Monday, May 11, 2015


Our driver picked us up from our apartment at around 10:00 on Friday morning. After one last bit of paperwork in region, we sprang John from his orphanage at around noon.

The differences between John's gotcha day and Aaron's are stark.

Our strongest memories of Aaron's gotcha day feature a shouting director and irate caretakers. We were not allowed to dress Aaron for the trip out, nor even to see his room. Instead, we just handed over the clothes we'd bought him. The only stitch of government-bought clothing he took with him was a tattered hat, his one keepsake from a full year spent in that dreary place. There were no hugs, no sweet goodbyes, and only a trace of tears.

John's gotcha day couldn't have been more different. Instead of a shouting director, we had a smiling one with nothing but kind words for us. Even without a translator to help us, we knew for sure that she wished us well.

The administrator handed us a file stuffed with photocopied pictures of John-- not just a few recent photos, but rather a collection amassed over years. Then, without seeming to ask for permission, John led us on a guided tour of every room in the building, posing for goodbye photos with every groupa and class.

One caretaker made a special trip to unlock the rooms where John had lived when he was younger, just so that he could have pictures of them.

He even interrupted his former class in progress so that we could take pictures of him sitting at his desk.

Staffers on every level, from cooks and caretakers to teachers and administrators, came up to hug him goodbye and whisper affection in his ears.

They showered him with so many keepsakes that we wonder how we will carry them all home.

 We also bade goodbye to the precious ones we are leaving behind, our Fabulous Five.

Wetherby and Rebecca.

Toby and Charlie.

Last of all Reilly, God bless her sweet soul.

After one last photo with John's groupa, we walked out of that room for that last time with fond cries of "paka" in our ears.


It was an emotional day that we will never forget. 

 Hours later, we boarded an overnight train to the capital.

We've spent the couple of days since then getting to know our newest son. If we had to describe him in two words, then we'd choose "sweet" and "curious." In a phrase, we might say "a ten-year-old toddler on steroids." The next few months are going to be an intense period of adjustment, both for him and for us, as we help him explore his new world safely.


  1. Move to tears again! What an emotional and physical journey. I will continue to pray for all of you in the upcoming weeks. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help! Sending love and hugs!

  2. I don't often comment on your blog, but I just wanted to say this is absolutely beautiful.

  3. What a lovely send-off for John and for you! His orphanage seems bright and cheerful, and well equipped, but it still isn't a home is it. Far better than Aaron's experience for you all. I'm so thankful that John is starting life with his new family with blessings from his carers, teachers and others. It will make it easier for him to know they wish him well and are happy for him. Now, learning for everyone, not only John. I wish you a safe trip home, and much happiness! samm in Ontario Canada

  4. So glad he found you! Aarons story was my daughters and that young girl Reilly reminds me of her.
    Good luck on the way home!!

  5. I can't tell you how happy I am for all of you! And how wonderful that Aaron got to be a part of a positive gotcha day!

  6. Hi--
    I mentioned your family--more specifically Julia, Rob, John, and Aaron--in a blog post I just posted, over at . Just thought you might like to know. Also, congratulations, Mazal Tov as we say in Hebrew, and all that.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!