Kajeen's mother has been known to burst into tears on many occasions. As the whole Shevet family gathered today in the dining room upstairs, I remembered to myself how often we had gathered together before for other mothers and children leaving to go home. Kajeen's mother had been present at some of them, listening to us offering words of God's love and our love, presenting gifts, saying goodbye, and now it was her turn. She slowly approached her chair, and sat down already in tears as she knew what we planned to do. After cake, tea, and some music, Jonathan (fellow Shevet member) looked around and asked who would like to begin offering words of love to Kajeen and her mother.
Overcome with love for this little woman, and her sweet daughter, I heard myself begin to say to her "horsh me'we, zor zor" (I love you very much). But before I could even finish a thought, her crying intensified, and she ran over to me and hugged me and kissed me. Kajeen's mother is filled with so much love and gratitude she can't keep it inside in the slightest.
Kajeen and her mother are the type of duo that bring light and love to a room. Kajeen's mother exemplifies the statement that she loved much and was much loved. And as we try to show love to others, we cannot do it purely without remembering that we have love because someone loved us first.
Whether we have Down syndrome, broken hearts, whether we cry a lot or keep it inside, whether we only speak Kurdish or English--God first loved us.
With a healthy heart, and with (we hope) transformed lives, Kajeen and her mother will return to their home in northern Iraq tomorrow. Below is a video of Kajeen and her mother opening the gifts we gave them at their party. Be sure to watch until the end, because Kajeen's reaction and demeanor as she receives the bear (and all the attention) demonstrates what kind of life and love they brought to our family while they were here.
It is always bittersweet to say goodbye to the families. We don't want them to leave us, but we also know their own families have missed them greatly. As we fight back tears of our own, we pray for God's continued protection of them in their travels, and in the years of growth to come.
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