For my younger readers, let me explain that the title of this blog post was taken from a Roberta Flack song of the 70s. It's a song that romanticized the first time a woman laid eyes on the man she loves. It's a song that was popular when I was a small child and although I could sing every word, it held no meaning in my own seven-year-old mind. Even as a young adult, I can not honestly say that seeing my husband for the first time (across a crowded sports bar) was love at first sight. It may have been "lust" at first sight and certainly the physical attraction made my stomach flip-flop but "love at first sight" never existed for me until my children arrived.
In 1994, I was a young special ed. teacher, a newly-married woman and I gave birth to the most perfect little boy I had ever seen. I still recall the doctor holding my son up after an easy labor and I immediately recognized him. We did not know the gender of our first child officially but I knew he would be a boy and I knew his face from day one. I was immediately enamored of this gift that God had given us. Love at first sight.
Just two short years later, an ultra sound revealed that we were to give birth to a daughter. After the miracle of a son, I could not believe my good fortune to have the chance to mother a daughter. On December 26, 1996 I gave birth (with NO anesthesia, thank you) to my amazing little girl. She was a vision of loveliness and I recall seeing a little mole on her cheek and thinking "if they try to switch babies on me, I'll know my baby is the one with this tiny spot". She looked 100% Asian. Instant love.
In 2005, our little family of four traveled across the world to a little area in The Philippines called Silang, Cavite. We entered Chosen Children Village and saw our precious Kyle for the first time. He was sitting at a wooden table with a sippy cup of water. He was waiting for us. I had seen him in pictures and he was cute but in person, he was PERFECT. At almost 4 years old, he was swimming in size 2T clothing and he was still diapered. He held in his hand a photo album I had sent months earlier and he looked from the book to his new family and back to the book again. There was a flicker of recognition and a faint smile. Again, I loved him on the spot. No questions asked.
Just one year later, our lives took a drastic turn as we adopted Lemuel after his two disrupted placements. When we met him for the first time he was 8, highly medicated and in a psyche hospital. Just knowing his history made my heart ache. When I saw him for the first time, I suffered just thinking of all he had been through. With all the confusing emotions pressing against my heart, I know a seed of love was planted on that first day. He was fragile and needed us. That seed would blossom slowly but I knew it was there.
Almost exactly a year ago (March 8, 2010), I sat at my brother's kitchen table with this very computer in front of me waiting for my "skype" to ring. My daughter, Lemuel and my husband had gone to The Philippines without me to bring Ezekiel home. When the tone sounded and I finally saw Ezekiel on the screen, I began to cry and say "my baby, my baby". He was tiny and beautiful. His Down Syndrome only added to his charm and I was, once again, able to honestly say "I love you" to yet another person I had only just met!
I don't know how the first encounter with our newest son will play out. As a young man who is neither a baby nor a delayed child, it will be a story of it's own. His most recent evaluation lists him as being "shy and withdrawn". I am prepared for this love to take time but if God sees fit to plant a tree rather than a seed in us, I will be grateful.
I write this post today for two reasons. First, it's a precious stroll down memory lane for me and as we get closer to meeting another member of our family, I find myself gleaning comfort from all that God has done in the past. I use this blog as a sort of altar of praise and a tribute to a Heavenly Father who always does more than we ask or imagine.
Second, I share my "love at first sight" encounters because my friends are meeting their son for the first time in The Philippines today. They are meeting a little 4 year old boy who was our Ezekiel's crib mate and best friend at Gentle Hands. I prayed for this little boy from the moment I read Ezekiel's paperwork, which made mention of his "best friend who is always with him". I pray that the new parents are falling head over heels right this very moment and that the little boy feels nothing but safety and love in their arms.
My friendship with this new mom is going to a deeper level, no doubt, as we become kindreds through the experience of adoption.
All who are reading please offer up a prayer for the formation of this brand-new family. Our Father hears, He knows, He cares and He is always good!