|You may not be able to tell, but Anna and Ryan were thrilled at the moment.|
When I started researching adoption about 5 years ago, I would see these profiles of children and my heart would break. I would see a picture of a beautiful child and read about how they just wanted to find their "forever family." Browsing adoption sites and child profiles became a hobby of mine and the more I looked at pictures, the more confused I became. Exactly how does one go about choosing a child to join their family?
I've told this story before, but I assumed that we would instantly know, I mean really KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, the instant we saw a child's profile, that that child was meant to be ours. When I bought my first house in Sugarhouse, after looking at dozens of other houses, I walked in and knew instantly that this was the house for me. When we adopted our yellow lab Abby, I knew instantly that she was the dog for us - again, after looking at about a dozen other adorable dogs.
But with Anna, I didn't feel that instant confirmation. Tony did, but I didn't. And that really bothered me. But after we went to the temple and prayed about it, it felt right. And so we moved forward and accepted the child file that our adoption agency had sent to us. And over time, that knowledge that Anna was to be our little girl grew. By the time we flew to China, it felt like she was already ours. On our "Gotcha Day", I was amazed at the instant love I felt for this little girl the first time she held me. I held her for several minutes while she screamed in fear and then she looked up at me, looked me straight in the eyes for a long time and then she held me. It was one of the sweetest experiences in my life.
Well, last Saturday was another one of those sweetest experiences in my life. Tony and I were sealed to Anna in the South Jordan Temple and Anna is officially, part of our forever family.
We left for the temple around 8:30am and Ryan was especially excited to go to the temple for the first time. Anna didn't understand what was happening, but she loves to go on any excursion.
When we arrived, we dropped off Ryan and Anna at the Youth Center where my cousin Joy (the same cousin who traveled with me in China after Tony flew home) was a volunteer worker and was able to take care of the kids. Ryan was super excited to see Joy and but Anna was a bit anti-social. But when the sealer came down to visit the kids, Anna climbed onto his lap where she decided to stay. Joy then brought Ryan and Anna up to the sealing room where they waited for us.
When we walked to the room, Joy, Ryan and Anna were waiting for us just outside the door. They both lit up when they saw us, exclaimed "mommy, daddy" and they both ran towards us. As we scooped up our beautiful children in our arms, I started to tear up. It's hard to describe how overwhelmed by the Spirit I felt. I felt grateful, fortunate, blessed, lucky and very, very happy.
I hope I remember that moment for the rest of my life.
When we walked into the sealing room, all of our family members were there waiting for us, including my mom and dad. Ryan again yelled: Hi Grandpa! Hi Grandma!" and everyone laughed. It was adorable.
As we sat holding our children while the sealer spoke to us, I tried to keep my emotions under control. What I felt is sacred, but suffice it to say, I felt our Heavenly Father's love for each one of us. I knew He loved me, Tony, Ryan and especially our little Anna. I truly felt the power of the temple and knew that the sealing ceremony would allow our little family to live together forever.
And most of all, I once again, felt that confirmation and knew, really KNEW, that Anna was meant to be our little girl.