Sunday, March 6, 2016

Breathing deeply here.


Trying to breathe deeply.


ZhenAi is really struggling.  It's hard to tell exactly what is happening but it's increasing.  Is she grieving? It seems more like she's realizing this isn't a field trip and she wants to go home and she's really freaking out.  She stares at the window and points and then starts to wail MAMA as she points out the window. She is NOT talking about me.

Today has been interesting. She does best when out but by tonight we were a bit afraid she was going to melt down out in public b/c when she does...ayyyy.

As I type, she is in bed fully clothed. She does not want those pajamas and I almost got kicked in the face.  Music is playing on Dean's phone and she has finally quieted.

This afternoon she completely melted down. We needed help and called our guide. She tried and tried to talk to ZhenAi on the phone but she was adamant she was NOT coming to that phone so we had to carry her to the chair so she could actually hear the speaker phone.  Our guide was amazing and talked to her forever. ZhenAi just sat wailing...then sobbing...then crying...then she stopped.

A few hours later and we were back to the same place again.  She is glaring at me like how dare I take her mama's place.

I'll be honest...what a strange place to be in. To know you are rescuing a child (not from her foster family...from her future as an orphan) know you are helping...loving...providing something she cannot even fathom...and yet to be treated like you are stealing her.  

Ever love someone and they reject you...?

Me too.


Yes I know this isn't about me.  I got that.  I'm also processing through all the emotions of this journey.  Good thing I do know that it's not about me.  Because this would be a wake up call if not...!

I've barely gotten a smile in the last few days.  Not for lack of trying.  If I could read her expression it's "not a chance are you going to be my Mama!"  It's lovely.

Hard things.

Just because I CAN do hard things...doesn't mean I want to. Doesn't make it fun. Easy.  Enjoyable in any way. doesn't.

I can do them.  You know how I know that? Because I've done them before.

And...I've survived.

Leaving me to conclude I CAN do them.  Because I have. And the reminder is good for us all.  It acknowledges two important facts:  some things are just plain hard.  Let's not sugar coat it.  Hard.  Not fun.  Not exciting. Not positive. Hard.  You wouldn't choose it.  You don't want to go through it.  But it's what is in front of you.

Hard things. also acknowledges that you can do it.  You can decide ... you can can.  Choice.

I can not because I want...but because it's right in front of me and I see no way around it.

I can do hard things.

Today mid afternoon after melt down #2...Izrael yelled out to me and I go look to see ZhenAi has taken all (yes...ALL) of her clothes off and is totally naked.  She's laughing.  I'm not.  My heart is pounding.  I get her clothes off the floor and give them to her motioning for her to put them on and she pushes it away, puts her hand up to stop me and shakes her head no over and over.

Oh. My...goodness.


I had to tell her sternly she needed to put her clothes on.  She put her lip out in the biggest most exaggerated pout you can imagine and finally obliged.

I don't know what that was about and perhaps I don't want to.

Then came meltdown #3.  #4.  #5.  And now we are ending the day on a number I'm not sure which.

I wish I knew what she knew and understood.  My heart tells me she does not understand. That this is not 'grief' but confusion.  I could be wrong but it seems like she thought she was a on a little getaway with this random family and it's been fun...but it's time to wrap.  

I try not to ask questions of God. Especially the questions I know He won't answer.

So I pray...sometimes without words.  Sometimes simple one word prayers like "help....!" sometimes two words: "help....please...."  I try to put my questions into statements: "you are here..." but often end them with "...right...?"

Tonight it's way-too-strong-coffee...a heavy dose of chocolate and my faith.  My faith that even now...trumps my fear.

Always.  Always choose faith over fear.



