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Jesus said, "I have come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." (John 10:10)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meeting Samuel and Savanna

It's almost midnight as I type this is the hall outside our room (trying anything I can do to speed up a slow internet connection)...hope to also upload pics and perhaps a video later, but will likely do that while I sleep.

This morning we drove to the orphanage to meet our new children. It's difficult to find words to convey exactly how we felt, but suffice to say it was an amazing day. After arriving at the orphanage, we entered a small room to wait. A few minutes later, our POA walked into the room along with Samuel and Savanna. From that point on, here's a list of experiences we had this day:

1.) When our POA arrived in Samuel's room to pick him and and tell him we were there, he told her "I'm going to hug my Papa." And when he walked into the room, that's exactly what he did...he walked right up to me and gave me a big hug.

2.) Savanna entered the room, walked toward Shelly, and held her arms open for a hug.

3.) A huge role reversal from what was anticipated: In all pictures we were sent, Samuel never smiled once. Savanna had a big smile in one of them. Also, our POA had told us Samuel could be shy, whereas Savanna could be a bit feisty and talkative. Instead, Savanna was very quiet most of the day, simply sitting in one of our laps and watching the activity around her. Samuel, on the other hand, immediately warmed up when we left the meeting room, began smiling, talking and laughing, and showed what a happy kid he is. Just goes to show you that pictures don't give the whole picture, and you never know how kids are going to act when they 1st meet their parents.

4.) Having Silas here was a huge help. The kids warmed up to him almost immediately...he played with them, blew bubbles with them, made them laugh, shared his milkshake, helped keep them out of trouble,...just an amazing "Big Brother" day. It wore him out.

5.) After leaving the orphanage, we went to eat their 1st lunch out. The highlights? The kids scarfed down their food, tasted ketchup for seemingly the 1st time and loved it (dipping fingers over and over in it), enjoyed chocolate shakes and a strawberry freeze, ate meatballs, played with cars on the table...Samuel even walked over to a man at another table and got food from him to eat.

6.) One thing we noticed all day...when we gave the kids something, they tended to clutch it. Example: Both held a toy car we gave them for much of the day. Each carried around a cracker for much of the day (although Samuel did put his on the bathroom floor when it was time to wash his hands...obviously he's hygiene-focused...so proud of him for washing his hands...he enjoyed it so much he washed 4 times after one potty episode and I finally had to pry the soap from his hands). Near the end of the day, Savanna was holding so much stuff she'd accumulated that she had trouble carrying it all. Samuel, after Shelly showed him his suitcase, would periodically pick up cars the rest of the afternoon and put them in a zippered pocket on his suitcase).

7.) The kids have been loved by the nuns and nannies at the orphanage, and by our POA.

8.) Silas' favorite part of the day was playing 1-on-1 dodgeball in our hotel room with Samuel while we waited out an African rain storm.

9.) Samuel was so curious...flushing toilets amazed him, and he opened every item in Shelly's makeup bag that he could get his hands on.

10.) To Shelly's delight, Samuel repeatedly touched her arm and called her "Mama" during lunch and throughout the day.

11.) Lowlight #1: Two poop/pee emergencies simultaneously...Shelly dealing with massive poop with Savanna (all over her) in the restroom while I ran with Samuel to our back patio (2nd floor...look out below) when he began peeing with no toilet available. Overall some potty training has occurred, we're just not sure how much (granted, today was an abnormal day for all of us, and the kids drank more than just about any kids I've ever seen).

12.) Lowlight #2 (and the hardest thing for Silas): Taking the kids back to the orphanage by 5pm, as they must stay there during nights until we pick up our travel letter on Monday. However, they're old enough to know we're coming back for them tomorrow and they've had friends who've been adopted previously, so our POA says they know the drill.

Tomorrow it's back to the orphanage in the morning to see them again...in the afternoon we'll return them and then tour a genocide memorial here in Kigali (Silas will hang out with our POA's son and not go to the memorial). How will Day 2 go? Who knows, but it was a great Day 1, and we're looking forward to tomorrow with great anticipation. Our POA assures us we have yet to see Savanna's real personality, so if Samuel is in fact the shy one...WOW...


  1. I just love reading you stories! Adoption is so biblical, so thank you for being an example to all of us. I will continue to pray for their TB test!

  2. So excited to hear about your day! As we viewed the pictures first, I was thinking the same thing about how happy and outgoing Samuel looked and all of sudden Savanna seemed shy. I'm sure it's all an amazing adjustment for them. Maybe Samuel is more aware of how exciting this really is. How cool for Silas to be a part of everything! Thanks for staying up late to post this Art. I've been stalking your blog all day!!!

  3. So happy for you! What beautiful pictures.

  4. It was wonderful to read your blog! I have been checking alot since this morning and when i saw that Becky had mentioned it on fb, that was where i went immediately. The stories of the day are wonderful. I especially like that pic of Silas and Samuel walking... Thank you so much, Art, for taking time to let us know how things are progressing.We love you all 6!

  5. Enjoying reading about your adventures.

  6. Hey guys! I just shared todays story with Maura and we both cried for joy when you talked about your first meeting with the kids and the amazing hugs you recieved. That will be an awesome memory! Thank you for sharing your story through this blog. We are still praying for you. Hope you all will be home sooner than later. Maura says, "hi", to Silas, and she can't wait to meet his new brother and sister!

  7. Thanks for sharing, especially the pics. Awesome! I look forward to meeting Samuel and Savanna in March!

  8. I love seeing kids find their families. I wish you a fantastic trip.