Waiting, waiting, waiting; what seemed like forever was in reality probably only thirty minutes. Then we see him, he sees us. He is very studious and will watch you before he decides how he feels about you. It took only a few minutes for him to warm up to us in the hotel room. He looooves to repeat whatever you say (he's a quick learner), and he loves it when you praise his actions. My favorite moment of the night: we were talking about where to go for dinner, Samuel sleepily rubbed his eyes and put out his hands in that universal "pick me up" motion. I was more than happy to oblige.
Without further ado....pictures!
Where are the words? There are few moments in life that are so joyous as adding a child to your family. This one is right there with the others. Samuel is amazing. I hear Martha's beautiful voice singing to him as she rocks him, trying to get him to go to sleep. And even now, with him crying and fighting sleep, I just can't imagine a day that could've gone any better. He is so smart, so funny, and such a joy! His million megawatt smile could melt the coldest of hearts. When he's nervous he gets very quiet and studies everything. I can just hear him thinking "Okay, the Mama is a pushover, but the big dopey looking one might be kinda tough."
Martha is incredible. Since August 2nd, 1997, the day Courtney LeeAnn was born, she has been my hero. So patient and loving. Sitting in the Civil Affairs Office, anticipating the arrival of Samuel and his entourage (nanny and orphanage director) she crackled with nervous energy. She was like a big ball of raw nerves. She cried with every other adoptive family as they met their children and laughed and cried with every smile from the children. Then she cried just because! As we waited, I searched her lovely brown eyes and found the soul of a beautiful, loving and caring person and I fell head over heals with her all over again. Who would've dreamed, 30 years ago, that the Lord Jesus would take us down the paths we've gone so far? And I know the best is yet to come!
Courtney and Cassidy are awesome. They are going to be the greatest big sisters! Before we left our room, in our last moments as a family of 4, we gathered and prayed. Hearing their sweet, earnest prayers filled my heart with equal amounts of pride and humility. Proud of the people they are becoming and humbled by the power of their prayers. No pretense, no groping for just the right words. Just coming to God on simple, honest terms. They both had tears in their eyes at the orphanage. Courtney is such a natural with kids!!! Some day, in about 30 or 40 years, when I let her get married, she is going to be a great mother. Her eyes light up around Samuel and she is so free with a smile for him. Cassidy is a proud big sister. She helped Courtney wrangle Samuel when we stopped at the market after leaving the CAO. Courtney held one hand and Cassidy held the other, and they all three held my heart. She shared her pizza crust with him at dinner, and that's like asking a hungry lioness to share her meal!
It is amazing to believe that after such a long journey we are finally a family of five. The Lord has blessed us beyond belief. When I look at my wife, daughters and son, I wonder how did I ever deserve all of this. God is so gracious.
"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:5