Today, July 7th, 2012 marks one year since I waited nervously on the jetway.
One year since 30 of our friends and family members gathered in anticipation.
One year since I had to learn to answer "six" when asked how many children I have.
Our precious Francis has been home ONE YEAR today!
When I remember the early weeks of his homecoming, it is with fondness and maybe a little shudder of gratefulness that we are HERE instead of THERE.
I recall those early weeks where I was his complete link to the USA. Every task I set out to do, no matter how mundane, he wanted to be a part of. From making a bank deposit to getting groceries, Francis was always by my side asking questions. He wanted to know how everything worked here. He was absorbing life in the US at warp speed.
He wanted to know how much everything cost and then would quickly produce his calculator to convert that number to Philippine Pesos . . . and then he would gasp at the sheer expense of everything from a value meal to a pair of shoes.
He took perfect care of all of his belongings and was quick to help around the house with any chore anyone was doing.
And then he started to work for his dad and earn his own money . . . and NEVER spent a dime! He hid it in his room (although I always knew just where) and counted it again and again, converting it to pesos and remarking how shocked his friends back home would be at his "stash". We stayed up late watching action movies together after everyone else went to bed. I watched a lot of shooting and explosions...I was happy to.
He facebooked The Philippines for hours each day. He ached for those friends and caregivers in a way that was so hard to watch and, although a necessary part of starting a new life, something I wanted to ease and could not.
But time went on.
He began to say "no thanks" when I offered to take him with me to the store or the post office. He began to spend a little money on going to the movies with siblings. He joined his basketball team and found confidence in his English speaking and social skills. He started to get invited over to friend's houses.
He made a lot of baskets at his games and won the respect of the other players.
His comfort level in every situation multiplied and you could visibly see him being grafted into this life and this family.
And it's been a pleasure to watch and a gift.
He is ours and we are his. A little more each day. Just when I think we've reached total immersion, we get closer. The good and the bad experiences are the glue. We welcome both. But the good outnumber the bad at least 100 to 1.
God has done us a great kindness in making Francis our son.
Right on time.
Happy ONE YEAR HOME, precious boy . . . you are a jewel in our crown.