Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home is where your heart is...

On the way to the airport our last day in Congo we stopped along the way and I snapped as many pictures and videos as I could as I tried to soak in our last day there, the sights, sounds and smells. I tried to drink in the culture, see the people differently, and etch in my memory the home of my children.   The beauty. The tragedy. The hope. The desparation. The strength and the plight of these people. 

I think you can travel to a place and see the sights and way of life there and think... How do people do this? I could never. I can't believe. This is so sad. The conditions. Yes... those thoughts come and go. But then I see the pride some have in their country. The dreams they have for progress. The desire to pull themselves up. The realization that you are alive another day and that is a good thing. This is their life in DRC. The juxtaposition of city and rural, rich and poor, beauty and filth. It all just captivated me as I scanned the skyline of the city and looked back how the river made its way, bringing life and change. I was in awe of this country. Of the people. Of their strength. 
 I don't know how to tell our kids the story of where they are from. God is writing that in my heart and preparing me. I have no idea how I will tell our kids bits and pieces of their story at different ages until at the right time we tell them the full story of redemption.  With all of its twists and turns, despicable things and amazing miracles. Their story is their story and not mine to share. But it is a story of hope and of restoration. And for that I am so honored to carry it for them.

 Maran was unusually quiet that morning. I am not sure if it finally soaked in that something was changing as the suitcases loaded in the car and goodbyes were said. She looked proud at moments as she waved to the workers there telling them Today was the day. Today we get on the plane. She told them goodbye. Goodbye to the workers that would taunt her when she was hungry, that would tell her I would do mean things to her. The people that would laugh at her when she cried. Not all of them, but some. She smiled as she carried her backpack and walked out of that place, but yet she did it with a cautious silence too. In the car she was sullen and looked down. We made a stop and she would not let me take her picture, she wouldnt laugh or smile, she only wanted to be held. It was like she knew something big was coming but had no idea what the future held. Unsure whether to be devastated or happy.

I remember the flurry of emotions and thoughts as we boarded the plane in Kinshasa, leaving DRC after 4 weeks. I remember walking Maran and Levi on the plane (you board outside) and Maran's face as we walked up to this giant foreign object she had never seen. I remember my heart starting to hurt as we neared the plane because we only had a few more steps on the soil of Congo.  I remember her wide eyes as we walked the stairs and stepped inside. I could see the excitement on her face after a hard and confusing day for her. We had packed our suitcases and left all we knew for the last 4 weeks. 28 days before that she had left all she ever knew, crying as she drove away from the orphanage. Now, here we were about to fly away from the home she has known for 4 years. My heart started to ache for their mother as I sat into my seat and thought about what she was doing and if she only knew that her children were leaving their country that very moment.What would she think? Would she be so thankful they were leaving? Sad? Missing them terribly? I have no idea. I felt guilt sweep over me, here I am taking them from their country. God assured my heart, they are not done with Congo and Congo is not done with them. As we taxied to take off, I tried to hold back the tears of all of the emotions I was having. My heart was heavy yet I looked at the excitement of the little girl next to me. Her eyes glistened as she looked out the window shouting "Avion! Avion" as she watched other airplanes go before us. I wish I could explain to her what was happening and share in her joy and in the pain.
We will return to Congo one day. I will be excited to show the kids where there home is. Their country. Their people. But also they have a new home, a new country, and new people. Their lives are a beautiful story that God is writing. I do not know where it will lead, but I am so grateful to be a part of the journey.

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