I'm not going to make excuses why I haven't updated this blog (but will say "four boys") and I am not going to catch you up but what I am going to do is share with you the greatest day, the greatest moment since I first saw Matthew's face - today is that day or tonight to be more specific.
There is a lot that goes into this story and I don't want to spend too long introducing it but it's necessary to sort of "frame" the moment. You see, while Michael has no problem showing affection through words or physically since the day we met, Matty has made this Momma wait a very long time for the moment. I know the date of his first hug - and I can now call it a half hug. I know when he first held my had - or now I can call it tolerated my hand in his. Lately he has been a little more "touchy" with me. He has been gently touching my arm or held my hand crossing a parking lot and even put his arm around me in a crowded car. I noticed it and spoke of hugs but special care had to be taken with this broken boy. Sometimes that care comes when you find out just how broken your boys are. Long conversations of the ugliness that occurred in China took place tonight and while God allowed my heart to be broken for my sons he was paving the way for it to be completely put back together whole or "sealed" as my dear friend put it in prayer after I called her to share this beautiful day.
I am going to share the rest of this story in a letter to Matthew but I would like to finish setting the stage. Deep conversations first occurred with Michael and I. Dadda was in and out attending to the other three boys. We put Anthony and Gabriel to bed and I asked Michael if Matthew could join us, he was slightly hesitant as he loves one on one attention but he agreed. Soon Dadda joined us and the conversations revealed some of the ugliness that occurred in these boys short lives (I'm not downplaying that - just highlighting the beauty that came out of these discoveries). When we wrapped it up for the night Matthew was in the room himself and called me in - so now it's just Matthew and I.
"Momma, I don't ever want to go back to China," were the words you said that ripped a hole in my heart.
I said "No, ohhh Matty, you don't ever have to go back" as I scooped all 70 pounds of you up into my arms with your legs wrapped around my body and your arms held my neck. I turned around and sat on the edge of the toy box that your father once used as a child of your age. I sat there with you completely wrapped around my body. My heart ached. For a moment I had no words, only tears - tears of pain, tears of love, tears of joy. I attempted to speak through my tears, not trying to scare you, some words broke. You don't ever have to go back Matthew. You are our son. You are our family. We love you, we love you. Good, bad, sad, happy - you are always ours. You, Michael, Anthony, Gabriel, Momma, and Dadda are family. FAMILY - I looked into your tear filled eyes. I held your face. No one can ever make you go back, no one can ever take you back, no one can ever come and get you. You are safe and loved here. You are a US Citizen - no longer a Chinese one.
You held me and you didn't let go. YOU HELD ME AND DIDN'T LET GO. I can't remember what part of the conversation happened next but I do remember getting to kiss you for the first time ever - over and over. I kissed your checked, you nose, your little ear. I got to tell you things that I've said before but you weren't ready to listen. I got to tell you that you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. We all have brown but your eyes are special - a beautiful hazel. I got to tell you that it took a year to do all of the paperwork to get you home. I got to tell you that I fell in love with your beautiful smile on February 14th 2014 - Valentine's Day - the day of love. I got to touch your lips as I described your smile. I got to give you more kisses (and tell you that you can give me kisses or hugs anytime you want just like Anthony does).
I got to sing "Ohhh God hear us, hear our prayers" in your ear. I got to do the prayer we do every night but missed tonight because of the deep conversations. One thank you Jesus, one prayer for someone else and one prayer asking God to help ourselves. I whispered in your ear "Thank you God for this day, for this hug, for this boy" you nodded your head up and down, "yes" you said. I said "My prayer tonight for someone else: I pray heavenly Father that you heal the broken hearts of Matthew and Michael and that you let them know they are safe with us". You nodded your head and said "Yes". I said "My prayer to ask for my help is to help me be the best mother to all of these wonderful boys" and you nodded and said "yes". "Ohhh God hear us, hear our prayers."
You held me so tight. We were one - WE ARE ONE. I told you how I waited so long for this. I raised both of my arms in victory and Michael ran around and around the room singing and smiling with joy - you just held on. I got to kiss you some more. I got to rub your back beneath your shirt.
I got to be your mom.
I knew I could go through my life loving you without love in return - you were my son after all and I loved you - your didn't grow in my belly but my heart. I grew to know that I could still love you even if you didn't want to love me. The pain of you not being even able to touch me in China when we crossed the busy streets faded. I knew in your time -maybe- you would give me a real hug or a gently touch. I never dreamed that your love could be this incredible, this strong, this beautiful. I knew deep inside something was there but I never knew if it would ever break through. While I never gave up and I prayed for this moment, I was willing to live without it if you wished to.
I got to tell you that you were handsome. You looked at me puzzled and I realized you didn't know what that was. I grabbed my phone which was close by due to the earlier conversation and said handsome into the translator. I showed you and you said shook your head no. I said "yes, very" and then I said "Hi handsome" into the translator and you smiled - I thought you had the most beautiful smile before - now it's more than beautiful. Words can't describe it. Tears continuously filled my eyes.
I looked into your eyes and told you how you will never have to go back to China. You asked about Anthony and Gabriel and I told you they will never go back again. You hugged me more - tight! I know this won't stop you from biting your finger tips or from screaming in the night but I do know that on this greatest day in my life you let me in - you gave me permission to love you like a Momma wants to love her child. I will do whatever I can to never let you down and when I do, we will now - as one - pull each other up - together - Mother and Son.
I love you Matthew.....I love you more than you can know but I will do everything to show you that love - a love you will come to know! For now, for today, this is the greatest day since I saw your face but I know that from this day on - they will get greater and greater because I got to hug you and you hugged me back for almost 30 minutes - and the kisses they were a bonus! I love YOU!
Your mom - MOMMA.
He was tired, he was wore out and in my arms said he wanted to go to bed. I lifted him up into his top bunk and he said "I want a hug" - ohhh boy can I get used to this. I hugged him and he held on. He may very well be the very best hugger. Then I kissed him goodnight on the cheek - for the first time ever I kissed my son goodnight. And you know what, he kissed me on my check! I don't have to tell you that was a first. I love you Son - I love you Mom. The greatest day in my life since I saw his face.
PS....Eric had run out to get us some treats and when he returned I did my best to tell him the story between my tears. He held me tight and cried with me. He went to say goodnight to them and he came out saying that they both had the biggest smiles on their faces that he had ever seen. My prayer tonight is for the hearts, for the pains, for the fears of m boys to be fully replaced by our love for them. Please pray with me.