Our First Time Together

How do I even begin this post? I know I won’t do justice to the experience and feelings of our family today. Last night as I lay in bed I was thinking of this old hymn…

Bind us together, Lord, bind us together

with chords that cannot be broken.

Bind us together, Lord, bind us together

bind us together in love.

I pray this for our family. We may look diffferent. We may have a completely different heritage and background. We may not speak the same language. But I know that with the Lord’s help, love can bind us all together as a family.

We arrived at the Transition Home where our children have been living for the past 9 months. As we walked through the gates, our eyes searched the crowd of about 50 orphans who were outside playing to try to find our children. And then…it was seriously almost like the crowd of children parted. We saw our boys. They were running towards us. Of course, tears immediately filled my eyes. There they were! My boys! They had no reservations as they ran in for hugs. Taking turns passing from Scott, to Joel, to Hannah, to me. And in the midst of our hugs and family huddle, our daughter came running from the other side of the playground and jumped right in the middle of it all. I got to touch their little faces. I got to kiss their little cheeks. Holding their hands. Picking them up and hugging them close. Breathing in their sweet smell for the first time.

We spent the next couple of hours playing together. Simple things. A game of frisbee with all of us in a big circle. We got out some sidewalk chalk and the boys immediately wanted to show us their English capabilities. I was very impressed. Micah can write his alphabet! Levi thinks he can write his alphabet 🙂 It was actually a lot of letters in a jumble, but boy was he proud! I painted Abigail and Hannah’s fingernails a vivid red. We played soccer. Micah pretty much showed up the rest of us with his ball handling skills. Abigail confiscated my camera and spent a good 30 minutes walking around taking pictures of everyone. We handed out bouncy balls and miniature dinosaurs to all of the kids at the Transition Home. I can hardly believe it, but we got to spend time with our kids today!

There is so much going through my mind right now. Here are a few of the special moments that I am holding close to my heart.

Micah and Levi following Joel everywhere. They wanted to play only with him. Soccer. Sidewalk chalk. Cars. If another boy from the orphange tried to join their game, little Micah would just shake his finger at that boy. They called Joel brother.

Abigail pulling on Scott’s arms and asking to be picked up. Then sitting in his lap. And not wanting to get out. She was fascinated by him. She pushed up his shirt sleeve to look at his arm. Then she asked him to make a muscle and giggled while she poked his bicep.

When I pulled out the finger nail polish, Abigail picked bright red. Then she pulled Hannah’s hand and patted the seat next to her. She said “Sister.” She wanted me to paint their nails the same color.

Joel pulled out the bag of plastic dinosaurs and divided them into color piles. Then he played a game with Micah and Levi where he had them name the color of the dinosaur. Then he had them count the number of dinosaurs in each pile. Those boys did great! They know much more English than I thought they would.

When Abigail had my camera she was taking pictures of everything and everyone. But she kept coming back to me. She took so many pictures of me. I just looked through all the pictures she took today and there I am. Pointing. Hugging Hannah. Passing out bouncy balls. Playing dinosaurs with the boys. Smiling.

When in the midst of a crowd of children, I felt a tug on my arm and heard Abigail say for the first time “Mama.” She wanted me to come with her. She called me Mama.

When we were leaving today. Hugging. Saying goodbye. More hugging. And to hear Joel and Hannah telling their new brothers and sisters, “Wud a hahlo” “Wud a shahlo.” And to hear Abigail and Micah and Levi replying, “I love you.”

Here are a few pictures from today. Aren’t my children beautiful?

My 3 boys all writing their letters


Micah and Joel wrote their names and traced their hands


2 of my girls...can't wait for all 3 of my girls


A picture Abigail took of her sister


A picture Abigail took of her Mama


The Putnam Family minus one



*That this week would bring forward momentum on our petition for Naomi.
*Our court date!
*Favor as we meet with the in-country director of our adoption agency.
*Our health – we are all feeling sick this afternoon. Poor Joel is throwing up.

20 thoughts on “Our First Time Together

  1. Carrie Clark

    So glad you wrote to let everyone share a piece of your joy. I couldn’t help but cry tears of.joy for you all..How beautiful the experience you explained. How tender the stories you shared. They are beautiful children. God has blessed you all..How wonderful. So happy the first meeting went so perfect.

