He feels safe tonight snuggled up in his bed because he knows his big brother is sleeping right above him in the top bunk...and his big brother is strong, like a super-hero. And he also knows that his mom and dad, his real mom and dad, are not far away. They can be there in an instant to remind him that all is well in his life. His chest will rhythmically rise and fall all night with no more night terrors haunting him. Perfect love (or at least our best effort at it) is casting out all fear for this little boy. (1 John 4:18)
This beautiful little boy, the same one who didn't know how to receive love, comfort, and affection 8 months ago, held me tight tonight as I kissed him goodnight. This same child that would push me away now feels deep comfort when I press my face firmly against his. This same child that would scream to get out of my arms will now snuggle in my lap for stories and movies. Whereas touching his skin used to cause too much stimulation, today I was able to rub his back as he fell asleep for his nap. And although he used to tell me to, "Shhhh. Quiet!" if I sang for him, now he begs for one more song. It fills up my heart to know that my lullabies now quiet his.
I haven't written much about our adoption lately because, honestly, I think about it less and less. The love that Sammy and I share now is no longer forced or by choice. It feels so normal, so natural, to love him now. 8 months ago, this day felt like a long way away. But tonight, it feels so right.
We received our first photo of Sammy on May 7, 2010. Andy & I were both overwhelmed with emotion and excitement over that picture. We COULD NOT STOP looking at it. But I remember thinking to myself, "Today, this little boy just looks like any other beautiful little Ethiopian boy whose picture we could have pulled off the internet." We didn't know him. But now we do. And he is not just a face on a photograph. He is OUR beautiful little boy.