Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Elijah Joseph

These past ten days have been full and amazing as we have started the process of getting to know our son. I am so very anxious to get on the plane tomorrow, get home, and show him what life will be like in the Williams family! I am sure my days will be very full and I wanted to take a moment to share him with all of you who have prayed for and supported us on this journey. We are SO very grateful!

We picked him up on Monday, April 7th. They told us that he had missed us very much. I had worried (just a bit!) about how he would receive us since it had been hard for him when we left. My prayer this past 5 months had been that God would be his comfort and he would know that we were coming back as soon as we could. It was so amazing to see that shy smile again! We could tell that he was a little bit anxious but he did SO well as we left the only home he has known for his entire seven years.

It is hard to put into words what we have experienced this past week and a half. He has amazed us beyond what we could have even imagined. He is brave, smart (super smart), funny, adventurous, sensitive, and sweet. What we had been told about his personality was confirmed for us today at our Bulgarian agency. We met with them to get our final paperwork and they marveled at the changes in him. They have visited him in his orphanage several times and they said each time he was very quiet, withdrawn, and shy. They had never heard him speak. Today they saw a smiling, laughing boy who has a lot to say! God's grace is SO evident in Eli! What he has endured in his body and spirit is enough to have given him every reason to completely retreat into himself. God has protected him. Although, by all accounts, he would not engage with other adults he came in contact with at his orphanage, including the workers, he has opened himself up to us. What an amazing honor and privilege to be witnesses to his transformation!

It is hard to get a non-blurry picture since he rarely sits still!! 

He wore this mask on his head all day!

He is SO very smart! He can already count to 10, say the ABC's to K, name eye, ear, nose, mouth, cheek, chin, and ear, and 5 different animals! He can repeat in near perfect English any word we say. He has immensely enjoyed the floor to ceiling mirrors in our apartment and sits at them watching himself talk and play for hours! Our Bulgarian attendant has listened to him talk (he talks, and talks, and talks) and told us that it is not Bulgarian. He is speaking in a language all his own! 

He can be overcome with sadness and when he is it is absolutely heartbreaking! Nighttime is hard for him. If he doesn't happen to fall asleep in the course of watching a movie or on his own....if it is obvious it is bedtime and we are all laying down he breaks down and can sob for hours. He is also very anxious when either Keith or I leave the apartment. He is happy and content when Keith, Hayden, and I are all where we should be....and that is "home"! Otherwise he is happy, engaged, and it is amazing to watch him explore his world. He is doing that with passion! 

First time falling asleep in Mommy's arms. 

Going head to head with Daddy.

I can only imagine that Susanna is looking down with happiness at Eli and is celebrating with us that we are now a family! It is bittersweet.....we wish she was here with us.....but we are so very grateful that God has brought Eli into our lives. Watch out world! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

March 18, 2013

On March 18, 2013 we heard the story of a little girl named Susanna. For six years her crib had been her home. After much prayer we knew that we wanted to bring her home and show her life outside of her crib. 

We also heard the story of her special friend in the crib next to her. She loved him and cared for him through the bars of her crib. We knew that learning to live outside the walls of her crib would be very hard for her but that maybe if he came with her it would make things easier. We didn't want their special connection to be broken. That is how we were introduced to this special little boy.

On May 29, 2013 our hearts were broken when we learned that Susanna had passed away. We wouldn't be able to introduce her to the world outside the walls of her crib. We continued to work to get our son home. We visited him for the first time in November and fell in love with his sweet smile. He was clearly heartbroken and his poor body needs much repair as well. We have spent the last 4 months preparing for this day. The day that Elijah Joseph Williams becomes ours in more than name! Today we get to walk out of the orphanage with him in our arms. 

Without Susanna this day would not have been possible. Without her love for him and families who advocated for her, who shared her story (thank you Lesa and Linny!),  we would never have found our boy and he would likely not have found a family. So today we also remember the story, and the little girl, that we have promised never to forget. We wish more than anything that today she was in our arms. May more cribs be emptied by the telling of her story! This is Susanna's story!