Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29. The day the Lord has made.

I woke this morning singing.  I quickly realized where I was and what today was and then laid back on my pillow smiling.

I really truly woke singing "This is the day that the Lord has made" and well...that was worth smiling about.

God is so gentle and gracious and gives just the confirmation you need right when you need it.

We did breakfast then we came up and got ready for our day.  Once showered and dressed we went outside and started to walk.  We walked in a store that seemed like a school store.  Backpacks galore, pencils, crayons, notebooks. It was perfect. For $5 USD, we bought 3 notebooks, a pack of markers, pencil crayons, a ruler, eraser rings and a pen.  We put it all into ZhenAi's backpack and headed to a store to buy "orange juice" :)

We came back to the hotel, exchanged our huge wad of money for the fees necessary to pay in China (yes we travelled with over $7000 cash in order to save $150 in wiring fees).  We met up with another adoptive family and loaded in the bus.

"selfie" leaving the hotel.

Waiting for the bus.

Miss Nazara Journey. Hard to believe this beautiful little girl was the one who I was violently ill with (newly pregnant) last time we were in China! Only fitting she should return with us :)

It's times like these that simply stand still.  The before and after of this moment that was about to occur is like being in labor...the child not yet born...about to change your world forever.  That...that is what that bus ride is like.  Just like in's not the time to wonder if you are ready to be a's happening. Ready or not.  And you are trying to take in the sights but you can't.  Instead your mind is racing...what is she thinking? Where is she? Is she scared?  Does she know?

We walked into this strange building in the middle of a residential area.  The moment we walked in I had a feeling it was going to be awkward so we pulled into a 'bathroom' and got the kids situated.  I asked Dean to come in too and told him I had a feeling she was just sitting there and we didn't want to walk in on an amazing moment 'not ready'.  Once we pulled out of the was the most awkward arrangement. The room was tiny.  Three families were there meeting their children.  A jack hammer (yes...a jack hammer) was going like crazy in what sounded like the very next room. Children were screaming in the trauma of the moment. My eyes were darting like crazy. No one was leading us we were just standing there.

 Then I saw this girl just sitting on the couch right in front of me.  In a bright yellow puffy winter jacket.  Just holding her hands. I whipped around and said to Dean "I think that's her". I can see the wonder on his face as we are  both in shock at how this moment is going to happen. Not as we pictured. Not as we wanted.  Equivalent to realizing you are going to give birth in the car on the way to the hospital.  No I haven't had that experience, but I've envisioned it.  Not what you dream of.  I immediately bend down and sit beside her. She pulls away.

The lady beside her says "MAMA" pointing to me and ZhenAi quickly puts her hand up and shakes her head rapidly back and forth.  The lady pulls out the photo album and shows the picture of me.  ZhenAi sweetly smiles and keeps shaking her head and pulling away.

I fill up with tears.  It's so hard to fathom what's going on inside her mind.  I just sit there showing her the photo album and she is keeping a safe distance.

It's hard to get photos...everyone is on top of each other. The jack hammer has not slowed down and in fact is going non stop at this point. Children are screaming as they are meeting their new parents for the first time.  ZhenAi is staring at me like "not a chance" and clutching her little gift bag I had my friend deliver to her just Thursday.

Dean is being called to sign documents.  I'm doing my best to have her warm up to me.  Izrael and Nazara are wide eyed taking it all in.

I hand her her new back pack with her name embroidered on it. She doesn't even look at it. Just quickly puts it on and sits back.  She has a bag of apples in her hand and the orphanage director instructed her to open them.  She struggled to open the bag and gave an apple to Ray and Nazara. They love apples and smiled as they took it thanking her.

She put the bag back in her backpack. I showed her the orange juice and opened it. She took one sip and hurriedly put it in her back pack.  She had no interest in opening it.

The moments there were long.  There was a magical moment when she had to fingerprint the forms and her hand was covered in ink.  I took her to the bathroom to wash her hand.  She put soap on her hand but then starting yelling and grunting that the water didn't work. It didn't.  There was a bowl with some water in it so I showed her and she smiled and put her hand in.  I put my hands in and started scrubbing her hands. She smiled and let me. At the end she let me dry her hands.  Dean was there to snap photos and they are my favorite.

