It's official! Camryn Erick Juday is, in every legal sense of the word, a member of the Juday family! Here he is - isn't he precious?!
We received word last Wednesday that all of Camryn's official paperwork has been completed, with no problems or red flags (which happened several months faster than we expected.) Normally this is the point at which Camryn would be getting his passport and we would be preparing for travel. Now is when we should be counting down the weeks, packing up suitcases, knowing Camryn is ours and will be in our arms very, very soon.
Unfortunately, Camryn joins the hundreds of other orphans awaiting the DRC government’s unjust exit ban to lift before we can fly to pick him up. We stand with many other families - writing to our government, making calls, signing petitions, waiting, waiting. Camryn will be 17-months-old in a couple of weeks, and we are all eager to welcome him home, forever.
Actually, the truth is, we are eager and we are anxious. I simultaneously want to celebrate with all of you at this huge step of finalization, and I also want to tuck this news deep inside my heart and keep it safely there until Camryn is actually here in my arms. I am excited, but cautious; joyful, but afraid. Because we have seen “done deals” go bad, we have seen terrible things happen to beautiful, unsuspecting people, we have seen hopes and hearts crushed to such pieces that it took years to put them back together. We ourselves have dared greatly in love, and now we know (although we are no longer willing to let this knowledge hold us back from loving again) what tragic loss feels like. We know heartbreak, we know uncertainty, and we know nobody is immune.
Instead of knowing how out of control I am, I wish I could know, without any hesitation or speculation, that the DRC government will release all adopted children in the coming months and that Camryn will be happily home with us before his second birthday. I wish I could know for sure that attaching my heart to this little boy a million miles away won’t end in devastation. I wish I could protect myself and my family from all pain, and guarantee that we will soon be a happy family of five.
I wish I could get some sort of guarantee on Camryn, but I can't.
Just like we cannot guarantee that our spouses will walk back through the door tonight or that our parents will be around long enough to see our children marry.
Just like we cannot guarantee that this will be the last hospital stay or that that medicine will be the final cure.
Just like we cannot guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow or that our children will outlive us.
Not because we do not hope for such things, or do not have faith in a good God. Not because we do not fight and act and pray and believe. We do. And yet, still, we are not immune.
But we all keep on loving anyway. We keep hoping, despite illness and injustice, despite heartache and a world out of our control. We keep loving, actively and fully, not stunted by fear or hiding behind facades, but loving our own, and others' too. Because we know Love wins.
Adoption is a wild act of Love, but then again, isn't all real love wild? Real love dares to believe in the divine essence of every human being, connecting us despite race, despite religion, despite culture or class or corrupt governments that seek to separate us. Real love invades our very veins, compelling us to welcome, to weep over, to war for sons and daughters not of our own wombs. Compelling us to open our hearts and our homes, for an evening meal or an afternoon play date or a holiday with extra hands around the table, or maybe even forEVER. For every sleepless night, for every question "Why?," for every scrape that becomes a scar and every tear that becomes a tale - Love compels us, despite it all.
And it is this wild, dangerous, courageous love that compelled us toward adoption in the first place, and that moves our hearts toward Camryn today.
We have been able to Skype with Camryn the past several weekends, and seeing his "live" body moving and interacting and breathing in and out, feels like a miracle in and of itself. Our kids already adore their baby brother, greeting him with, "Hi buddy! We miss you, Cam!" each time we Skype. We are adding to his baby book with the monthly pictures we receive, writing notes for his "While You Were Away" box, buying him Christmas presents and keeping his crib clean and ready for his sweet head to rest.
We hope that day will be soon.
Until then: We love you, Camryn!
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