Day 7 was a busy day for us. Andrew stayed at the guesthouse to catch up on some much needed sleep, and I went all over town with Akbar and two other boys for their birth certificates and passports. One of the sweetest things that day was seeing Akbar show videos of Charlotte and Brooks to the other boys. He is so proud of his brother and sister and had to show them off!
It took most of the day to get the paperwork done, but our agency made it happen. I’m so glad I went to see everything our case workers go through for each piece of paperwork that is required for this process. Getting all of this done in a developing country with unpredictable internet and practically zero electronic systems is a major feat.
Once we were back at the guesthouse, we decided to go out on our first outing alone to the grocery and to get ice cream. Akbar was so excited about the ice cream that we never imagined it would be his first time trying it. He knew all about it, but apparently had never tasted it before. He asked for pineapple and the waiter said they recommend vanilla for children. Um, sorry! This is his first ice cream and he can have whatever flavor he wants. :)
Akbar patiently waited, carefully holding his cup of ice cream, for us to get back to the house to try his first bite. Can you believe he hated it?! In a world where you’ve never had anything cold and never used ice, I guess it’s just so foreign that it will take time to develop a taste for it. We’re planning lots of Saturday morning Cruze Farm ice cream tastings to make that happen though!
Day 8 was absolutely the hardest day we’ve had. It started with a medical appointment and an eye doctor appointment. He is great with all the doctor stuff, but he had a meltdown in the waiting room at the eye doctor when I wouldn’t let him have my phone. In our full week together, we had yet to see a single frown, a single tear, not even a hint of sadness. But a few minutes after I said no to the phone, I heard a sound that I will never forget.
It was a cry like nothing I’ve ever heard before. And it lasted for about an hour. He cried so long and so hard that he couldn’t even have his eyes examined by the doctor. I cried about the whole time, too. He wouldn’t let us comfort him or hold him, he just leaned against the wall in the waiting room full of people.
After a few minutes, I realized the cry had nothing to do with the phone. It’s like his already broken heart was being ripped in two before we could really start the work of mending it.
Andrew finally broke through the barrier in the van on the way home only for him to start up again in our room at the guesthouse. I have never felt so helpless. As a mother all you want is to hold your child when they are hurting. For another hour and a half, he screamed and cried and isolated. I gave him the space he demanded, but when I couldn’t take it anymore, I finally tried one more time. This time he didn’t refuse. He let me hold him like a baby. We rocked on the side of the bed and cried some more together until he fell asleep in my arms.
As hard as that day was, and as much as I hope it’s the last time he grieves like that, I see now what progress we made that day. He learned that we will respect his space when he needs it, and that we will sit and grieve with him until he is ready to be comforted.
We’re already a few days out from the hardest day, and all is well. It kind of feels like the bottom could fall out at any moment. I imagine we will take a few steps back once we get home and start the work of adjusting to a new family routine, but Akbar is currently all smiles and giggles and silliness.
This adoption thing is no joke. It is hard and it is painful and it is not the way God intended it. It’s an effect of a fallen world, a world that needs Jesus. We don’t expect smiles and giggles and silliness everyday. We also know that we will never be enough to cover the pain that he has experienced. We pray for God to fill in all the empty places that we can’t fill.
Akbar’s story is already one of redemption and life and hope. We’re seeing progress hour by hour, for him and for us. Already the joy outweighs the pain tenfold. Already it’s worth it.