05
Mar

Empty Nesters

On Saturday, Kevin & Brison moved to their new home at Mattaw Children’s Village (www.mattawchildren.com).  They live with 11 other new brothers and sisters and a new mom and dad.
On Friday, we spent the afternoon with the boys at the club’s pool. We wanted to have a fun last day with them so we went swimming and had soda.
That evening, during dinner, we talked to the boys about their new home and transition for the next day. All Brison really heard was that he was going to be playing with a bunch of other children; he didn’t really understand what was to come. Kevin on the other hand, knew exactly what was going on. He suddenly became quiet and didn’t really eat much. He would just stare at Sean or me and then he got these big ole tears in his eyes.
We continually reassured them that they did nothing wrong and we loved them very much. We said excitedly that they would have a whole bunch of new brothers and sisters; they would have brand new beds and blankets and a great new mom and dad. Kevin just stared at us, just grunting in agreement, tears stuck in his eyes. It broke my heart.
I had to get up from the table because the tears that were in his eyes were about to stream down my face.
After dinner, the four of us curled up on the couch and watched Cars. They love cars so it was not surprising that they picked that movie to watch. After the movie, we tucked them into bed, said our prayers together, and said good night for the last time.
Saturday was a crazy busy day at Mattaw as it was the opening of the new house that Kevin and Brison would be moving into as well as the birthday for the kids. When the boys arrived, they were greeted by the other children and whisked away.  I would randomly hear a “Mama!” as I walked across the property of either Brison or Kevin wanting my attention or to show me what they were doing.
At lunch time, I walked into the dining hall to see Lucy, the social worker, who worked on Brison & Kevin’s case. She was how we heard of them.  I went over and greeted her and she got this huge grin on her face and said how surprised she was at the boys’ progress. She was completely amazed at Kevin and that he was walking.  “God bless you, God bless you.” She kept saying over and over again.
Kevin & Lucy

Kevin & Lucy

Shortly after that, we were told that the boys’ grandmother and aunt had shown up to see them.  To see the look on each of their faces as they saw Brison and Kevin for the first time in almost six months was priceless. The grandmother lit up when she saw Kevin walking toward her.  The aunt was absolutely shocked at how “grown up” they looked.
Brison & his Grandma

Brison & his Grandma

Kevin & his Aunt

Kevin & his Aunt

Kevin & his Grandma

Kevin & his Grandma

Later in the day, everyone onsite gathered in the church where the children of the new home were introduced and presented. There were a few speakers, some songs, a prayer and then a march out of the church, following the new house parents and children to their new home.
The house mom cut the ribbon on the door of the new home and the house parents along with their new children walked into their new home.  And there went Kevin & Brison.
Cutting the ribbon

Cutting the ribbon

They welcomed the visitors in and we watched as Kevin and Brison explored their new house.  Then they cut the cake for everyone to share.  As I watched the cutting of the cake and the boys being held by their new siblings, the tears started to roll down my cheeks.  It was a bittersweet, happy and sad emotion.
The next little while, the boys would keep coming by to see if we were still there. They would tell us what they were doing or just come to get a hug.
Brison

Brison

Kevin

Kevin

Sean’s moment of emotions was when he heard Kevin say, “Baba.” and Sean went to answer and realized that Kevin was speaking to his new dad and not to Sean.  That oh-yeah-i’m-not-his-dad-anymore moment. Again, bittersweet, happy and sad moment.
The new baba and mama

The new baba and mama

The new family!

The new family!

When it came time to leave, we pulled Kevin and Brison aside to say our goodbyes.  They confirmed that we were going home to our house while they stayed there. Yes. They asked if this was their new home and if they had a new mom and dad. Yes. They asked if were coming back tomorrow.  No. But we would come back and visit them soon.
We gave those boys great big hugs and kisses, told them we loved them and said our goodbyes.  “Bye Mama. Bye Baba. Nakupenda (I love you)!” as we walked away.
That morning, when getting ready, knowing the boys were going to their new home that afternoon, tears easily streamed down my face. I felt guilt; guilt that I was sad and going to miss them. It sounds weird but I felt like I had this expectation put on me and not by anyone in particular, this expectation that I shouldn’t get emotional or it would be a sign of weakness, a sign that I couldn’t handle fostering a child.
As I was praying while getting ready, God gave me comfort.  There is nothing wrong with loving someone; there is nothing wrong with being there for them, supporting them, or taking care of them. This is what we are to do; this is the body of Christ. There would probably be more concern if we had just said, “Here you go. Here are the boys. Nice knowing you.” And with no emotion attached to it. It would have been more like a job than a relationship.
The body of Christ isn’t supposed to be a job or a deal, it’s the relationship building, loving and being there for one another. Taking care of and loving on the least of these (Matthew 25) and each other (1 John 4:7).
Although we are empty nesters for now, I don’t see it being for forever.  I have a mama’s heart and these mama arms and a whole lot of mama love, why not share it and give it freely to a child who needs it? Sean has a father’s heart and father’s arms and a whole lot of father love; he too, can share it and give it.  There are many more Kevin and Brison’s here in Kenya. Our arms, our home, and our hearts are open wide for them.
Us with the boys

Us with the boys

In His service,
Meredith

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