little man gets home to his family. We are preparing our family for what lies ahead because they are excited and thrilled. But, it is going to be hard, and we want them to know their place, that they ALL are part of this family. We are planning to start a schedule, to put things in an order that the kids can count on. We are working on figuring out what medical needs we need to meet immediately and setting up appointments.
We are choosing love.