For the first time, I feel like I have them. Empty Arms. For days I have been hugging and hugging Mayah. Random hugs. The kinds the boys know to just stop and give, or stop and receive when the mood strikes Mommy. They know how to hug because they’ve received them since the moment they were born. Hugs, kisses, words of affirmation. Reminders that there’s a God bigger than any issue they will ever face in their lifetime. Mayah knows to run to me when we walk into her groupa house and wraps her arms around me in happiness and excitement. Mayah knows to give us both hugs and kisses to Daddy when we leave. They’re ritualistic. She doesn’t feel like she has to. She wants to for sure. It’s the in-between- the- coming- and- going- hugs that she doesn’t’ t know about. She will learn. There’s only one way to teach her. Keeping the hugs coming.
Tonight, Dan says Mayah and I made an emotional breakthrough. My empty arms agree. We started to count together in English. We’ve done so every evening visit for the past few days, count to 10. When we got to 4 she began pouting, and by 6 she was crying. Not loudly. Just the first time we had seen her show this emotion. Calmly, I pulled her into my arms and lifted her onto the bench so I could wrap myself around her. I let a few minutes go by just rocking with her. I watched her in the mirrors; she was looking at a tiny “playmobil” catalogue. The tiny ones Lego puts in their stuff. She had it in the morning visit and she had it for this visit. She kept it in her little locker. Earlier, a little girl tried to take it off the bench and Mayah shoved her. Gently I told her not to do that. I understand why, I understand everything we have given to her has disappeared in some fashion or another. I understand she doesn’t own anything of her own. She will soon.
So I looked at her and wiped the one tear left on her cheek and smiled. My heart danced when she smiled back. Not wanting to move, I wrapped my arms back around her and continued rocking. I wiped her hair away from her head and planted kiss after kiss on her sweet cheeks. That’s how we spent our evening.
I was even happy walking back to the orphanage; Dan claimed he was a little jealous. Mayah has happily been a Daddy’s girl. He said he wanted in on some of that.
I gave Mayah what was probably her first piggy back ride back to the groupa house from the hospital. Dan said she was as proud as could be.
We walked into her groupa house and she hopped off my back. The other little ones were so happy to see us and I showered tons of hugs on every arm that reached out. Mayah put her arms out and mama filled her mama arms with Mayah and Mayah alone.
My heart grew.
It grew big enough to make space for my daughter.
Walking out of the orphanage tonight was difficult. Mayah belongs in my arms when she’s sad. Mayah belongs in my arms when she’s happy. Mayah belongs in my arms.
However, for the next few weeks, I’ll trust in the Heavenly Father who made her and has kept her safe and protected her until we take her home. It will be then that I’ll happy share the responsibility and accept what God called us to do.
Love her because HE loves ME.
We love him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19