When I found out many months ago that "Annie" was coming to our local theater company, I didn't know when we would be traveling to China to bring Jenna home. So last night was especially meaningful, having Jenna in her new home with her family and no longer in an orphanage.
But leaving to go to the play was a bit challenging to pull off. I'm thankful that Jenna is doing much better with her daddy, but she was in tears when I left with Shelby to get to the play that started at 8:00 PM. It was Jenna's bedtime, so I think some of the tears were because she was so tired (she'd had a VERY active day, having gone to Monkey Joe's for the first time and LOVED it!) It was hard for me to walk out the door, even though I knew in my heart she was in good hands and would be okay. I texted Jason as soon as we got to the play to check on Jenna and thankfully she was sound asleep.
One less orphan asleep in a warm, cozy bed in a house filled with parents and siblings that love her. That thought stuck with me throughout the production of "Annie." During every act of the play and through each song that was sung, my mind raced to the scenes I have of Jenna's orphanage and how her life is already so different one month later.
The song "Maybe" really got to me. Little Annie is dreaming of her parents, what they may be like and wondering when they will come for her. It's hard for me to think about my precious Jenna asleep in the hard, metal bed at the orphanage, calling out for someone, anyone to come to her in the middle of the night. Can a two-year-old child know something, someone, is missing from their life?
I do believe Jenna knew something, someone was missing from her life. Real love was the "thing" missing and the "someone" missing was a family, parents and siblings who truly love her. As much as I believe the orphanage nannies cared for her and loved her to the best of their ability, it was a totally different type of care and love than what a family provides. Or in the words of Audio Adrenaline in "Kings and Queens," one of my favorite songs, "Every child has a dream to belong and be loved."* To belong and be loved...yes, that is what Jenna knew was missing in her life and now, one month later, I am seeing evidence with each new day of what belonging and being loved can do to a little girl's life!
The song "You're never fully dressed without a smile" in the play last night put me over the edge with sad tears and happy tears. From the moment I first saw Jenna's face on March 25, 2013 until our "Gotcha Day" on November 11, 2013, I dreamed of seeing a smile on her face. I'd always thought she was precious despite not seeing a smile, but oh how I longed, as her mother, to see a hint of happiness on her face. Thankfully that day came on our "Gotcha Day" and her smile has only grown wider.
There have been MANY times in my life that I haven't felt like smiling. People that know me best know I am pretty "real" in the sense of being honest with my feelings, whatever they may be...happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, you name it. But in my honesty, I hope to share the JOY that I have regardless of my circumstances and often that JOY comes out through a smile.
So when I see little Jenna smile every day now, I'm reminded of where she's come from and all that God has in store for her life. And I pray that just as her smile grows, her heart and mind will grow to know how great her Heavenly Father's love is for her, for that alone should put a smile on anyone's face!
*Check out the "Kings and Queens" video by Audio Adrenaline on the link below!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAlE2EnUP5A