  2. Liesje

    Tears came to my eyes as i read your post. What a wonderful day. To see the picture of the seven of you filled my heart. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you and your family. May everything go smoothly and all your bodies adjust quickly to your new environment. With hug and prayers and love. L

  3. Faith

    Oh Natalie!!!!! There are no words. I sat here and tears just poured. I am so excited for you all. What an amazing start to your new life together as a family. God is in this, there is no doubt. Love you all and praying for you daily!

  4. Nana & Bestafar

    We are experiencing the same joy and thankfulness to the Lord as when we were at the hospital waiting for our grandchildren to be born.
    This feels like we have glimpsed a slice of heaven through your blog. Thank you Christ Jesus!!!

  5. Chastity

    You don’t know me…I found your blog through a friend of both of ours. But I want you to know that I follow this blog and your journey. I keep a prayer in my heart for you daily and cannot wait to see the smiling faces of all 8 of you! What you are doing is the epitomy of God’s work and my heart swells to hear you speak of your family. These children will be blessed beyond measure to have you for a mama and a family. May the journey be much shorter and easier than expected!

  6. Amanda

    I was up past midnight just happy thinking you were probably seeing your children at that time, went to sleep praying it all went smoothly and imagining your joy! This was the best thing to wake up and read-thank you friend for sharing pieces of this amazing journey with everyone!!

  7. Inger Luff

    PRAYING for health for you ALL, especially Joel today! This is my favorite post of all time! That PRECIOUS picture of you with the kids almost takes my breath away! How BLESSED those children must feel, how HOPE-FILLED they must be! Fervently in prayer for your time there, that The LORD, who loves you more deeply than you could ever imagine, would be ahead of your every step! Love you!

  8. Valerie Ayabe

    So. Beautiful. Praying for health, safety, a court date that AMAZES you with its swiftness and ease, a lovely time as long as you remain in Ethiopia, and every blessing as you return with your beautiful kids. Oh, and I found swimsuits in size 6! I’ll have them when you return, if you want them. Love from the Ayabes!

  9. Stephani Gurczynski

    Ahhhhhhhh this is SO amazing! I have so many tears of joy for you guys and for your children. They are so blessed! Praying for safety and smooth transitions and the quick addition of your 3rd daughter! Can’t wait to see you all back in person safe and sound. 🙂

  10. Erin

    This makes me want to cry happy tears! Praise God for all He’s done & all Hes going to do! I wish SO bad I could have been there!!

  11. Christy

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! Love that you are there! Love that you are able to hold your kids and hug them and have them call you “mama…” and say “I love you!” You are absolutely beaming in these pics. I know your heart is so full!!!! Wud a shahlo my friend!

  12. Kristen Novelli

    Such joy on all of your faces! Enjoy this special bonding time…so precious! Praying for all of you daily. My heart is so happy for you & all of your children! The looks on Hannah & Joel’s faces are priceless…

  13. Susan Moerer

    Praying for you all. Brought to tears yet another time reading your blog. Beautiful children, for a beautiful family. love you, Susan

  14. Janet

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us! We are so happy for you. Tears of joy. We serve an awesome God!

  15. summer

    eeekkkk! i could just scream and cry. all at the same time. what an amazing thing this. kara texted me this morning after she had read your post. her response to me was that it was amazing that my boys will know i am their mama when we come to get them. all from your post. what an encouragement to my heart this post is. i can’t wait for more!

  16. Ellen Pfeiffer

    I am grinning and crying at the same time. I can only imagine what you all feel in your hearts and minds. What a joy to share this journey with you. I, too, pray everyday that all will work out quickly and smoothly. I miss you so much and love you even more than ever.

  17. Ann Vallotton

    Aw, Natalie, can’t help but cry when reading your recent posts…especially this one! Seeing the love that your children have in their hearts and for each other is heartwarming!! God is GOOD!!

  18. Georgia

    OH.MY.GOODNESS. I JUST read this post! I’m crying…I’m so excited and happy for you guys!!! How awesome that you guys are a living testimony? Amazing. I can’t wait to see the Putnam Family XL when you get home! 🙂

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