We are just recovering from the first annual Rwanda Family Reunion, and it is a little sad around here. This Memorial Day weekend (and hopefully every), we were blessed to gather for the weekend with the families of 13 other kiddos from the Home of Hope in Rwanda. It was hectic, exhausting, joyful and surreal.
To the outsider, it may seem similar to the reunion of a classmates or a family; to us there aren't words to describe the connection we share. For me, every other child from the Home of Hope is a piece of my boys' family tree. We have so little facts on our children's beginnings but we can hold on to the common thread that began each of our families.
I also know that there will be a day that Etienne is angry that he is different. I know that at some point, Zeke will want to know more about the scar on his arm. And there isn't a lot that I can do to prepare for those days, but I can keep them close to the other children that will share those feelings and struggles.
When we adopted the boys, I lost a lot of friends. It is just a fact. Our life got messy and I got real. The blessing in this is that although I lost a few old friends, I gained an extended family. That is why this weekend was so special to us. I was able to hug, for the first time, girlfriends from across the country that I have cried and prayed and worried with. Etienne got to wrestle with Moses, his buddy that came home when he did. Zeke got to blow bubbles with at least 6 other children that shared the same cribs in the same room as him. We can't tell E and Zeke what it was like the day they were born. I can't share with E his first word or Zeke's first tooth. So we have this. It isn't the same but maybe just as valuable to their identity.
P.S. The siblings of our Rwandan kids are AMAZING. I can't count the number of times I saw a big brother or sister holding, playing, pushing on a swing, feeding or generally loving on another younger kiddo. The general public probably has a perception that siblings suffer from the dysfunction that comes into a family with adoption. Not so. These siblings were clearly a group of thoughtful, empathetic and patient kids. My heart is full.
The link below is some photos my father-in-law took of the weekend.