As we got ready to leave she stiffened.  She saw the bus and kept saying no and shaking her head. She finally yelled "mama" in a bit of a panic.  When our guide pointed to me and said Mama she was saying no over and over.  We called for the orphanage director and she came and said something to her that made ZhenAi almost run to the bus.  That concerned me.  I asked for an interpretation and was told she said "go play for one day and come back tomorrow".  Ahhhh!!

She did great on the bus and at one point had her leg resting on mine.  There were a few amazing moments with speech. I gave her a candy and she totally said "thank you".  Later we walked by a shoe store and she said "More shoes". Nazara fell to sleep and she kept telling us "SHHHH".  She saw gum in Walmart and said "GUM" and put it in the cart.  The guide said she does NOT speak english but...

Later she copied everything I said. Everything.  Cognitively she seems really really smart.  The guide said she doesn't say much in Chinese and says it very poorly.

She is wearing layers and layers of clothing and it appears as if she will be sleeping in it.  She will not let me touch her shoes or coat and when I gave her pajamas she quickly put them in her back pack :)

I cannot promise that this post makes sense. Everyone except ZhenAi and I are sleeping.  It's been an incredible day.  Tears. Joy. Pain. Grief. Loss. Hope.  Above all...? love.

At the end of the day she has her dinner stuffed in her backpack but she's laying beside me in bed. She is watching everything I do. She's fully clothed and has her shoes on as she lays here in bed with me.  Right before this she knelt on the floor beside the bed, holding her back pack in a fetal position. I just stayed beside her rubbing her back. Every time she looked up she smiled but quickly put her head back down. I was sure she was crying but she wasn't.

So much pain. So much loss. So much fear.  There is beauty here.  So much beauty.

ZhenAi Pei  Qin Poppy...has a family.  And we...have a new daughter.

The magic is in the surrender.

XOX from Kunming.  Signing off as a mama of 11.


  1. Thank you so much for posting! Crying tears of joy and or heartbreak for you and your beautiful new daughter. Adoption is such a beautiful thing, and you have described it so well- thank you!
    *from a hopeful future adopting mom, waiting for God's call!*

  2. Thank you! So incredible... tears. thankfulness. prayers.
    She is sooo incredibly beautiful. Praying for sleep for all of you tonight.

  3. Ohhh rejoicing with you. What a beautiful precious daughter!! Congrats!!
    Hugs to you all. XO

  4. there are not words t[o say except , God is so Good and He knows what he is doing!!!

  5. It's so hard to imagine what is going through her beautiful little head. What a life she has had -- what a future she's going to have. Crying along with you. What touching moments you had today! Hope she will sleep and be open to you guys tomorrow and feel comfortable going 'home' with you! And hopefully she'll start eating the food and not squirreling it away in her backpack! Hugs!

  6. Janice and Dean, praying for each of you for strength and courage and patience. Praying for ZhenAi for God to cover her with bliss and feelings of love and security and that her prayers have been answered for a loving family and healing. And praying that she begin the realization that she need not keep her life and prized possessions in her backpack. No longer need for such oversight. She's super cute. XO. To your rest and rejuvenation. <><

  7. I can only imagine the confusion and LOVE that your sweet girl is feeling right now...whether she recognizes it yet or not, she is one of the most blessed little girls in the world to call you her parents. I'm praying that the transition will go smoothly and her heart will be comforted knowing she is loved and in the right place!

  8. Well, you made me cry! Congratulations Mama!
    And so the journey begins,

  9. Thank you for taking the time to report on such an incredible day.may the Lord provide abundantly for your needs in this period of adjustment.And what a blessing to have Tanis keeping the home fires burning for you!

  10. Beautiful day for beautiful family of God. May He continue to unite you as a family. May peace,comfort and His rest be with all of you. Many answered prayers this day and many answered that are not yet visible. Poppy is beautiful and your ridiculous faith is bearing amazing fruit. Continued favor,grace and His strength, He is your rear guard as you press on the narrow path. His love is so radiant in all your family.Thank you for sharing your journey it is a HUGE blessing to me and many others.