We were thrown together by our choices and God's providence into a place where everything looked/sounded/smelled/tasted/felt different from anything normal in our lives and the only thing familiar to us were the strangers we were with. And I know that doesn't make any sense and yet.....doesn't it make perfect sense?
The experiences we had were exclusive to international adoption. We weren't just traveling to places afar for the sake of the view. We were being lead through cities and legal processes in an effort to soak up the culture and bring home a child. Children many of us had waited years just to hold. Children who when put in our arms had the whole of their worlds turned upside down and inside out. That alone drove us to connect to the only other people that know, really know what it's like and were there with us from the beginning.
The connections with made with some of these families will most likely last a lifetime. Three summers after returning home with Claire and I still long to be with these families for a while. But, this summer looked like it would be one without any visits. Just home from our 3 weeks in China with the L'il Emperor, Paul is down to just a few days of vacation for the rest of this year.
It has been a year since we traveled to Tennessee with the Gulkes to be with the Caudills and a year since Karla visited us with Mia last summer. I was so sad to think that I would not see any of them this year.
But, surprise! God smiled on us and sent the Caudills our way. I don't know what kind of trouble that was, but it could not have been easy for them to drive away from home and therapy and doctors and work with all they have going on, to come see us.
They drove up ready for our welcome.....because after last summer, they knew what to expect! Yep. Water guns and water balloons. It was a very wet welcome to Charleston for the Caudills. But, they are great sports!
Shane took it like a man!
Anna jumped out and grabbed up the hose to fend off the soaking guns!