Friday, February 20, 2009

Can Your Life Change in 20 Minutes?

An Open Letter To Samuel Haftom

Dear Samuel,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Janis and I met you today for the first time, although I kind of hope that you forget that part since it involved a lot of flashbulbs going off in your face. But let me start over with the introductions. My husband works with your dad at the radio station. And I got to meet you for the first time today. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I was the first of many American friends that you saw here! And it may have only been 20 minutes of your life, but you have already changed mine!

The day you arrived here was a cold one, 25 degrees, but wonderfully sunny. The details are forever etched in my memory and I want you to know what kind of impact you have had on the world already. Let me back up...

I saw your mom the day after she learned you might be her son. She explained how she got a call from the agency and expected them to tell her it would be a long time until they placed a child with her family. She described the shock and excitement to hear that they had a son for her right now. I heard your family talk about the preparations they were making for your arrival. How they anticipated what your needs would be and how they wanted everything to be so right for you. But it wasn't just those five people who were anticipating and wanting things to be right for you...

On the day you arrived, I had some things to get done but everything I did was wrapped around the thought that I needed to be at the airport at 2:00 to meet Samuel. My sister-in-law worked in the morning instead of the afternoon so that she could watch my child so that I could meet you. Your sister's teacher, Mrs. Agosta, made a giant poster which Sydney's classmates signed, all to welcome you. As I walked around Fairfield Christian Academy that day, every mention of your name brought a joyous smile to the faces that heard it. They were all anticipating your arrival. My friends who knew my plans to meet you but may not ever meet you themselves, were anticipating your arrival.

When I got to the airport, it seemed as though everyone there was a character in the drama that was unfolding-a child coming from so far away to meet his family for the first time was about to come down the hallway. Some of those people were aware that something wonderful was happening. I watched people reading the sign "Welcome Home Samuel Haftom" and wondered what they thought. Perhaps they expected a grown man, in his military fatigues to saunter down those escalator steps and be welcomed home from battle. Perhaps they wondered if a daddy was coming home to his family after a long trip. Or maybe, just maybe they knew the truth. A little boy had traveled half way around the world to finally be home. A family had so desired to stay in the will of God that they put any other fleshly desires aside to follow His call. A call that meant going 7418 miles (one way), a week away from their daughters, time off from their jobs and a lifetime commitment to a child they had not even met face to face. Wow.

And I could see in your face that you were worth every one of those sacrifices and more. I could see that your parents knew it when I saw their laughing faces as they walked through the security gate proudly carrying their son. I saw that it was worth it to your sisters as they tried to look into your eyes and know you. And I think even those strangers who were observing this meeting would bear witness to the fact that you are already a much loved part of this family.

Today, it snowed for the first time in a couple weeks. And I thought, "I wonder what Samuel will think of the snow?" You have already changed my view of the world, I can only imagine the impact you will have in the days to come. Thanks for letting me be a part of this day!


Stace said...

Janis! That was so amazingly well written! Thank you SO much for being a part of our special day! We have REALLY seen the Kingdom at its best...the school family, our church family and our biological families! What a wonderful support system we have! THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF OUR STORY!

Stace said...

I got all your photos/movie! THANKS SO MUCH! I'm gonna enjoy looking at them after he's in bed!

BoufMom9 said...

OH! Just beautiful! Such a beautiful letter.
Thank you for giving me happy, happy tears!