Remember back in elementary school when your teacher assigned you to write about the person you most admire? My answer had been for the longest time my brother, Trevor, who went through so much to change his life around and be the amazing brother, son, father and friend that he was.
I have to say, I think my answer has changed. And I think Trevor would completely understand. The people I admire most are my children.
My son's strength completely blows me away. He had never felt the love or embrace of a mother. He was never rocked to sleep by a parent. He's never had a father figure--or any male for that matter--in his life. He was recently taken from everything he ever knew by people who look, smell, talk and act different. He rode in a car and on a train, something he's never had a memory of doing. He's slept in three different beds in less than a week. He's eating foods he's not used to and being asked to eat some of which he doesn't like. (We're learning he can be a picky eater) He's taken to strange places with lots of different people, never knowing why he's there, for how long he will be there, or if he will be left there. Today, his Papa had to leave the car and ride with someone else, leaving him alone with sister and me. He had no idea if he was being abandoned again or not. B's gone through all of this--which is much more than any two-year-old should go through--and yet is so strong. Sure he cries and we've seen a tantrum or two (or three or...) But he's still able to cuddle with Mama and Papa, help console his sister (who he just met!) when she is crying, and just go on functioning like a normal two-year-old who is scared. We are thankful that our son definitely has a strong personality and can show emotions, and hasn't simply shut down as, sadly, many children who live their whole life in an orphanage do. I so admire his strength.
My daughter's joy completely blows me away. The same situations I described above for B can be said for C. Despite all that, not only does she still smile the beautiful smile she has, but her eyes completely light up with life, love and excitement. To have that joy amongst so much uncertainty is unbelievable. I so admire her joy.
Today was difficult, to say the least. Derek is still throwing up. My poor husband drug himself out of bed to make it to the Embassy appointment and sit with and care for his son (while C was glued to me). Despite throwing up twice at the Embassy, he made it through. Afterwards, he was taken to a different hotel, where the other couple who had gotten sick in St. Petersburg gave him some anti-nausea medication. I took our two kids back to our hotel by myself (and our driver who speaks very little English), which was a feat, if I do say so myself! When Derek made it back to the hotel, the kids were amazing and behaved so well. I took the time to run down the street to a market to pick up some food for myself. It was 5:30 p.m. and the first thing I had to eat all day other than half a banana was two pieces of white bread, some kind of meat and cheese. It was DELICIOUS! Or was I just beyond starving?
Friends, please pray that Derek feels better soon. Please pray that neither the kids nor I get whatever he has. Please pray we are all 100% for the long trip home. Please pray I don't lose it! Ha ha ha!