They say one only gets one chance to make a first impression. So we need to make sure our hair is combed, our face is washed, of course, we’re wearing clothing, and we don’t say anything stupid. This last one can sometimes be challenging for me! I would never say something inappropriate, but I’ve come to realize my sense of humor doesn’t often translate to Easter European ways of thinking. What I think might be funny or a way to break the ice could be confusing or even taken as offensive. This would not be good!

In one week, we will meet our children for the first time. Amy and I will travel 4,600 miles to be with them for four days. After which we will return home and wait some more….no doubt leaving half of our hearts in that tiny little town in Pomerania.

I keep wondering what I will say to them. One of my friends recently commented how incredible it is to love a child or children to whom we have given birth, not from our body, but from our hearts. This is aptly said and anyone who has journeyed a road like this could relate. We love them….We see no difference between them and the kids in our home already. When I walk up those front steps, what will I say? What will I do?

I will want to kiss them, and hug them, and tell them how much daddy loves them; how safe they will be with me; how sure I am about all of the incredible & scary changes coming their way in the next few months – that it will be OK, trust me. I will want to hold them – because I never have before – stroke their hair & face, look deeply into their beautiful eyes and sing the song I sang to my biological children when they were small. Just some goofy little song I made up when Chloe was young (like she’s so old at 11!), but that I have sang to every one of my children – still do sometimes. I will want to fix whatever wounds and gashes their little hearts have suffered – knowing full well this will not be possible in a four day visit. I will want to immediately take my place as their “tatus” (daddy in Polish – pronounced “tatoozs”) even though that time has only come in the spiritual sense. I will probably cry when I arrive and again when we leave to head back to the US. I hope they don’t think I’m crazy.

I know a little Polish. I can say “hello” and “I love you” and “beautiful girl/boy.” I have wondered if I should. Do I express these deep emotions to my children whom I did not bring home from the hospital? If this was the BIG trip to bring them home, then ABSOLUTELY….but this is basically visitation rights for a few days. I think the social workers and those in the adoption center want to see if we can do this. Can we connect with these children? Will we want to continue this adoption after we meet the kids? I can tell you for us, this is not a question.

We wonder if the adoption authorities will want to continue with us? What kind of first impression will they have of meeting us and spending time drilling down into our life to see if we’re thinking clearly (I really don’t think they think we are consciously aware of what we are getting into). All we can do is be ourselves, answer their questions honestly, and trust the Lord to be with us and give us favor. Both with the adoption folks and with our children……First impressions will matter a lot.

I think we’ve concluded to simply LOVE THEM ALL.

We will LOVE the folks we meet with in Warsaw who have the power to say YES or NO.
We will LOVE our wonderful agency liaison who will show us the ropes and keep us calm.
We will LOVE the Polish people as we experience their culture and kindness.
We will LOVE the social worker who will “observe” our first meeting with the kids.
We will LOVE the foster parents who have kept our kids healthy and safe.
And we will LOVE our children. Deeply. Honestly. With intensity.

The Bible says “LOVE covers a multitude of sins.” While I don’t think we’ll be doing any sinning, it’s comforting to know the Love of God through our lives overcomes things even as deeply as sin. If I say the wrong thing…….wear the wrong shoes……get emotional about everything……have trouble connecting with one or more of the kids…..over-share……tell jokes no one understands……But if I LOVE them all well, God will help take care of all the unknowns.

So if I’m authentic in my care & concern…..if I prefer them over myself…..if I’m conscientious of my words and how I treat others, particularly Amy…..if I keep my spirit resting in the Spirit of God, whether things go splendidly or if we have some rough spots…..if I make sure to be warm and kind…..if I go to serve rather than be served…..if I honor all of them deeply, honestly… can we fail?

I wish more of us lived that way in our everyday lives. I think I’ve concluded this will be my new norm. My new paradigm. I will just LOVE first…..and let the Lord take care of the lasting impressions.

Eph 5:1-2 – Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.