Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Finding Place

I sit here at 5:30 in the morning wide awake with many thoughts whirling through me head.  I thought that I better get some of them down so my kids can read this one day.  On Saturday, April 19 2014, we went to our daughter's finding place.  I have wanted to go here for quite sometime, it is always a mystery not knowing how all of the pieces fit together.  I felt that if we went, it might be one more piece that we can help her try to figure out and make some sort of sense of her first two and a half years of life - if that is possible.

On this trip, I was told by my agency that it would not be possible to find.  They said it would be too difficult, but my prayers were answer and God provided us with the BEST guide possible.  Her American name is Sherry and she is just willing to do anything for us.  She is truly willing to bend over backwards for us.  And she has such a great sense of humor.  

We started out knowing that this would be an 1 1/2 hour drive and that it could take up to a half hour to find the spot.  We knew the adoption documents stated that she was placed 30 meters east of the telecommunications bureau in Wugong county and that is what we were working with.  Our guide did not even know if it was the only telecommunications building in that county which would mean, we wouldn't really know where exactly her birth mother placed her.  

We arrived in Wugong county.  They found a telecommunications building and they stopped to ask several different people that kept pointing us back the same building.  We then stopped at a police station.  The police said that was the only telecommunications building in the area, so we knew that it was the right place.  We drove back to the building and got out of the car.  My hands were shaking and I felt like I didn't know what to do next.  I had packed several items to make a poster to hang at her finding spot.  My prayer in doing this was that her birth mom would get to see it and know that her daughter was okay.  That she would know that her daughter was alive.  She survived.  She made it.  We took the items from our bag and began to assemble this poster.  We had the finding add that had the date and where she was placed, a baby picture, a picture of her now and a picture of our family together.  We asked our driver to write out what we wanted to say.  It went something like this... "This baby was found here on in 2009 and was adopted in 2011 by an American family.  She is happy and loved."  We brought laminate sheets and then assembled it all together.  We took out Nate's compass and started to walk 30 meters east from the building and there on a corner in front of a cement wall there was a large pole.  We decided to hang the poster on the pole at that place, and then Nate and I decided to pray.  We prayed for her birth mom and prayed that she would find that poster and know that her daughter is safe and happy.   We prayed that she would know that her daughter is loved.  The tears were flowing, as they are now when I write this.  It was such a powerful moment that I didn't know we would  even get to experience, but God is so gracious.  And we are so thankful.  

We then walked around and watched the people.  A group of three people walked up and the one was a young women that had grown up in Wugong and then moved to Xi'an.  She spoke a little broken English and asked us what brought us here.  We explained and she thanked us for visiting their town.  She was very sweet and they all kept thanking us. We had many stares-more than in the other parts of Ch*na where we have been.  Sherry told us that we were probably the first Americans to ever come to Wugong.  It was a very poor area.

We felt that something to give to our daughter was important - something that she could hang onto from her birthplace.  We walked into a few stores up the road from that place but they didn't have anything that would be really special.  Our guide walked us into the telecommunications building and tried to find something with the name of the building on it, but they didn't have anything.  We walked back outside and she took us around the corner and there was a little shop.  We walked inside and there was probably 15 women sitting at sewing machines making blankets, pillows and scarves.  The ladies took us to the back and there was a room filled with items that these lovely ladies had made.  Everything was so beautiful.  We settled on a pink silk throw pillow. They put it in a bag and that bag had the name and address of the telecommunications building on it!  

After we purchased the pillow and said "goodbye", we walked back out and decided it was time to go. It was hard to leave.  This was my daughter's birthplace.  This is where she would have lived and grown up and life would have been hard.  God had a different plan for our sweet girl.  I am thankful that He did or we would not have the opportunity to raise her and love her.  But my heart also aches for this amazing women who carried her and took care of her for the first week of life and I imagine, struggled with the decision to leave her.  

