Belane is also now waiting for that wonderful day when Josh and I walk through the doors at AHOPE for the second time and hold her in our arms once again…this time for keeps.
Of course at age two and a half, how much she understands about what is going to happen and how much her life is going to change is hard to tell, but she now knows she has a family that loves her. She knows she has a Mom and a Dad. She knows she has brothers and sisters.
On August 17, Denise, the most wonderful volunteer for AAI, brought Belane her “welcome bag” from us. Inside of it was a t-shirt from where we live, a bunch of sheets of stickers, a small toy, a disposable camera and a photo album. AAI uses these bags as the way it is “announced” to a child that they have a family. They get to wear their new shirt, and everyone makes a big deal out of looking at the pictures of their new family.
We were really excited about how Belane’s photo album came out. We put two different pictures of each family member, one on each of two facing pages, starting with Dad and going all the way down to Marcus. On the first picture of each person we put that person’s name and then on the adjacent picture we wrote “Mom loves Belane” or “Nathan loves Belane”, etc. We also had two pictures of just Mom and Dad together (one that said “Mom and Dad love Belane”), two family pictures and two group pictures…one of “brothers” and one of “sisters”. At the end I put a picture of Belane, and two pictures of her and me together from February.
We knew Belane was going to get her welcome bag that week, but we didn’t know who would give it to her, or if anyone would take pictures for us with the camera we sent. And then I got an email from Denise. (If you haven’t read Denise’s awesome blog about her experiences volunteering in Ethiopia, you really, really should. WARNING- Don’t start reading when you should be doing something else…she writes a lot and she writes it well…it is very addictive!!!) You can check out her blog here.
Anyway, in Denise’s email she said,
“I wanted you to know that I was there today to give Belane her giftbag from you, and I was the one taking the pictures of her on the disposable camera you sent. It was a wonderful, wonderful day. She’s absolutely darling. She was shy at first, but by the time I left she was sticking butterfly stickers all over me and the kids were calling us flowers. I’m so happy to know I’ll be here when you come to pick her up. And your daughter is amazing. I can’t wait for Gail to send you the camera. I tried to take a couple pictures of her on my lap, but sometimes those don’t go so well, so if you see a patch of blonde hair and Belane, know that it’s mine.”
If you read the post on her blog from August 17 titled “Of Snowflakes and Jazz Clubs”, she writes about giving Belane her package.
Oh, and if you read it and are wondering… “konjo” means beautiful. It made me cry to think that these women who are truly beautiful inside and out, were so kind about me.
We love you Belane. Hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.