Our Christmas celebration was exceptionally special this year for obvious reasons. We were so thankful to have Pamela and Innocent home to celebrate our first Christmas as a family of eight. I have no doubt that it was the prayers of the saints that brought them home. I am extremely thankful for the prayers and the emails letting me know that you were praying. Pamela is just starting to read through them and could not believe how many people wrote. It has been extremely meaningful!
Pamela was gone for 35 days, 11 hrs, and 24 minutes.
The last week in Uganda was grueling for her as she battled to get a Ugandan passport and a US visa for Innocent.
We had to buy new plane tickets when she could not keep her travel arrangements with British Air.
She spent 108 hrs getting from Uganda to Knoxville.
She was on one airplane for 25 hrs without getting off.
She was stuck in a snowstorm in New Jersey for two days.
And without a doubt, it was all worth it!
This temporary struggle for our family will change a life forever. Adoption is really an amazing thing and gives us a great picture of the Father’s love for us.
I think Pamela and I were both so tired for Christmas that it was difficult to have outward excitement to match the inner joy. She was still struggling with jet lag and I was still dealing with Mom-has-been-gone-for-5 weeks lag. I was emotionally prepared for her to be home on Dec 11th and as it lingered on (and on), I began to wear down physically and emotionally. The last few days of trying to get Pamela home were the toughest. She was already tired and the last week there was very demanding physically and emotionally exhausting. Once she was here, we kept looking at each other wondering if it was real. It just had seemed as though the journey home would never end.
All the boys were more excited to go to the airport than they were on Christmas Eve before opening presents. Collin was so excited to greet Pamela at the airport and was the first to hug her. They worked really hard while she was gone, and we had the household in good order for her arrival. We had been working diligently in the yard removing trees, trimming shrubs and raking leaves. The house was clean, and they had all played a part. We had purchased and put up Christmas decorations, including the tree. Each boy had purchased Pamela a Christmas present with his own money. I was able to replace her pearl necklace after the one that I gave her for our 10th anniversary was stolen while we served in Uganda. I believe she felt very loved and appreciated.
We have had time with all of our family over Christmas. We have had somewhere to go or people at our house everyday since their arrival. We will have to wait to rest, but are thankful for these special celebrations with family.
Everyone is doing great at home. Kai has been so sweet with Innocent and has been sharing his room, toys, and Mommy very well. They are almost identical in size, though Innocent is 11 months older. Innocent seems to be fitting in so quickly. He sleeps and eats well and acts like he has been here a long time. He is still a little timid, but it diminishes more each day. Communication is going fine, too. He understands English pretty well but does not speak fluently yet. He is obviously a bright boy and we expect that he will be speaking fluently in just a few months.
Innocent is into EVERYTHING. Pushing buttons, opening doors and drawers, flipping lights on and off, getting out every toy in the house, turning on the television, spilling juice, and activating the emergency alarm that calls the police and fire department. He is very curious and exploring his world. He is so different from Kai. Innocent is much more demanding with his messes but less demanding emotionally. We have to keep an eye on him pretty much all the time, which I wasn’t really expecting since he is four and a half years old. He obeys fairly well so it should get better soon.
I cannot imagine what Christmas would have been like if they had not been able to come home.
All of the seats at our kitchen table are occupied. The once empty bed in Kai’s room is no longer empty. Our 8-passenger Yukon is filled to capacity. Our hearts are full and our home is blessed.
It has been a very special Christmas to close out a very challenging 2009.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Kevin for the Tribe
I have posted pictures on previous blogs, too, so look through recent posts to see them all.