See I believe in my heart of hearts that her birth mom cared deeply for her.  And we will continue to pray that she finds that poster on that little corner that for most people in this world means nothing, but means so much to me, to Nate, and to her birth mom.  That corner is where my sweet girl's life was changed forever.  That corner is where a mother's heart was broken when walking away from her sweet baby.  Someday I am sure that my daughter will stand at that corner and try to make sense of it all.  My prayer is that above all, she knows that her Creator had a very special plan for her life.  And even if all of the pieces never completely fit together, that she feels she fits because she is created in His image and His love for her exceeds any love her birth family or her family has for her.      

Monday, September 3, 2012

One year later...

Yes, I realized that my last post was in January.   We have a lot going on here...all good things though!

So the last two weeks have been a time of reflecting back on our journey over the last year.  On Saturday, September 1st, was Hayley's anniversary of one year home, and August 21st, was the one year anniversary of her "Gotcha Day".

It is amazing to see how far she has come.  For the first six months or more, she was quite angry at times, she was ripped away from her whole life...everything that she has ever know.   It makes sense, but so heart-breaking to watch her go through these difficult times.  At bedtime, for the first few month, Hayley would scream and kick and pull her hair out, but now we read books and sing songs.  She now lays down and gives me a big squeeze and a kiss.  And says "bye, have a good night, see you in the morning, bye, see-ya" every that order.  Until about 6 weeks ago, Hayley would cry, sometimes scream, every time she would wake up in the morning or from her nap.  Now, she calls "Mommy".  For the first 11 months, often times Hayley would push Daddy and her big brother away, if they tried to give her a hug or a kiss.  Now she gives them hugs and kisses and you can see that she truly loves them.   She is finally letting her guard down.  She is finally starting to feel safe.  She is finally believing that we LOVE her, we will NEVER LEAVE her, she is OURS.  We now see a sense of security in her that we hadn't seen until a little over a month ago.

Hayley started school this past week...just preschool 2 mornings per week.  I thought we would see how it went.  Usually, up until recently, in any new situation, she would cling to me.  She has always had very high anxiety in new situations.  She was really looking forward to school, and we talked about it often over the summer.  Hayley walked right in, and said goodbye.  It was hard to leave her, but at the same time such a good feeling that she felt so secure.  She knew that I was coming back to get her.  The first time that I really saw how secure she feels with me, with our family.

I cannot even begin to describe how much I love her.  To brag on her brothers for a minute...they have so far exceeded my expectations.  She has been quite difficult with both of them at times, but yet they are so patient with her.  They are so proud of her and feel the need to care for her and protect her.  They are incredible big brothers.  I melt when she jumps into her daddy's arms, and see the relationship with the two of them turn into something beautiful.  He is a proud papa.

We have been asked often, especially lately, if we will adopt again.  Yes, we both believe we will, but have no idea what that timing looks like.  It could be next year, or it could be five years from now.  We are waiting to see what God has in store for us.  But in the meantime, God definitely placed something in our path.  We started a new business that is supporting adoptive families.  We started a company called "Promotional Hope".  When companies purchase products, like shirts, hats, mugs, key chains, USB drives, ect...these items can all be customized with their company's logo and information.  We, then, give proceeds to families that are struggling with the costs involved with adoption.  We cannot wait to see where God takes us with this business!

So this has definitely been a year of change, but all of these changes have grown our family in positive ways.  I cannot imagine life without our spunky, funny, sweet Hayley girl.  Thank you God!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pushing Boundaries

With both of my boys I was definitely not amused when they "pushed the boundaries" of what they were allowed and not allowed to do, but with Hayley, I have to admit it's a little different.  I actually find myself smiling and maybe even a little happy that she is pushing the boundaries.  Why?  Because it means that she is comfortable...she's at home.  She gives me that little smirk and does what I just told her not to do again and runs away laughing. You know...a typical two year old that wants to test every ounce of patience in you?!  So I guess I view this test a little differently this time.  To me it says that my little girl feels safe.  She knows that she can push the boundaries, end up in time out and that I will still love her.  So for right now, I can say that I am actually enjoying one of the more challenging parts of parenthood.  Ask me in a few months....I may tell you otherwise!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home for Christmas

I remember this time last year.  I had one thing on my mind for Christmas...bringing my little girl home.  At that point, I had no idea what she even looked like.  Now, I can not imagine my life with out her.  She brings so much joy to all of us.  She is spunky, funny, sassy, full of energy, always smiling, and our best Christmas gift that we could have this year.  I so love this little girl.  Her brothers adore her, and she adores them.  Yesterday, when her daddy came home, she ran to him and hugged him.  That melts my heart!  I feel so blessed for the family and the life that God has given me.

