I woke up today grumpy. Here's a run down of our night:
3AM: Etienne at our bedside, "Something happened to my blankets." He had undone all of them.
3:40AM: Etienne yelling "Mama, Mama!" I run into his room and he asks "Do you think that a television would fit in my closet?" I kiss him, tuck him in tight, and turn KLOVE a bit louder on his radio.
3:44AM: Loud sniffles. Louder fake cries. I climb into bed with Etienne as he tells me, "I was wondering if there are any bugs in the house." I attempt to snuggle, but with E, that makes him clench his muscles more and get fidgety. So I lie next to him until Ryan's alarm goes off in the next room. Poor us. Darn attachment struggles. When will my boy ever sleep through the night?
After our rough night, we had a big day. Immaculee Ilibagiza (www.immaculee.com)was in Omaha to share her story. If you don't know her, you should. While we were waiting for our referral, my brother-in-law had given me one of her books "Led By Faith," and since than she has become a name at our dinner table. In a nutshell, Immaculee writes of her faith and how God carried her through 91 days of hiding in a bathroom with 7 other women during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. She also has a history with Home of Hope, the orphanage of Etienne and Ezekiel's past. Much of her time and money has gone into the building and maintaining of the HOH.
We found a table in the back of the room and a video telling her story began to play. Zeke was on my mom's lap and E was on mine. Immaculee was standing in the doorway behind us and she made eye contact with Zeke and motioned him to come to her. I carried him to her and she just enveloped him in an embrace. I told her he was from the HOH and she began to cry. (You know I was already shedding tears!) Before I knew it, Blake, Molly and Etienne were hugging her too. She said something to E in kinyarwandan and he held tighter to her neck. As we walked away to sit down, he said "I am still Rwandan forever, right?"
It was a humbling reminder of God's goodness. I had a rough night but I had all my babies under one roof. Together. Etienne and Zeke deserve much more patience and grace than I typically give them. I get caught up in their struggles and I forget how amazing it is that they made it home to our arms. It was a reminder that Etienne's history, whether he was alive or not, is full of violence and grace. The genocide is a piece of his past; so that makes it a part of our family's story too.
It's not great lighting, but Immaculee is singing and dancing a Rwandan prayer and she asked all the children, with a call to Etienne and Zeke specifically, to dance with her.
I promise Etienne is in this picture somewhere.