I wrote this letter to a group of people who have supported, loved and prayed for our family as we've shared our home with Tejan. Because I've felt so much love and support from you, my blog readers, I wanted to share it here too... (Happy Friday!)
"First of all, let me apologize for not writing an update for so long. I feel as though in the past 6-8 weeks we've settled into such a nice routine with Tejan and I think I've just wanted to enjoy it...
We are down to our last few weeks with T. in our home. He has a couple more doctor's appointments - mostly follow-ups on previous procedures, and one dental surgery scheduled for the 28th, but other than that, he is pretty much finished with the medical care he came here to receive. Depending on how things continue to grow and heal, he may need to come back at some point for more treatment but at this point, he is being released with a clean bill of health. Praise God for His provision for the tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical care given to Tejan. I have been privileged to meet the most wonderful medical professionals through this experience and pray God's blessings on all of them for their generosity and for their loving care.
While it was challenging to get through all the medical stuff with Tejan, I fear I am up for the biggest challenge of this whole experience in saying goodbye. People have asked me all along "how will you let him go back?" And I've always just replied with "keeping him is not an option." Because that was an easy answer. And it was never presented to us as a choice. But that doesn't really address the heart of the issue, does it?
I find myself confronting so many emotions - and dealing with Kyler, Savannah and Ethan - who are dealing with very similar feelings. Tejan has become a part of our family. While it may have been wiser, in retrospect, to protect our hearts a little more, we chose to love T. completely as a brother/son. And now we have to face the consequences of that. I don't regret letting him into our hearts. Not at all. It was inevitable. But now I have to let this boy - who is in my heart my son - go half a world away.
I believe great things for Tejan. I know God has mighty plans for this amazing little boy. And I believe his time here will be an integral part of who he becomes. I look forward to seeing how God uses him. And I trust COTN completely to provide what Tejan needs to reach his potential. It's not a feeling that I could do better that makes it hard to say goodbye. In fact, it's probably the opposite. It's difficult to recognize that we are not the best option for Tejan. That while he has found his way into the depths of my 'mother's heart', I am not the best person to raise him to maturity. He belongs to Africa. To Sierra Leone. To God.
And so we will say goodbye in a couple of weeks. My prayer request from all of you is for wisdom in how best to impart all I have in my heart for Tejan. I know much of what I am thinking and feeling is better left unsaid (to him.) I want him to leave us with great anticipation for his return to COTN. I don't want him to feel torn. I want to impart confidence that COTN is his God-given family. And yet, I also want him to know that he will be in my heart and prayers every day for as long as I live. That he is permanently etched in who the Goins' family is... that he has blessed us and given us a new identity. And that I love him...
So please, as you remember our family, please pray for our transition back into life without this noisy little African boy who has made us laugh and cry and clench our fists in frustration. Whose presence has matured my children. Whose stories have opened our eyes to a much bigger world and made us laugh. Whose hugs and kisses have warmed my heart through and through. I cannot imagine his empty bed... his empty seat at the table...
And pray for Tejan. That his time here in America will not harden his heart for his homeland. Pray that he will be inspired and hopeful and generous because of all that he saw and learned and received here. Pray that he doesn't miss us. Pray that his friends welcome him with hearts of joy and not jealously. Pray that what could be a very hard transition will instead be miraculously smooth by God's grace.
Thank you all for your investment in our family during this time. You prayers have been answered time and time again as I have literally felt the sustaining power of God's hand holding our family up all these months. And if I am a little tender hearted and teary eyed when we meet, know that God will heal my heart. I believe it. Please believe it for me."