One year ago today I celebrated my son’s birthday with him for the very first time. We were in Congo then, just J and me and about 15 other adoptive families at Sr. Harry’s, a Lebanese owned restaurant overlooking the Congo River. It was a fun celebration. My friends, Andy and Kenzie bought Jecoah a cake and we sang Happy Birthday to my boy.
The evening was a brief respite from the overshadowing dread that accompanied most of my days in Congo. I was lonely and homesick, scared at the not knowing when our nightmare might end. I spoke to Kara earlier in the day and told her that one of my great fears was that she would meet Jesus before my boy was able to come home to know her big love. The thought was utterly devastating to me.
When we finally received Jecoah’s exit letter in July, we jumped on the first plane home without telling anyone we were coming, fearing that it was too good to be true. Our homecoming was perfect in every way.
So many of you “know” our Kara only through her writing – the blog, the books. But those of us who were honored to know her in real life agree that Kara’s most endearing quality may very well be her witty and irreverent sense of humor.
She ran to me at the airport with the biggest smile on her face and just before this picture was taken said, “Look! I didn’t die while you were gone!” I laughed and cried until my sides ached. That was a great, good day.
I’d planned on a BIG celebration today in honor of J’s first birthday stateside. We went to good ol’ Chick Fil A for breakfast and Jecoah stuffed himself with chicken minis before throwing up all over our booth. My best guy got strep throat for his birthday.
There will be no Chuck E Cheese (I can see grace in that, can’t you?), no trampolines, no birthday shopping trip. Instead, there will be a Z-pac, some Motrin, Gatorade, sore throat pops and a whole lot of snuggling with my people.
Thank you, Jesus.