The following post was written by our photographer and friend, Amy Denney. It appeared on her blog, "Faith and Family." Be sure to visit her blog and show her some love. We so appreciate her being at the airport with us for one of the most special moments in our lives. We were so blessed by the video at the end of this post as well (be sure to grab your kleenex!)
MY HOMESICKNESS: A FAR CRY FROM LIFE IN AN ORPHANAGE
by Amy Denney
I was pathetically, desperately homesick. Yes, me, the mom who left her preschoolers for 10 days two summers in a row to go on mission trips in Mexico. No phone calls, no internet, no nothin’!
Yet just 18 hours after I had departed on a two-day trip, I was in a fog – unable to operate in this silence. Yes, my kids were bickering and engaging in physical warfare the morning I left – a truly rare “bad” morning among a long string of fantastic ones. But yes, I was absolutely craving this time away. A photography conference, a visit with girlfriends and a large chunk of time to read, meditate and write. I left like God gave me this unplanned trip to Chicago – a gift so that I might be able to listen, be still and figure out how he wants me to move in my soon-to-be vacant jobless days.
My plan wasn’t going as planned. I already just wanted to be home for reasons even I couldn’t comprehend or express in words.
Then I got the news. Nasko wasn’t coming tonight.
My mood sunk lower. I should have been sad for Chance and Ginger, who decided a year ago to make this young Bulgarian boy their own. They hoped he’d be home by October, then Christmas and here it is March. He was finally on his way. But they missed his connecting flight and his arrival would be delayed, once again. My trip would be extended. Because he is the real reason I had come to Chicago.
Chance and Ginger needed someone there to document this moment, their reunion so they could simply live in it. I wanted to do this for them. At least I did want to. Now, well to follow through with my commitment, I would have to stay another night, miss a day at work, rearrange schedules, shuffle lives. Plus, I already just wanted to be at home. To aggravate matters, my left eye had reacted to my contact lens and was as fuzzy as my horrendous perspective on the situation I found myself in. Sadly, I was sad for me. And I couldn’t shake it.
I made the wisest decision just then. I decided not to decide anything. I shared the news with Dan, who was aware of my homesickness, with little commentary and then headed to meet a girlfriend for lunch and shopping.
We had a wonderful time and discussed the joys as well as the hardships of raising our children. As we remarked on the challenges and particularly the struggles of ADHD, I could not help but think of Nasko. He has spent the first five years of his life in an orphanage. His daily living is a series of someone else’s choices. There has been no stable force of love expressed to him day after day.
Then a terrifying thought occurred to me. Could it be that this unexpected and quite severe emotional slump I was in was God opening my eyes? Letting me experience an emotional slice of life of a child who’s lived out every single one of his days in an orphanage? Because for the life of me, I could not explain or defend the mood I was in. Other than to feel guilt and shame for my selfishness.
After some retail therapy and an offer from my friend to crash with her family, I called Dan. There was no hesitation in his voice. I had to stay and take the photos, he said. He didn’t seem to care about the inconvenience that caused for him. In fact, he explained the situation to the project manager where he was working. He’d be late arriving another day because he would have to drop the kids off at school. The response he got: come late, leave early, and by the way, we’re paying you for the whole day. How cool that God’s hand was guiding this end of things for Dan! (Plus, I have to add that I had a mysterious extra pair of underwear in my bag. This, too, had to be a message from God, right?)
My doldrums shifted my entire perspective on this assignment; it wasn’t just a photo shoot or even a favor for a friend. I needed to capture the moment in a way that showed how remarkable this day was for Nasko. Now I just needed this 5-year-old’s cooperation.
Would he truly understand what ‘home’ means or what a ‘mom’ and a ‘dad’ are? These are abstract concepts for him. But he met Chance and Ginger, and he knew he was on his way to live with them. And that they would love him every day like they did those days spent together in Bulgaria.
I trusted that God filled him with an understanding of that.
I met Chance and Ginger. Followed them to the airport. Complained about the horrible, low lighting. The wait – agonizing. The logistics – all wrong.
Chance and Ginger stood patiently for an hour for Nasko – eager to run into their arms – who ultimately came through a different gate. One without Chance and Ginger.
They got a call. Headed in Nasko’s direction. Would this little boy show the world what it looks like when an orphan comes home to live with his forever family?
Why don’t you watch…and tell me. What emotions do you feel when you see them reunited as a family?