Dear Joshua ...

by Kristi Van Dyk

I think about you all of the time.
I pray for you.
I pray that you are loved, cherished, well-cared for.
I pray that someone gives you hugs and kisses.
I pray that your friends treat you well.
I pray that someday, probably not right away, you'll come to know and love our family.
I pray that God gives you courage. 

I can't imagine the challenge we're asking you to consider. We're asking you to meet us, get to know us, and then leave - leave everything you've ever known, to spend hours on a plane to arrive in foreign country filled with so many unfamiliar things. I can't imagine the thoughts that will run through your head. I can't imagine what you'll think about us, about the hotels we will stay in, about the airplane you'll travel on.  (You will be the YOUNGEST Van Dyk (in our home) to have ever flown on a plane!!)

Today, especially, I'm thinking about some new friends you will meet. You see, Joshua, here, in the United States, your adoptive family is part of a tribe. It's a really big tribe. It's full of people who love each other; who sacrifice for each other, who work to demonstrate care and concern by serving each other in times of need. We do this because we desperately want to be like Jesus. (I hope I get to introduce you to Jesus sometime too! But for now, just know, He has taught us everything we need to know about what real love is!). 

I'm thinking about your tribe Joshua, the junior members of it ... There is a precious posse of them, sweet boy. They will probably be greeting us at the airport the moment you arrive here! The tribe won't sleep at our house, but they will visit, often. They are learning to love you, now, and making that known in the actions the take! 

These little tribe-lets are Conner and Elise (Eden probably didn't want a picture taken). They have collected quarters, talked about selling lemonade and baked you cookies today. (I wonder what you'll think about cookies, chock full of sugar and candy ... maybe you'll despise them and help Mommy refine her diet by refusing to eat them ...). These friends can't wait to ask you questions about your country, and they want to know so much about your part of the world. 

We are going to use the cookies out at our garage sale. So all day long when people ask us about the treats we can tell them about you. I simply can't wait. I love talking about you, Joshua. I love telling people about the journey that you are courageously making. I love telling people how I am inspired to be as brave as you will have to be ... 

So, tonight as you're heading to bed, I pray that God tells you, somewhere deep in your heart, that a tribe of people across a big ocean is thinking about you. We are praying for you. 

I'll eat a cookie for you (just one) ... and promise to have your tribe-lets bake a few more when you're home so you can try them. 

Hugs and kisses,
Mommy, Daddy, and your tribe (well, probably just hugs from the tribe ... we don't usually kiss)

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