"To our dear friends back home,
Well, here I am in the Philippines! What a beautiful country with so many gracious people. The trip over was, of course, long and even longer due to delays. Arrived at the hotel finally at 3AM. Met my traveling companions, the Martinez family from Louisiana, at breakfast Monday. I am so thankful that it worked out that we are here together. Headed through traffic and road construction across Manila to the Parenting Foundation Headquarters. By lunchtime we were scheduled to meet our new daughters. The ladies at the Foundation (the fostering agency)were so kind and gracious. They planned the meeting in a small private room. I was informed that Jessica was really struggling. The air was thick with heat and humidity, as well as with the anticipation of the moment. Can you imagine? And then they walked through the door with their foster mothers. I almost didn't recognize Jessica with one side of her face swollen from mumps. She had a slight fever, too, poor girl. She walked respectfully up to me and embraced me. We all sat and visited for a few hours together, looking at pictures, and talking. It gave me time to ask as many questions as I could think of. I enjoyed visiting with Jessica's foster mother. She was a very kind woman with, as she said, old-fashioned beliefs in the way she raises children. We were able to let each other know how much we appreciated the respective roles each of us had in Jessica's life. She was sad to say good-bye, but very supportive. That was an answer to our prayers.
I was very glad to have the camera for Jessica. It really surprised and delighted her. She took pictures of everyone and everything. The social workers had planned a delightful farewell program for Jessica and Genuine. Many of the children from the local foster homes had come to participate. There were recitations, songs, prayers, and dances. Jessica performed a beautiful dance. The background music was haunting as it crackled over an old sound system and mingled with the downpour of the torrential rain and thunder outside. The video of it is a priceless treasure for us. So many sweet children waiting for their forever families, loved and cared for temporarily by a very kind group of people. I was relieved to hear that Jessica's wait of 4 years is not the norm. One year is usual to complete the paperwork. It is only when the abandonment issues get caught up in the court system that delays like hers occur.
Between legal appointment, we have played at the pool, to the girls immense delight, shopped at local stores and sampled local cuisine. Jessica seems to be feeling fine, despite the residual swelling on her neck. I think it will be gone by the time we are home. Her fever is gone.
She is a very sweet, bright and respectful child. She reminds me so much of both of my other beautiful daughters. Most definitely a princess of royal blood! What an array of emotions has welled up within me as I watch her humbly accept these tremedous changes in her life. She didn't choose any of this, but I know God has a special plan for her. Our first night together I had just drifted off to a most welcome sleep, when I was awakened by a gentle tapping and a small voice, "Momma, I sleep with you?". Throughout the night I heard her quietly weeping. At one point she wrapped her slender arms around me and said only two words, "Hug me".
Please continue to pray for us. We look forward to arriving home, but there are a lot of miles to go...."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The following is the bulk of an email I received tonight from my dear friend, Nance, who is in the Philippines right now, adopting an eleven year old girl named Jessica. This will be Nance's sixth adopted child and I have every confidence that this will end up to be an incredibly wonderful thing for both mother and daughter. Jessica had been abandoned four years ago and has been living for the last couple of years with a kind foster family, but unfortunately one who did not want to or for some reason was unable to adopt her. She had become very close to her foster mother, but "the system" needed to find her a permanent home, and my friend's is the one. Jessica is understandably grieving right now, as she says good-bye to a loving foster mom and her home land, and prepares to board a plane for a new life, in the faraway unknown. She has a friend, mentioned here as Genuine (Genny, perhaps?) who is being adopted by an American family at the same time, but they live in Louisiana, quite far from our Montana. At least they will be on the same flight home. Home.