We recently spent a week with Kameron during our bonding trip in the Republic of Congo. If you aren’t familiar with the term, a bonding trip is required in most countries before the adoption is finalized so that you can get to know your child, their home country and their culture all before bringing them home.
This trip was very important to us for many reasons, but a large part was trying to learn as much as we could so we can make her homecoming as easy as possible on her. By getting to know her culture, country, native language, caregivers, and friends, we are able to gather a much bigger picture of who she is. We are now able to understand her more fully. In the future, we will be able to parent her better and make sure her transition into our family goes much smoother because of what we learned on our trip. We learned fun things such as some of her favorite french nursery rhymes and have started listening to them with our girls at home so they will also know them. We have started singing at night with our girls one of the songs that is sung at Mwana before bed so that we can continue it when Kameron is here. We have so many pictures and videos for Kameron to look back on and see what our time with her was like in Pointe-Noire and at Mwana. On the trip, we laid the groundwork for future bonding with her. Her first physical encounter with us will not be us taking her from her home and all the people she loves and has ever known–and this is very important to us.
We went into the bonding trip having little to no expectations on Kameron at all. We have two little ones at home that are practically the same age as her, so we tried to imagine how they would react if they were in Kameron’s situation. Kameron did great. It definitely took some time for her to get used to seeing the crazy people from FaceTime, but I am actually shocked we made as much progress as we did with her over the week.
Kameron is so strong in every sense of the word. She doesn’t miss a beat in a room full of 2-8 year olds running all around while she scoots on the floor. She has an incredible smile and grin that is contagious. She is bubbly, FUN, and so smart. She loves her people fiercely. She lets her desires be known. I miss her singing, her laugh, her voice, her touch.
It has been almost four weeks since I held Kameron in my arms and kissed her face. Just that reality alone makes me have a deep sinking feeling in my stomach and makes me want to cry and/or groan. I’ve had a hard time trying to motivate myself to write something about the trip and to take the time to process all my thoughts and feelings because we long to be with her so much. The truth is it was a lot harder to leave her than I expected. I knew it would be very hard to leave her, but I didn’t ever think she would be crying and reaching for us when we said good-bye. My other two year olds at home just waved and said goodbye when we left for Africa. I assumed Kameron would do the same. Something about the way she wailed and didn’t want to go to her most beloved caretaker just broke me. It’s so unnatural to leave your child in an orphanage (even the very best orphanage in the world—Mwana Villages!) and fly across the world without them. Please join us in praying that she will be home soon. It hurts to know all the life she is living without us. At the same time, we are confident that the Lord’s timing is good and best.
Thank you Lord for this precious daughter! We can’t believe we get to parent her and love her! She is so wonderfully made! You are TOO good to us, Lord! We don’t deserve this gift. All glory to God forever and ever.