In 2009, Jerry and I committed to adopting three kids from Uganda. We didn't know anything about anything at that time, and we foolishly funded those adoptions through debt. And we "paid" handsomely over the next few years for this poor choice, but we were always thrilled to have the "package" of those three kids.
What we didn't know, but God knew, is that this package came with a free gift named Fred.
Here is the first photo I took of my son. This was in 2009 on a hot night in Uganda when he was helping Agnes and Ruth wash dishes at the orphanage guest house. (Mackenzie was with me on that trip and is on the right). He was 11 at the time, wearing the yellow shirt.
When I look at this photo, I think of all the times in life that we don't understand what God has planned. The moments we miss...the things we overlook. The people we pass on the street who we need to meet. If only we could see with supernatural eyes.
I did not know on that day that this boy was the biological brother of Agnes and the cousin of Ruth. No one told us, and he never spoke a word to me. He just silently floated in and out of the room like a voiceless ghost. I thought he was a cute, shy boy who was their friend. That night, he slept next to Nathan on a cot on the porch, but when morning came he was gone. Or so I thought.
Three years later when we knew the truth and had found him again, I was handed a cell phone with him on the other end, now sounding very much like a man. The first words he spoke to me that day and in his life were: "When are you coming for me Mum?"
I met him again on February 14th, 2013. Valentines Day...yeah, lots of "free gift" promotions. Here is my handsome Valentine, almost unable to contain his joy that he was getting parents, new siblings, and being reunited with his family.
If you haven't seen the video clip of his arrival home to his long lost sister, eat your heart out...
Fred's Homecoming Moment
Over the last four months, I have been astonished, amazed and completely overwhelmed with the depth to which this boy has enriched our lives. I am struggling to find a way to explain the intelligence, love and giftings contained in this young man. So let me just tell you a few facts to paint the picture.
Since he got to America two months ago:
1. He has read all my old college text books, and most other books in this house. He spent two weeks memorizing the Rand McNaly World Atlas.
2. He has learned to swim all the strokes "except butterfly Mum."
3. He has taught himself to vacuum, run the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, clean my car, mow the lawn, use a cell phone, take online classes, excel at pingpong and basketball, repair a bicycle, flip on a trampoline, rent movies, cultivate a garden.
4. He has tried more foods than I have, and will literally eat anything he encounters. Yesterday he discovered he loves Blue Cheese dressing, and he spent the day experimenting with how it tasted on various foods.
5. He entered high school with only six weeks left in the term, and came home with all A's. (oh, and he skipped a grade but don't tell anybody).
6. He takes care of his younger brother, tells me when it's the day to put out the garbage, reminds me to return my library books on time, protects his sisters.
7. Did I mention he has made lots of new friends already? Nice-looking teen boys are suddenly found hanging out in my garage. (Olivia stumbled out there yesterday morning in her pajamas to discover half our neighborhood and ran back inside in embarrassment...we are not used to having all these big boys around!)
8. He has ridden up to 24 miles (in one day) on the bike trails in town. Oh, and he gets up at 6:00 am to jog too.
I think you are getting the picture. This kid is INCREDIBLE. Everyone has been asking me about his transition. All I keep saying is...it's like he has always been here. But better.
Happy Mother's Day to Me
Finally, the perennial bed I have always wanted.
Here is what JOY looks like...his first day home.
Oh, and he really was "free". When we stepped out in faith to locate and adopt him, we had not one penny to do it with. God provided every cent for this adoption through the generosity of others. Letting other people be part of our journey was one of the lessons we learned. We get it now.
This scripture rings in my head every day: "For my son was lost but now he is found" Luke 15:24
What if we didn't find him? What if we didn't pursue him? What if I never knew him? What if all I had of him was that photo washing dishes?
If you are reading this and you have considered adoption, don't miss out.
Thank you God for helping us find our lost son. I can't get over Your love for me, so full of free gifts.