I have had many moments over the last 7 months that have caught me thinking about how our bonding could be different if we had gotten Jesse earlier in his life. But, I also know that God's timing is perfect and Jesse comes to us with so much past that makes him the amazing boy he is. Without his Nai Nai to have loved him so tenderly, he would not be affectionate. Without his foster family to teach him to respect, he would not want to please us. His past has molded him into the joy seeking, life loving boy he is.
And so, we have slowly turned our grieving into celebrating. We are celebrating all the firsts that Jesse does have. Today was Jesse's first time in a sprinkler! Not sure why it has taken until the end of July to run through the sprinkler, but what a joy it is to hear his joyful screams every time the trail of water falls on his head, and the squeals of delight by jumping into the tiny wading pool full of freezing cold water.
Yesterday, Jesse swam three different strokes at a swim meet. He has only swam the freestyle stroke prior to last night. The amazing thing is up until 7 months ago, he had never seen a pool before nor gone swimming. Now he can swim freestyle, butterfly and backstroke! So proud of him!
This summer he has gotten to feed goats for the first time (and even tried the dry goat pellets himself!). He got to pet a horse for the first time. He learned to ride a two wheeler! He has tried BLT sandwiches, root beer floats, s'mores and hamburgers on the grill for the first time. Jesse has been able to try to fly a kite for the first time, zip line for the first time, rappel for the first time, and ride his bike to Holland's candy store in Washington. He pulled out his first tooth, gone to zoo camp, played soccer, he's gone paddle boating, ridden a roller coaster, gone down a water slide, planted a garden and ate fruit directly from it for the first time. He has gone to a parade, played with sparklers, camped in a tent, watched fireworks, and learned about the Chicago Bears for the first time.
We praise God for all the firsts He is allowing us to have with Jesse. We are most excited and humbled to be the first to share with Jesse about the love of Jesus and the grace and mercy God extends to us each and everyday. Today was the FIRST time Jesse asked to pray while in the car. He was worried about his brother and asked that we pray to God to help. Although our paths are not perfect and many times hard, today put so much in perspective with Jesse's first initiated prayer. We are not here to live for us, but rather for Him.