Merry Christmas!!! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hayley and Anthony

Exactly two months ago was our "gotcha" day!  Today we took the kids to a skate park in Sellersville.  While the boys were skateboarding, I was watching Hayley ride her little bike with training wheels.  I couldn't help but think about the last two months, and all the things that have changed in her life.  She has been able to experience so many new things.  She looked so happy and carefree...the way it should be for a two year old little girl. 

So in one of my previous posts I mentioned a little boy that lived in the same orphanage where Hayley lived.  Take a look at these pictures.  The first one is the two of them in the orphanage.  The second one is in China when we met for the first time, and found out that Hayley and Anthony came from the same place.  And the third picture is from tonight, when our families met for dinner.  Can you believe it?!?!  There are millions of orphan children in China, and our children went from Xianyang, Shaanxi, China to living 30 minutes apart in Pennsylvania.  A huge blessing from God that these two children can grow up knowing each other.  

Today was a good day.  For me, a day of reflecting, and a day for me to just say "thank you God for this precious little person that you have brought into our lives"! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Little Feet in the Grass...

I love trying to see the world through my daughter's eyes.  There are so many things that we take for granted that she has never had the chance to experience.  One example...grass!  The first time she saw it, she looked down and decided that there was no way she was going to step on that strange looking stuff.  Then, we showed her that it was perfectly safe to walk in, and she was certainly not convinced.  It took a little time to show her that it was fine, and now she loves to run through it.  The other day, I decided to take her shoes off and REALLY let her feel the grass.  This was her reaction...

Then she couldn't help herself. :)

Imagine never experiencing grass!  It made me think of all of the children that are there until they are 5...8...10...12 years old and they have never felt grass!!!  The things we take for granted!  God thank you for grass, trees, flowers, and all the beautiful things you bless us with each day. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life as a family of five...

We have now been home for just over 2 weeks.  It has been difficult, but amazing.  It is amazing to see how far this scared little girl has come over the last month.  I feel so blessed when I look at her smiling and watch her playing with her brothers.  She deserves a life full of love and happiness.   God has truly blessed us with an adorable, happy little girl. Hayley has her moments of struggle, as I am sure she will over the next few months or even years that she is home.  God will get her and us through them...I know!

Our trip overall went very well.  The jet lag was pretty rough in the beginning.  Especially when Hayley decided to wake up between 3-4am the first 4-5 days that we were home. :-)  But now I cannot complain, she is sleeping great!  She sleeps all night, and takes a nap too!  I can deal with almost anything when I have had a good night sleep.

Aidan and Cameron love her to pieces, and they both have been so great with her.  They are patient with her, and are constantly showing her love.  She is a bucket of endless energy, and fortunately Cameron is the same way!  I think he is the only one that can really keep up with her!  Hayley is also starting to do really well with her daddy too.  He came home today, and she ran over to give him a hug and kiss, and they played outside for a while tonight.  It has also given me a welcomed break here and there. 

Tomorrow we have Hayley's appointments at CHOP.  It will be a long day for her.  We have three different appointments scheduled...all in one day.  Poor thing...that is the last thing she needs, but we figured it was better all in one day.  If not, we would have had to go down to the city three different times. 

We are all adjusting to life, as a family of five.  And we are all in love with this new little member of the family.  I now cannot imagine my life without her.  She has the cutest smile, and she always makes me laugh.  She loves to give me kisses, and loves to snuggle after her naps.  She loves to get her books and sit on my lap.  She loves to sing 5 little monkeys...over and over.  Yes, I love her.   When I look at her and think of her being back in the orphange that she came from, I feel so thankful that God chose me to be her mom.  It gives me strength to keep going, if we are having a tough day.  It makes my heart break for the other children that are still there...

God thank you for my little girl.