I love my family dearly! My brother lives in Asia. We get to see him and his family every 2-3 years. They have been in America for the last 9 weeks. We have had them in TN for about 4 weeks of that time. When they are home we squeeze all the quality time in that we can!
They board a plane tomorrow to go back to Asia and this is the first time I am having a VERY hard time letting go. We have left each other many times over the last 12 or so years. The first time was horendous! It never really gets any easier, it's always hard, but something I have always been able to handle in my heart because I knew he and his family are called there. This time, I'm very unsettled in my heart. I love my brother, my sister in law, my nephews and my precious neice (who can handle herself well with all those brothers!) I have tried to pin point why this time is so much harder. One thing is because the kids are getting older, I miss years of their lives. Our kids are getting older also and they all understand now what it means when they say good bye to their cousins. Lots of crying going on in my home tonight!
But this time I think it is harder because we are adopting. I want them here so badly to walk every step with us. I want the support we feel when they are around. Those who are or have adopted know the back lash that can occur. Many say very weird things. Some hurtful, some don't support you, and some just don't understand. With my brother and his family being missionaries, they have been in similar shoes many times. (really most of the time!) They constantly need the prayers and the love and the support. They greatly desire for people to see and feel what they do every day. I know they understand our calling and understand why we are doing this and have just simply loved and supported us through this. It has been so easy to talk about our journey with them. They have NEVER questioned or down played our calling. They listen. And they are so excited and did everything possible they could while here with us, which was more than anyone else has done. To have that love and support that was so easily there helped me breathe a little easier these past few weeks.
So as we say goodbye, again, I'm desparately trying to not pray some very selfish prayers. I would love for God to bring them home. But their calling is in Asia. Mine is here with orphans. This journey never ceases to amaze me. I love being able to see what God uses. I have very much fallen in love with all of those who need families. Everyone deserves unconditional love. Also, with this, he has given me another level of understanding and what I need to do to support others when they are called on their journey. Simply put - I might not get it, but I can support it and love them through it. My brother and my sister in law AND their kids have shown me that. I know they get it - the adoption thing, but they have shown me what simple love and support can do for someone who KNOWS they are doing what they are called to do and just needs to know there is somone who is walking beside them and provides that love and support. Period.
So as I cry myself to death over the next 24 hours, here are a few pics of all the cousins. Next time we will have a few more! How fun is that think about?!
We played ALOT!! Celebrated birthdays, played soccer, cooked out, took some field trips, biked, picniced, football games, Titans game, played in the creek, ate Ethipian, and LOTS of swimming and hot tub time!