  1. First of all, we will be announcing this at meeting this morning for prayer. This is what we can do because ZhenAi is going through a traumatic even in her life. We know what the future holds for her, but all she knows is the past. She cannot see how awesome her future will be because she doesn't have anything to relate good to. One piece of advice that my social worker gave to me was to try to find something that makes her happy-whether it is a thing or a position. Rebekah used to take her 3rd and 4th fingers and cross them. Abby founding rocking herself on the floor was her happy place. Bethanne told me that they have had this thing bring them happiness in their little world and it has worked for them. Maybe for ZhenAi it will be a pen and paper for her to draw. I know I am not walking in your shoes because your circumstances are not mine-just like my circumstances are not yours. Each adoption story starts out differently-some start out horrible and end up good. Some start out good, turn to horrible and end up good-but everyone is different. Although I can't understand exactly what you are going through-I can tell you I do understand and feel your pain. I remember feeling I had made the worst mistake of my life for about a year after Abby came home. Everyday she would tear paper off the wall, write on the walls, kick me, hit me, have nothing to do with me. I really thought I misread God's intent for my life. Now I know, but then I was sure I had a made a mistake. God does give help during that time. I truly pray that God will give you peace and that He will comfort ZhenAi during this time of her life. Lois Pike

    1. Yes, being our 5th international adoption, I do know each story and child is very unique in their process. I do believe this is very different with her age (12y), her developmental delay (which is significant), and combined...those are together creating quite a storm. As I have blogged about already...we have tried drawing with her but she has no interest in that in these last few days. And while I too have had newly adopted children reject, kick and freak out at me...they were young children. Toddlers. Not 12 years old. This is a whole new level. And as I said at the end of the faith always trumps my fear.

    2. Sorry, Janice. I know you know all this because you have far more experience than me, I was trying to help.

    3. Appreciate that, Lois. I'm not ungrateful for you reaching out at all. Please don't take it that way. I know it's hard to fathom how much more difficult it can be adopting a 12 yo vs an infant/ toddler but having done both...woah. Please continue to pray for her and us.

  2. Praying Janice that your faith will continue to trump your fears. Praying for peace for ZhenAi. And praying for wisdom for both you and Dean. Hugs

  3. I know what I am about to say might upset you and possibly many people but I cannot be silent one more day. I am begging you to look at what is happening through the eyes of this child! As a social worker I have worked with traumatized children and teens for years. Poppy is experiencing extreme trauma. You are not rescuing her. You are ripping her away from everything she knows. Her mama, her dada, her culture, her country and you even changed her name. She was in a loving home (as you stated) for 11 years. You are right when you say you are stealing her. She is not in agreement to this move. It doesn’t matter what you think her future should be. Yes, she was on a government adoption list but she would have aged out in that loving home and her care would have continued. Many children “age out” in the care of loving foster parents. It happens in Canada and the US all the time! I am a foster mother and an adoptive mother. I would be devastated if someone just showed up and took my 12 year child I had been caring for without any reason. (by the way, many people who foster are told not to adopt because of the expense of medical bills, therapy, etc., otherwise they would have). Have you even spoken to her foster parents? If not, how can you even consider, as a mother and a human being, taking a child without their consent, without her knowing who you are, without sharing vital and important information that only they as her sole guardians would know. How do you know they are not amazing, loving Christian people? Is it possible that by meeting with them, that you might see how loved she is and understand that maybe this “journey” was for another purpose? What if your “ridiculous faith” was to expose how terrible international adoption can be? What if you are suppose to change how it happens and how children should be treated? Maybe your journey was to teach others how traumatized these children are and how this is nothing more than legalized kidnapping. Please Janice, listen to your heart and your own words. This isn’t about praying that Poppy’s heart becomes quiet and “surrenders”. This is about a family deciding to do the right thing for this child. One final question, who is Poppy’s advocate? Does she have an unbiased representative that is looking out for her? In Canada and the US, children (even babies) are provided with a child advocate lawyer to represent their rights and keep their best interests at heart. Please think... could this exact same scenario happen in the United States? Please don’t hurt this child.

