September 17, 2012. Francis’ seventh birthday and the day of the entrustment ceremony. On this day, we would finally be a family.
Note: The italicized portions of this blog were originally published on September 17, 2012 in this post.
Today was the first day my parents met Francis. The four of us and Rolly, our agency liaison, were picked up by a driver, who came with the director of the RSCC. When we arrived at the center, Francis was outside waiting for us and would have opened the van door himself, if he could have! For the second day in a row, Daddy got ambushed with a huge hug, while Mommy had to wait for him to warm up a bit. He recognized Lolo and Lola right away, and even they got hugs.
The center had a beautiful entrustment ceremony, with the director, social worker, nurse, and Francis' primary caregiver each speaking for a bit. We were then presented with Francis' lifebook, preschool diploma, photographs, and a beautiful 8x10 of his referral photo with the poem "Legacy of an Adopted Child" imprinted on it. We were asked to read the poem aloud, which Gregg had to do, because as soon as I saw the first two lines I was a sobbing mess. We were then asked to say a few words, and again Gregg had to start (still sobbing!). We could not thank them enough. Finally, my parents and Rolly were asked to say something, and we took some pictures.
Francis was a little tornado the entire duration of the entrustment ceremony. He was in my arms, he was down. He was next to me, he was running across the room. The one thing he would not do was stand still. He wanted absolutely no part of this solemn occasion. After all, there was cake to eat.
|The entrustment ceremony.|
And then we had cake! Today was Francis' 7th birthday, and what a day to celebrate! When we found out we would be in time for his birthday (at the time not realizing the entrustment would be ON his birthday), we asked to have a party for Francis – whatever he wanted. He picked out his favorite foods: Jollibee’s spaghetti, pancit, spicy chicken, übe ice cream, and best of all, a Spider-Man cake! The room was decorated with balloons that said "Happy 7th Birthday, Francis, September 17th, 2012" and "Love, Mommy and Daddy"
When it was time to leave, Francis was ready to go. He was out the door before the rest of us could say goodbye and get our shoes on. I looked outside in the rain and said "Where's Francis?!" in the van, ready to go already.
To this day, Gregg and I tell this story fondly and joke about what horrible parents we must have appeared to be to the staff of the RSCC. One minute he was with us, and we stopped to say goodbye to Mama La, who was with the rest of the children in the sleeping area, and when we turned around from saying goodbye – no Francis. He was ready to go. He was done with RSCC and wanted out. Now. No time for goodbye for him.
He sat quietly on the way to the hotel, first on Gregg's lap, then mine. When we got to the hotel, he was ready to go. We have a connecting room to my parents, so he had cartoons (the same one) on both TVs, playing with a ball, checking out the digital camera, and discovering that he LOVES to be tickled. My son has the most contagious laugh you will ever hear, and his smile lights a room. After a day or two of just wanting daddy, he is coming to me more and looking to sit on my lap and cuddle and be picked up.
At one point this afternoon, we went to call Rolly to discuss dinner plans but there was a problem with the phone. Gregg was just going to go down to his room, but Francis refused to let him leave. I tried to go instead, but the same thing happened. In the end, all three of us had to go.
By the time dinner rolled around, Francis was practically falling asleep on the table, but he ate some spaghetti and lit up like a Christmas tree when his second birthday cake came out. Here we are now, all cuddled up, and I'm the last one to go to bed. I'm thinking I might want to do that now, though, because apparently he gets up at 4 am.
|Happy birthday, Francis!|
Before bedtime, I read Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You to Francis. Barely. I was choked up and crying by end of page one. We got through it, and he tucked his stuffed Pooh Bear and McQueen under the Pooh blanket I had sewn for him, then spread the rest of the blanket over himself. For the first time, he fell asleep between his new mommy and daddy, and his new mommy and daddy just stared in wonder at this amazing gift from God.
To Be Continued…