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I Remember
Chad Dykstra - 2011-10-25

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Chad Dykstra - 2011-09-13

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I Remember

Chad Dykstra - 2011-10-25
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It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since we first met Zinabu and Abatu. That day will forever be burned in my mind, and I remember it like yesterday.  I remember getting on the bus, knowing we were heading to the orphanage and knowing that in just a few short minutes, our lives would forever change.  I remember the surreal feeling of that big bus turning down that small dirt alley and slowly pulling up to the gate of the orphanage.  I remember Rob saying “Hey, dude, I think I see your kid”. I remember looking out the window seeing Abatu scurrying around cleaning up toys with the nannies and some other children to make the orphanage look its’ best prior to our arrival. I remember so vividly the thoughts and feelings that were going through my head at that very moment. It’s just not possible to entirely verbalize them, but I’ll do my best.  Seeing him and knowing that he really does exist – that he’s not just a picture and a story written on a referral report. Knowing that in just a few minutes, we would walk through that gate.  We would meet our children – the children which we had anticipated joining our family for so long. Knowing from that point on, our life and our family would never be the same.  I remember being filled with nervous excitement, clutching Lora’s hand tight and doing my best to fight back tears.

I remember walking through that gate and being led into a small room with all the other families - all of us waiting with anticipation for them to bring out our children.  Zinabu and Abatu were first, so the rest of the kids coming in was just a blur. I remember the scared look on their faces as they came walking into the door - the nanny saying ‘Zinabu and Abatu’, pushing them toward us as we raised our hand.  Pulling them on our laps and giving them each a squishy ball with lights in it.  We’ve since asked the boys about that moment, and they remember it well too.  It was a scary experience for them.  The scariest part for them was our ‘light eyes’.  The boys had likely never seen blue eyes before.


I remember the fun of playing with our boys for the first time – Zinabu’s crazy energy and playing with anything electronic he could swipe from someone’s hand.  I remember Abatu’s remarkable prowess in kicking and throwing a ball and his quiet, nervous smile.  I also remember the sheer exhaustion that came from days with little to no sleep and being weary from travel.  As awesome as it was to be there I remember just wanting to go back to our guest house and crash.

Today, we celebrate one year from the day our lives changed forever.  The last year has been filled with many ups and many downs.  We have had a lot of days filled with joy and laughter, and we have also had a lot of days filled with yelling, fighting, and tears.   Although he considered himself an atheist, Bruce Lee once said “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”.  Our life isn’t necessarily easy right now, but that’s OK. We pray for wisdom to meet the unique needs of our children, and the patience to endure challenges that come our way.  Having that patience is a challenge in and of itself, and we still have a long ways to go…but we’re trying!  Although it’s challenging, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We’ve been so blessed through the additions to our family and through all the friends that took this journey with us – you know who you are.

On top of all the memories from a year ago, we also celebrate Abatu’s fifth birthday today.  What a day!  We look forward to celebrating many more October 25ths. I will leave you with this precious clip from one year ago of Zinabu asking a blessing over a snack.  Enjoy!


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Posted by Cindy on 2011-10-25

Very well said, Chad!   It's so hard to put into words all the thoughts & emotions flying through your mind on such a memorable day/week!   We've been reminiscing over here too on the events that changed our lives one year ago, and our week has been full of "remember when.....".   I think those of us who traveled together can partially put ourselves in each other's shoes, although not totally.   Congratulations on making one year & best wishes in the years to come!   Cindy 

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