**this was typed yesterday and I fell to sleep before I posted it. We are now down to two more days**
Today ZhenAi woke almost smiling at me! *almost*
She was like a different girl from the morning before. We went for breakfast and met our guide early for our consulate appointment. It was far from speedy but once her and I got called up to the window the 'interview' began.
I stood to the side as the lady asked her if she wanted to go to American with her new mama and baba. ZhenAi pointed to her crippled hand indicating she has a handicap and can not speak. The lady thought that was interesting that she was trying to tell her b/c of her hand she could not speak, I assured her she does comprehend though. When asked...she gave the most dramatic nod! The lady turned to me and said "wow, that was an emphatic YES!"
She asked her a few more questions and then signed all the paperwork.
So today marks the day she really became our daughter!
She had a much better day today. She had several big melt downs but thankfully all were in the quiet of our room.
For those of you who are not familiar with international adoption...grieving is actually a GOOD thing. We would be very concerned if she were not grieving. This is a huge life altering event for her and grieving is not only expected but actually prayed for! As strange as that may sound...it's the truth. When a child welcomes their new family with open arms and shows no sign of sadness or mourning the life they are living...we get concerned. This does not mean they are leaving a wonderful, perfect, lovely life. But it's the only life they know. Change is hard. Especially this change. We know that and understand that. Our hearts ache with all she is going through. To interpret grieving as a sign that she should go back to being an orphan and face the horrific challenges that come when she turns 14 and becomes "unadoptable" would be really....(pardon the word) shallow. This is ZhenAi's last chance really of having a forever family. And though her foster family (from what we know) cared about her and loved her as they signed up to do...they were not her forever family. The day she would turn 14years old her life would turn upside down as she would be sent to a nursing home or more likely left to fend for herself on the streets. Adoption is beautiful. It is the redemption of a broken story. A story that was not perfect, was not ideal. We were not her family. For many reasons and likely with breaking hearts, her 'tummy mommy' had to leave her one year old child in a public place where she would be found. That was not ideal. Not lovely. Not positive.
Heartbreaking. Sad. Devastating. For many reasons. Perhaps her mom felt she'd never be able to care for her properly with her cerebral palsy. Perhaps she couldn't afford medical care. I don't assume it was a decision made lightly...it was often made with gut wrenching sobs.
That's where the redeeming power of adoption comes in. It's plan b. It is NOT plan a. It's the only option left for a broken story....a child left by her biological parents.
We were not "meant to be her parents". We are plan B. We are not taking her from her parents...she was abandoned by her parents. Her foster parents were amazing to care for her while she waited for a family. Even they said in the interview "we would love for her to have a forever family to belong to". To belong.
To see adoption in the correct light you have to see the whole story.
Broken hearts...a family torn apart...and then redemption.
Someone willing to pick up the broken pieces and love this child and make them their own. Through all the heart ache...all the pain...all the bruises along the way.
It's a beautiful story.
Does it have pain? Oh my heart. Ask any family who has adopted internationally! Especially a child older than infancy! Sure babies struggle too but they bond so quickly. This story is unique to an older child. Someone who remembers but doesn't truly know. Wasn't told what her fate would be had she stayed an orphan. She was living day by day and enjoying that life but was unaware of what lay right around the corner.
That's why I used the word "rescue".
Yes, yes...I know the quotes and lines that circle around regarding this. But let's look at the whole story. It is a rescue. It's saving a child from the inevitable fate even though they are unaware. Just because they don't see around the corner and the cliff that awaits... does not mean it ceases to exist.
And yes... in many ways adoption rescues us. Saves us from ourselves. Forces us to learn true unconditional love (that we only thought we knew before...!). Forces us to learn joy through pain. And to love and love and love and love and love...even when we may never be loved in return.
If you think parenting is hard...adoption takes it to a whole new level.
This is not for us. This is for her. To give her what her heart longs for. The love and acceptance of a family. A family that is committed to her no matter what. Unconditionally.
And...this story...? This is for Him.