- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - A late morning in the playroom at the home of Brent and Abby Rosser is a typical scene of siblings. There are boys chasing each other around and wrestling, and a teenage daughter cuddled on the couch, trying to wake up.

“Yaya!” yells 5-year-old Ezra Rosser, running across the room to throw a soft, inflated globe at his 11-year-old brother, Knox. Exaggerating a fall, Knox goes down in grand fashion.

Mom Abby Rosser watches with a wide smile. “Yaya is the Lingala word for big brother or big sister,” she explained. Just two months ago the family managed to get its adopted son, Ezra, home from Democratic Republic of Congo.

“He understands most of what we say,” Abby Rosser said. “Hey Ezra, can you show where Congo is on the globe?” she asked, motioning to him.

His arrival in April was a long time coming - four years, in fact, of waiting. Congo’s refusals to grant an exit visa for the preschool-aged boy, expired paperwork that had to be renewed, and general government red tape on both sides of the world prevented the family from bringing home Ezra, who officially and legally became their son in 2012.

Abby Rosser, who writes “Blessed in the Boro” for The Daily News Journal, has been chronicling the family’s journey in her column.

For a long time, the family kept suitcases packed and ready to travel.

“Multiple times we had gone and bought clothes and bedding and made plans for him to come home,” Brent Rosser said. “Each time we’d start making plans for us to get him, there would be some kind of delay or shutdown, either from our government or from Congo government.”

But days turned into months, months into years. Abby Rosser said it was hard knowing they weren’t able to be there for their son, especially the times he was hospitalized for malaria and a broken collarbone.

“It was heartbreaking. We had several times when it looked like we were about to go and something bad would happen and throw another kink in it. That was a big part of this, it was this emotional strain of now we will, no we won’t,” Abby Rosser said.

A painful visit

In October 2014, the Rossers traveled to Congo to meet their son, knowing they’d have to leave him behind. They left their twin teenage daughters and preteen son at home.

“We felt we were called to go see him,” Brent Rosser said. “We got to spend a week with him. At the time he was at the orphanage. We mentally bonded with him. . We had so much fun with him.”

When it was time to go, Abby said her husband wept like she’d never seem him weep.

At one point, the family worked with Ezra’s social worker in Congo to get him out of the orphanage and into a foster situation. During that time, they were able to communicate with him some. The social worker also worked hard to check on Ezra, taking him cake on his birthday and visiting to make sure he was OK, she said.

Still, they waited. Then earlier this year, they got word they could really bring him home. The family was met with a crowd of loved ones as they stepped off the airplane after 24 hours of traveling. In pictures, there’s an exhausted and overwhelmed Ezra clinging to his Papa, which is what he calls Brent.

Becoming an American

Coming home to “Merica,” as Ezra calls the United States, has presented some challenges.

“The language barrier is the biggest thing because there are times we need to go somewhere and we have a hard time describing where we are going and preparing him for places we need to go,” Brent Rosser said. “It’s even harder when you want him to do something, or you don’t want to give him something. He gets frustrated sometimes.”

The frustration of not knowing the language and being overwhelmed by a new life in a new place, has produced the occasional tantrums. He’s just not yet able to channel his anger.

He often uses a sort of sign language to communicate, but they’ve had to really encourage him to use his words, even as broken as his English is, in order to learn.

But he’s learning.

“Sometimes I just have to put him in a hold him and tell him, ‘Mama loves you, Papa loves you,’ and tell him Mama is not mad,” Abby Rosser said. “He’ll turn around and say, ‘Chorry, Mama, chorry.’”

He is learning social skills. In just two months, he’s finally able to attend Sunday school with his mother.

“I’m not sure how much he understands, but he seems to like it,” Abby Rosser said.

Ezra has quickly learned to like American food, too. When he first arrived, he seemed fascinated by the amount of food, and that it was readily available.

“He would eat and eat and eat. They say to let them do that,” said Abby Rosser, explaining that the overwhelming appetite may be a response to not having an abundance of food at the orphanage. His appetite has settled down, but the growing boy - who is always moving - still has a hearty appetite.

“He ate an entire rotisserie chicken one time,” Abby Rosser said, laughing.

Overall, he’s an extremely happy child, she said.

“He says, ‘Mama, I love ‘Merica,’” Abby Rosser said.

God’s timing

Brent Rosser said he’s been most impressed with how easily Ezra assimilated to a new family environment.

“His first weekend he came home, it was Sunday and everybody was home. He just latched onto the kids and was playing outside with them. I think that happened a lot faster probably because he is a little bit older,” Brent Rosser said.

The journey to get Ezra home has challenged the faith of the Rossers. Patience and waiting on the Lord’s timing was a big lesson, Brent Rosser said, although there were times he admitted he questioned God’s plans.

“We felt from the beginning this is something God wanted us to do, even though it didn’t happen in the timeline we wanted, or the way we wanted. … God has a plan for all of us, but it’s not necessarily my right to know what that plan is all the time,” Brent Rosser said.

“In the grand scheme of things, I learned God is faithful in the end.”

___

Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com

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