Guest Post by Allison Robison
It has been just over one month since Karis took her first steps on American soil. I am not a writer and do not have the gift of putting eloquent words down on paper or the computer screen. I usually leave that up to Michael. I have had so many things swirling around in my head that i just can’t help this urge to get them all out. I want them recorded for Karis’ sake and mine. Because lets face it…I am now the momma to FIVE and my memory is quickly fleeting!
Michael has informed me that blog readers don’t like long posts and most of you won’t read this until the end. That’s ok..I have lots to say and so much that I want to remember. Here is the super quick readers digest version…Karis is doing AMAZING and we are beyond thankful for those of you that have walked this journey with us.
With all that said…If you have decided to stick with me, Here is a little of the back story for those who aren’t familiar with how God led us to our girl. (You can click each pic to see it better)
After adopting Kaia from Ethiopia we knew that God was calling us to again expand our family through adoption. I assumed that we would go back to Ethiopia. Our process with Kaia was smooth as silk. We loved our agency and fell in love with the country and its beautiful people. I am a creature of habit and comfort so since we knew what to expect with the process and it was familiar, I loved the idea of returning to Ethiopia . After serving in Haiti for many years, Michael always told me that he would love to be able to adopt from the country that he considers his second home. There were many uncertainties with adopting through Haiti but I was open to the idea and decided that God would show us where he wanted us to go. It wasn’t long after that we received the picture of a 12 day old baby girl in HAITI that needed a forever family. We jumped all in and a week later Michael and I were in Haiti holding her in our arms. We didn’t know what the process was going to look like but we knew that she was ours.
I am a firm believer in that God only shows us what is right in front of us for a reason. If we were able to see the whole road that was ahead of us we wouldn’t willingly walk it. That is definitely true in this case. If you would have told me what this process was going to look like ahead of time, I would have told you that I was not strong enough and couldn’t do it. Not because Karis wouldn’t be worth the fight but because my heart wouldn’t be able to watch my baby girl grow up without her family. It was a LONG 3 1/2 year journey. Let me say that again, It was a LOOOONG 3 1/2 years. In the beginning I made several trips to Haiti to go see Karis but I eventually had to make the decision that going and leaving was too hard for this Momma. Saying goodbye over and over again was more than I could take. Not to mention the financial cost and the fact that we had three kids; eventually four at home. Thankfully Michael was able to make many trips.
One of the things that I am most grateful for in all of this is the wonderful people that Karis was surrounded by. I can’t begin to name them all but let me tell you this girl was LOVED. And not just by a few by MANY. I will never be able to express my gratitude to those who found her, fed her, held her when she was sick, laughed with her, held her hands while she was learning to walk, celebrated birthdays, wiped tears and shared countless milestones in my place. While it definitely wasn’t ideal to watch her grow up in pictures I am SO thankful for each and every one of them. It never failed that a picture would come just when I was losing hope or needed a reminder of why we were fighting.
Speaking of fighting, let me just take a minute to tell you who the real fighter in our family is; our courageous daddy and my amazing husband. I’m ashamed to admit there were so many times that I was weak and thought of giving up the fight but Michael was the strength we needed to push through and finish what God had called us to. Karis would not be here today without her daddy going and spending five weeks in Haiti fighting daily to get her home. He gave up the comforts of home, and went to deal with everything that I couldn’t fathom doing. Just driving in Haiti for a day is enough to do me in! Much less day in and day out for five weeks. He even ended up having a short stint in a Haitian jail! I can’t wait for her to hear all the stories of how hard her daddy fought for her.
I can’t put into words the feeling I had when Michael called me from Miami. She was here and she was ours. It felt like a dream. I couldn’t stop my tears of joy. We had been told so many times over the years that she would be home “soon” but this time it was real. I honestly think that my heart went into protection mode a long time ago and I’m not sure I believed anymore that she would ever come home. But now it was real! And then my fear crept in….Adopting a 3 1/2 year old is so different than the infant that Kaia was when we brought her home. What if she doesn’t like me? What if I don’t feel a connection with her? She was leaving everything she had ever known and the people that had loved her everyday. Will she feel loved? How will I communicate? What if she doesn’t like our food? How will I fix her hair? She’s never even buckled up in a car much less been strapped into a carseat, what if that freaks her out? She is scared of dogs and even though ours isn’t much of one, what if she is terrified? What if our other kids don’t handle the transition well? If there was a fear out there, trust me, it crossed my mind! `
Once again, when I let fear creep, my God shows me who is in charge. He took care of EACH and EVERY fear I had. This last month with our family complete and under one roof, has been a dream come true. I know we are still somewhat in the honeymoon stage but we are all just in awe at how good Karis is doing and how seamless her transition has been. To see things through her eyes has been such a gift to Michael and I and even more to our kids. Here are some of her favorite things so far….......
Grass! She loves running in it and just laughs and laughs. Actually that can be said for most things. She is so full of joy that she laughs at pretty much everything. The automatic button to close our van doors. She has to push it every time! SHOES, SHOES, and more SHOES! She is never not wearing shoes. That is the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning. Food- All food! This girl can put it away and we haven’t found one thing yet that she doesn’t like. The playground- especially the swings. Her squeal of joy is awesome! Clothes-the sparklier the better! Ice-she is constantly sneaking in the freezer to chew on ice. Our dog, Josie! She is pretty much obsessed with holding her and giving her kisses. The shower. Oh my word I wish you could hear the giggles when this girl gets in the shower. Purses! She is never without a purse that is so jammed full she has to get help to zip it shut. Judah- She loves that baby boy and I hope I never forget the way she says his name. If he starts crying she is the first one by his side. Evan and Noah- She figured out quickly how awesome it is to have big brothers. They love teaching her English. Their favorite thing they taught her so far is to say “bye people!” Kaia- The bond these two have already just blows my mind. They are basically inseparable. Literally it’s like they were made for each other and born to be sisters. All the extended family- and we have A LOT! We didn’t know how she would do with being around lots of people but she absolutely loves her family. She knows all of their names-All the grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends! Her face lights up when she sees them. It has been amazing to see how she just automatically knows that these people love her so much. And one of her favorite things to do is stand on the fireplace hearth and sing her heart out to entertain everyone.
I adore this little girl. Every night when I tuck her in she says “I love you momma” and I melt. Sometimes I just sit back and watch her and can’t even believe that I get to call her mine. I hold her hand or wash her toes and even though they weren’t created in me I just thank God that I am the one who gets to do that. I hold her during worship at Church and tears stream down my face because of how good our God is. I can’t wait to see what all is in store for this little world changer!
Thankfully we have not walked this journey alone. During this whole adoption process we have lived in three different cities in two states and been surrounded with amazing people. Some of you were around in the beginning days of excitement and bought our fundraiser t-shirts, some of you were around in the middle and helped carry us through setback after setback, and some of you were around in the end and got to be at the airport to welcome her home. Some of you met Karis on a mission trip and poured love into her. Some of you have lived in Haiti with her and have helped shape her into the amazing little girl that she is today. Which ever part of the journey you have shared with us THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. We could not have done this without your prayers, encouragement, financial support, and LOVE. Gods kingdom is amazing.
Adoption is hard but it is SO worth it.