Today was Archie's first Thanksgiving. It was an absolutely perfect day and clearly I have so much to be thankful for. I really cannot even believe how blessed I am.
But tonight's post is dedicated to a friend who I am especially thankful for. Mandy. The story of my connection with Mandy goes way back. It all starts with a little boy. One who I happen to love very, very much.
When Joey and I were talking about adopting, and looking at the precious faces on Reece's Rainbow, there was one little face we really fell in love with. I couldn't get him off of my mind for a long time. We prayed for sweet "Isaac" every night.
Then Archie was put in front of us and we knew that he was our son. There was no doubt. We committed to Archie and that was that. But as days went by I felt something was missing, something wasn't right. I couldn't stop thinking about Isaac. On a whim, just out of curiosity, I emailed the director of Reece's Rainbow to find out where Isaac was. First I found out he was in the same country as Archie. No way were they in the same orphanage though.....There are so many orphans, so many orphanages in Bulgaria, the odds were slim to none. No way. WRONG. I found out they were indeed in the same orphanage. They had been together their entire lives. They were buddies. Practically brothers. I was so confused. Was Isaac supposed to be our son as well? I thought for sure that was what all this had meant. A bunch of crazy coincidences? I did not think so.
For a long time, we thought Isaac would be coming home with us. We thought this was a child God had chosen to be our son, and we were not about to leave him behind.
As we got closer to traveling for our first trip, something was wrong. I didn't want to admit it, but I knew that Isaac would not be coming home with us. I was confused, torn, really beside myself. I just knew that it wasn't what was best for our family, or for Isaac.
So we headed to Bulgaria to meet Archie, knowing that we would also meet Isaac, and that we would leave him behind. I really can't explain the emotions I felt when I first laid eyes on him. I held him tight, told him that I loved him very much and that I was so sorry I couldn't bring him home, and that I would do everything I could to find him a family. Ace loved on him quite a bit. Here she is about to give him a big kiss on the cheek.
While we were there, Isaac had his sixth birthday. We celebrated with him. We had cake, sang happy birthday in Bulgarian. They have a tradition at the orphanage where they go around the room and ask everyone what their wish is for the child that year. Of course my heart broke when they got to me, and through lots of tears I said that I wished his family would find him.
I took lots of pictures of him, knowing very well that a good picture for a child's profile on their photolisting can be their lifeline. When we got back from our trip, I sent the best pictures of him to the director of Reece's Rainbow, and she made this one his new picture....
I prayed that someone would see that face and would come for him. I had so much doubt though. He was six, so he was considered an "older boy". Not to mention he was tiny. Less than 20 pounds. It seemed hopeless. I knew firsthand how much he needed a family. He needed to be rescued.
Two days later. Two days after the picture I took in Bulgaria was put on his profile- his mom and dad found him. Mandy and Marty had been committed to adopt another little boy from Bulgaria, and then when they saw this picture- they knew he was also their son.
I think I figured out why this all played out the way it did. I like to think of myself as a bit of a guardian angel for Isaac for those few months. I loved him like he was my own son, so I was checking in on him all the time. I was in close contact with one of his main caretakers, and I was constantly checking in on his progress, making sure he was being well taken care of. I worried about him all the time. Also, if I hadn't fallen in love with him like I had...If I hadn't even known of him before going to the orphanage, I would have never taken all the pictures of him. His picture would not have been changed on Reece's Rainbow, and his mom might have somehow missed him. It all happened just as it was supposed to happen.
Mandy and Marty got to spend their Thanksgiving with him. Their son, who they have named Joseph.
In just a few hours, Mandy and Marty will say goodbye to Joseph and head to a different city, a different orphanage to meet their other son, Samuel. This is the hardest part. Leaving them behind. It is scary. You feel sick to your stomach most of the days in between. It hurts.
Follow along with the Rhodes Family as the journey to bring their precious sons home continues. http://findingourlittleone.blogspot.com/.
Adoption is crazy expensive and the Rhodes could use our support. Check out different ways to make a contribution on their blog. Even just $5. Skip one Starbucks or smoothie. It will go a long way for them!
We love you, sweet Joseph, and cannot wait to see you home with your forever family!
So thankful for Joseph and his awesome mom and dad.
Lots of Love and THANKS!