Our friends just brought home a darling little girl they adopted from Colombia. I saw the photos from the celebratory homecoming at the airport with their family and closest friends and I was moved by what I saw.
Almost three weeks away from home, just shy of a month separated from their older children, and Mom and Dad were almost tackled by their children running into their wide-open arms. Katie held their new baby, Abigail, as her oldest, 7-year-old Elizabeth came running into her arms and they embraced. Nick, on the other side of the stroller was bear hugging both 5-year old David and 4-year-old Jonathan. The smiles, the unrestrained joy on all of their faces, arms and legs wrapped around each other, kisses planted all over their faces, the hugs the children and the parents gave each other, oh, their love could have provided light for the entire city.
This was a family that was separated, but now reunited, plus one little new one. The older three kiddos were thrilled not only to have their mommy and daddy back home, but also to have a new baby sister. Nick and Katie have done an amazing job of preparing their children to welcome Abigail into their family.
I’ve met Abigail and watched the four children interact. Elizabeth is an amazing big sister, holding her and talking to her, playing peekaboo. David and Jonathan, too, smile at her and play with her and Abigail smiles and blows bubbles to prove she’s got the chops to hang with them. Her personality fits in perfectly with this family! They’re all fun and happy people.
This is just the beginning of their journey as a family of six. Raising children isn’t easy, and having four children is a whole new level of challenge, I’ve seen their laundry room. (haha, Katie, totally kidding!! I love you! She keeps her home organized and beautiful.)
And adoption has even more unique challenges. We live in a predominantly white community and little Abigail may have experiences or questions that the other three children will never have. She may feel confusion or ambivalence and it will be her family that walks beside her as she expresses those feelings and seeks answers. They will be there for her, not overprotecting her so that she’s unprepared for life, or trying to be her savior, but doing what they can to provide for her needs and believing in her as her life story unfolds.
Love gives and sacrifices, like Nick and Katie, and their children are watching and learning what love looks like. It’s not only the hugs and kisses. It’s also having deep meaningful conversations and listening to and accepting all the feelings that comes with adoption, celebrating Abigail’s culture and race, and providing a family that none of them would have had otherwise.