As I walked into the care center I saw a group of women huddled around a tub filled with soapy water, washing bottles. They looked up as I walked in the gate, no greeting. I continued walking toward the door and spoke my daughter's Ethiopian name with question to the first person I saw inside the house. The lady understood the name and pointed toward a door, one which I already knew led to another baby's room. That's good, I thought as I headed toward the other room. This room, I knew from our last visit, was smaller. Roxie would probably receive a little more one on one attention from the nanny. As I walked into the room I spoke her name again to the nanny standing inside the door. As she turned the small room came in to view and I saw her, those eyes. Those eyes that nine months ago stared at me on the computer screen for the first time, eyes that I had looked at more times than I could count on my phone, eyes that I saw when I drifted off to sleep each night. The difference is that now I didn't have to look on a computer screen or on a phone or in a memory.
I scooped her up from her bed and pulled her in close for hugs and kisses. This was my daughter. The daughter God had planned for me before the beginning of time. I didn't have to leave her again.
After a quick change of clothes we passed out hugs and thank yous to the nannies, collected a container of Ethiopian formula, and climbed into the van. I breathed a sigh of relief that the waiting part of this process was over. She was finally in my arms. Arriving at this point had been a journey filled with joy but also suffering. As the van moved forward carrying this new family of three I couldn't help but look ahead to all that was in store. I was reminded of the apostle Paul's words.
". . . Forgetting what lies behind and straining to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
I want to embrace each experience God gives me along the way. I want to embrace this sweet memory of bringing Roxie home and all that God has taught me. But it is not the end. It is only a portion of the race, this earthly journey. There is still so much more ahead, so much more to look forward to. Ultimately I must continue to strive towards the goal of being like Christ.
"Only let us hold true to what we have attained."
Rejoice in the Lord!