I feel like we’ve been waiting FOREVER for this day.
For seven long months.
Since the day we said goodbye.
But when I look back, it’s been longer.
For us, we’ve been waiting for this day since the day 11 months ago when we signed up to host the precious 10-year-old boy who had one day left to find a host family.
Whose smile stole our hearts.
Whose hand reminded us of our own Superman’s.
Whose heart we heard already from the hosting coordinator was just made of gold.
It’s been since THAT day that we’ve been waiting for THIS one.
The day that our first ever host child would be officially registered for ADOPTION!
Because yesterday in China, this boy we hosted — this boy we LOVE! — this boy who taught us what it means to love with abandon, even when loving has to end in goodbye — HUGGED HIS MAMA FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!
Held her hand!
Sat in her arms!
And cried after their first embrace when he told her that he was so happy to finally have the family he’s been wishing for his entire life long.
As Rebecca texted me from the hotel room where they spent their first night together as mother and son, I could hardly hold it together as she shared how this 11-year-old boy had brought her an entire bag of food that he protected and guarded and told his orphanage workers was just for his new mom.
How he held her hand through the city and, one time when she had to let go to move around an obstacle, was quick to grab it again and smile at her from the other side.
How he protected her at every street crossing (a game of survival in the streets of China).
How he just BEAMED at his first meal as part of a FAMILY.
The pictures Rebecca texted wrecked my heart in ways I didn’t even know were possible.
Yesterday on Gotcha Day, this boy we love fell under the guardianship of the woman who has loved him since last summer.
But today, 24 hours after Family Day, 24 hours after his first meeting with a mama who loves him passionately, was Adoption Registration day. Which means that TODAY, D.J. is officially the Harders’ son!
Which makes THESE tears we cried seven months ago at the Atlanta airport as we farewelled the 10-year-old superhero who completely changed our worlds are worth it. Because THESE TEARS led to THESE SMILES as today, this precious and deserving and amazing superhero is holding the hand of a MAMA for the VERY FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE!!!
Our sweet forever-nephew is no longer an orphan!
No longer a number!
No longer a statistic longing for a family to call his own!
Today, he's a SON.
He's a BROTHER.
He's a treasured, fought-for, valued, CHERISHED member of one of the most beautiful families I've ever come to know.
Today, that wish he told us he'd been wanting his whole life long came true.
Today, our boy officially became part of a FAMILY.
And although this day has been 11 months in the making for us, the reason our hearts explode today is not because of the 11 months we’ve spent praying for this boy and anticipating this sweet and precious day that God would change his story.
It’s because of the 11 years THIS ANGEL has waited to be called “son.”
Eleven long years … that ended TODAY.
THANK YOU for sharing in his journey.
THANK YOU for telling D.J.’s story.
And THANK YOU for all the love you've shown to the Harder family.
Our team is forever and ever and ever grateful for the love you've poured out on a nephew who sleeps in the arms of a MAMA tonight. <3 <3 <3
#djsstorychanged #untileverystorychanges #operationorphanwarrior