I went down the line of babies and boys:
telling Lizzie how special she is, how much I love her, that God has great plans for her.
giving Miah kisses telling him to be a good boy for the aunties and how I love him,giving Joseph, David, William and Winnie kisses leaving Annabelle for last…the most difficult. I held her and cry asking God to help me remember every part of her.
I tell her everything I have told her every day of her precious life: how special she is, to "remember me baby girl", that she is perfectly beautiful and how much Jesus and I will always love her. I tell the aunties to take care of her and love her for me. They promise with serious faces and I can leave because I trust them. Jesus is there and they are loved. And having seen God’s provision and plans for these children come to completion I am confident that His plan for Annabelle is so special. I pray that her forever family will love her and be blessed by her as much as I have these 7 weeks I was with her and I know that God’s plan will answer that prayer.
one of the boys I love and was close to, sitting behind a tree watching me leave with tears running down his face. He knew and felt the pain I was feeling and that connection we had when i saw him there (though I quickly looked away otherwise I would have actually fallen apart) is something I will never forget and i pray he knew how much those tears meant.
Driving away God whispered 2 things to my heart: “I love them more than you.” and “be assured that you have loved them well.” which brought a wave of peace in the midst of the pain. I love these beautiful people, my friends and babies, because God first loved them.
After a few days of constant tears and realization that my time was finished here for now, I began my journey home. It was a very smooth flight (thanks to over-the-counter ambien!) but landing in Detroit was an unexpected struggle. Hitting US soil brought a sinking feeling and another round of tears, realizing that I am actually home…and nobody is with me. We were on continents separated by days of travel.
Since being home I have been blessed but also very fragile. I tear up often when telling stories, still can’t listen to the songs I listened when up at night with Annabelle, and my stomach churns with missing my babies daily. I constantly stare at pictures and it is surreal to know that it is all over and to process all of the things God has changed in my heart, all of the lessons I have learned (which will probably be a totally different blog post), all of the people I have loved. But I cling to the knowledge and promise that God’s love is everywhere. That he is overwhelming those I love with that love and that he has them under his wing, in his care…and I thank him every day for the opportunity to be there.