Providence, Eden and Sam are of course a big part of this journey. Being that a new child in the family will drastically effect their little worlds, we figured we should include them from the very beginning. Along the way, they have said, prayed and asked some of the cutest things. Such innocence. I must say, however, that it has been hard to explain the time line to the kids. Then again, it's hard to explain the time line to myself. (We told them all along that Malachi was coming after Christmas (of '07), as that was our best guess. The closer it got to Christmas, the more they talked about Malachi coming after Christmas. It dawned on me that they really were probably thinking that meant Dec. 26th. Once we figured that out, we slowly started preparing them for a little longer time frame - maybe Easter?!?!?!) I sort of compare it to pregnancy. You tell a child you are pregnant, and somewhere around the 6th or 7th month time frame, I think that they begin disbelief and rather just think you are getting fat. :) (For me, that was more like month 2.) Well, although there is no excuse for weight gain with an adoption, some days I wonder if that disbelief has set in just the same. If it hasn't, it's another God thing. There are certainly days that I think they still get it. Those are some of the moments I want to share.
Providence prays often for you to "be found". She prays for you to be safe and healthy and warm. She is quick to inform us that there are 6 people in our family, not 5. Even tonight, Aaron was playing wrestle with the kids and stated, "It's a Britton sandwich". Provi replied - "nu-uh, we are missing one" ...meaning you, Malachi. In fact, Provi was perhaps a little prophet before this process began. Upon getting a new kitchen table (when Provi was 5), she counted all the chairs. Realizing that there were 6 chairs, she told us that we needed another kid in the family. We asked her why, and she replied telling us "because there is an extra seat at the table". She talks to her classmates and teachers all the time about "her little brother that lives in Africa". When she draws pictures of the family, you are already included. And most recently, she has begun telling people that we are getting a boy and a girl - siblings - from Ethiopia. Prophet, or eavesdropper ??? Huh. She says she can't wait to hold you, and what a big help she will be with "this baby". After all, she says she's ready to start babysitting. (She's 7 1/2 at the moment.) I guess maybe she does get it still.
Then there is Eden. One can never really know what is spinning around in Eden's head - until the moment she says it that is...which is usually the moment right after thinking it. In other words, she processes her thoughts out loud, and immediately upon thinking them. Very funny. And even though she tells me often that I look like I have a baby in my tummy, I'm pretty sure she knows you aren't coming from my tummy. :) I've already spoken of her greatest moment ever in all of this - referring to you as a "baby with dots" rather than an adopted baby. I still laugh at that. But she prays for you often as well. She tells us she wants you to be like Addie, and Noah (children of some friends). We told her that you were going to look more like Tido (her baby doll that is dark skinned). She didn't like that. We started getting a bit concerned. Until we realized how she was interpreting that. Tido is a doll but Addie and Noah are real, small, cute, and funny. She says she wants you to be tiny though. It took some working through, but I think we understand her. Not that she understands us, but oh well. Just the same - she "can't wait for Malachi", and is very sad that you don't get to sleep in her room. Of all the kids, she is the one who I think is most often in disbelief of you ever really coming home (mostly b/c she says, "you keep saying that" in regards to saying you are coming home).
Last - Sam. Your big brother. He told us tonight out of nowhere that you were coming before he turned 4 (which is May 26th). We hope he is right! He prays for you to be safe also. He knows that you will share his room. The girls got bunk beds recently, and he knows he's getting some too once you are here. This, he is very thrilled about. He says, "when Malachi comes, I get a cars bunk bed". Don't count on that. :) He wants a boy to wrestle with during the day because "boys are for wrestling, and mommy is for cuddling". Must get very boring during the day just cuddling with mom. Sam does talk about you often, and also asks a lot of questions (like if you will be able to read when you are big like daddy, or if you will play football with him and daddy when you are big). He is still pretty young though, so who knows what he's thinking about the process. One thing is for sure - he's ready to share his room with his brother.
The only other thing I can think to share about our conversations with the kids about you - is what you will look like. In an effort to continue to prepare them for the fact that you will not look like us, I asked the kids what they thought you would look like. They decided that you are going to have small ears (like Mommy), big eyes (like Provi), little lips (like Eden), a big nose (like Daddy), and tall (like Sammy). We'll see.... :)
One thing is for sure - you are already loved by your family... Dad, Mom, Provi, Eden & Sam.