A Place at the Table

This is a picture of Tucker right after Ryan got him out of his crib this morning. Every morning when Tucker wakes up, I hear him crying in the monitor. Each morning, we open the door to his bedroom and sing our "Good Morning" song so that he quickly knows where he is. 

"Good morning! Good morning! Good morning to you!"

"Good morning! Good morning! Good morning to you!"

When we reach the crib, Tucker scrambles and stands up as fast as he can with his arms outstretched. Many times, it feels like he is climbing up our bodies and wrapping his arms and legs as tightly as he can around us. We just hold him, tell him what a good boy he was in his "night night," and say, "Mommy loves you" or "Daddy loves you" depending on who retrieved him. 

This morning was no different from every other morning since we met our new son. Tucker was super disoriented and glazed over, almost not recognizing where he was or who we were. 

Each morning it makes my heart sad for him. I can't imagine how difficult this transition has been for him. He went from waking up everyday in the same crib and seeing the same nanny to waking up to us in hotel in Chongqing for 4 days and then waking up to us in a hotel in Guangzhou for 6 days and finally waking up to us in our home...his home...for 23 days. 

If I were him, I would wonder how long I was going to stay here. I would wonder how long these two new faces...the ones who want to be called Mommy and Daddy would be in my life. So sad.

After several minutes, Tucker seemed to snap out of his disorientation and soon was playing with his brothers like he has lived here since the day he was born. Oh the progress we have made as a family in the last 23 days since coming home!

We had a wonderful day together as a family. In order to get some Christmas shopping done, we ventured out to the mall with all three kids. They really did great! Mealtime is always a little hectic because for some reason, Noah and Liam cannot just sit and eat food. What a terrible expectation we have as their parents! Tucker eats really well (gained 4 lbs. last year in China but gained 2 lbs. with our family in just our first 3 weeks together). Other than that, though, they all did great. Tucker was as quiet as a mouse, looking around at all the people, stores, and Christmas decorations displayed everywhere, totally overstimulated by all of the sights, sounds, smells, etc. We know he was overstimulated because whenever we venture out like that before nap time, Tuck sleeps for only 30 minutes before waking up screaming...probably a night terror...from being so stimulated. Fortunately, I was able to get him back to sleep, and he stayed that way for another two hours.

Fast forward to dinner time. 

Ryan's cousin and her husband (and their granddaughters) treated us to a delicious dinner and Christmas cookies (thank you again!!). Tucker was in his high chair at one end of the table. Ryan was sitting in a chair to the Tucker's left. Noah was sitting to Ryan's left. Liam was in his booster seat to Noah's left at the other end of the table. I was sitting on a bench to Liam's left. There was an empty space on the bench between Tucker and me. 

I said to Ryan, "I am so thankful to be home. We've been home for over 3 weeks, and still everyday, I am thankful to be home."

All of the sudden, we heard a familiar song come on the radio.

"Lord I come. I confess. 
Bowing here. I find my rest.
Without you I fall apart.
You're the One that guides my heart."

The next thing we knew, I heard THREE little boys start singing in unison...

"Lord, I need you, oh, I need you.
Every hour I need you.
My one defense, my righteousness.
Oh God, how I need you."



Ryan looked place at our table sitting empty. 

He said, "Hey Amy," and nodded his head toward the empty place. I turned to my left and saw the empty bench, really noticing it for the first time...

...and it hit me what he was trying to say.

Before I knew what was happening, tears filled my eyes, and I was crying with my face in my hands. Ryan came around to my side of the table and lifted me up. We just embraced while I cried for a few minutes, Ryan doing his best to hold himself together.

You see, adoption changes you. It has changed me. It has changed Ryan. It has changed our marriage. It has changed our family. We cannot help but see an empty place at our table and think of a child who does not have a mommy, a daddy, or three beautiful brothers to eat with every night. That spot deserves to be filled.

There is room at our table. 

There is room in our hearts.

Someday, God will lead us to another child. And I've never believed it more in my heart than I do tonight.


Joy Altman said...

Absolutely beautiful. I love hearing my children sing praises to our faithful Jesus. Caylie has been home 5 months, and her favorite song is "10,000 Reasons", among many others. So, so sweet to see her learning to worship her Savior as she learns who He is. We also know without doubt that we will be going back to China; that God will lead us to another.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

How beautiful! If only every family opened their home and filled those empty spots at their tables than their would be no more orphans.

Anonymous said...

Just precious, and beautiful. Thank You for sharing, and CONTINUING to share your journey...the Highs and the Lows. I look forward to your updates, and love your writing. I'm thankful for your honesty, so that one day..I too, will understand my feelings are normal. I know you have helped SO MANY with your honesty. Thank You for sharing Tucker and the boys with us!! I hope and pray bonding & attachment is continuing to grow each day and look forward to each update!!
~a mom who is praying to be in your shoes someday

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