    1. I have similar questions. Have her foster parents been consulted? Even if they are in agreement with the adoption, they are the very people who would be able to help her make a smooth transition. They could give you tips on what helps her calm herself, what comforts her. That she wasn't told until the last minute that she was being adopted, that she was told a few days ago that she was just visiting with you and she would frightening and confusing to her when this didn't happen. She doesn't know what or who to believe, she doesn't understand your language, she is about to enter a culture completely foreign to her.

    2. I have myself adopted from china. I do not belive she would have aged out and could stay in that home, Even if that is how it works in USA. This is China. A complete different culture who do not look after or aknowlege their children that Are handicaped. Yes, this is cruel, but you are now blaming Janice who tries to make the most out of this girls terrible situation. Janice is transparent and telling as is, and I have not for a minut thought she didn't know it feels like kidnaping to this girl. She is just sharing her emotikoner and beeing real!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I spent 13 plus years without knowing God as my father. I was happy there, but because I didn't know what God could do for me, with me, in me. Sometimes I went to church kicking and screaming, if not on the outside definitely on the inside. But there was a breakthrough and I accepted Christ as my savior and God as my father and am now a child of God. I have grown and continue to grow because of Him. Without Him, there was no spiritual growth. My life is so much more because of Him. He didn't give up on me and decide that since I was happy where I was to just leave me there. Even though I didn't see it at the time, I am so happy that God has adopted me into his family.
      ZhenAi may have been happy where she was, but she knows nothing else. She hasn't experienced any growth. She can barely speak her own language and cannot write. You can't tell me that is what is best for her. This may not be easy for her, but if only she knew, could understand, what Dean and Janice can do for her. Not to mention what God can do for her and the chance for her to hear the gospel and come into a greater family.
      She may be losing something good, but she is gaining something far greater.

    5. First off...I find it very cowardly for someone to post such an aggressive post and do it under "anonymous". You should at least have the decency to state your name.

      While you may be a social worker for either the US or Canada (you didn't state which), international adoption is very different than domestic adoption. Western foster care is also very different than China foster care! ZhenAi's hope at a successful future if she stayed in country as an orphan is also very different than those of foster children in the states.

      You are making assumptions that ZhenAi's foster family would actually want to or have the means to continue to care for her once she turns 14. A majority of the time that is NOT the case.

      Yes...ZhenAi is absolutely experiencing extreme trauma...she is absolutely grieving deeply...BUT that doesn't mean that this adoption should be dissolved with her being sent back to the foster family that may not even want or can even have her come back!!

      I have been thinking about your response all day and have so much more to say but at the end of the day, your opinion truly doesn't matter. I want to shift my love and encouragement to this precious family. To the Walker family, Please know that our family is fervently praying for you! What your sweet girl is experience is so very normal and with time and God's healing, she will do incredible!! We have adopted many domestically and internationally. We know trauma on a very deep level but we have seen incredible healing, redemption, and restoration. Praying for God's peace to sweep over all of you!!

    6. Do you want to know why it takes extreme courage to blog openly and transparently? You just read it above. Someone who has never adopted from China, does not know how it works and what happens if you walk away...comes offering their expertise. I cannot tell you how many adoptive parents have reached out to me privately thanking me profusely for my courage to tell the truth. This is the risk I take. Thank you for your concern. Sincerely. Please don't interpret what God meant when he asked us to take this step of Ridiculous Faith. He meant to expose the horrors of international adoption? Tell that to my 4 other children that have a whole new life and new hope today because of international adoption. I'll let them in their child like faith answer you.

      So much of your comments has no merit that I'm not sure I should reply in detail. I will say this, we begged to go to the foster family. BEGGED. The orphanage director actually got angry with us and our guide was telling us to stop b/c I begged and begged. I said repeatedly I wanted her to have closure. To say good bye. And they said in this SWI it is against the law. We are not allowed to have any contact with the foster family. Here the foster family know they are caring for and loving the children until they find a forever family. You don't know what happens at age 14. Clearly. Because if you think life continues on and everything is lovely and are so sadly mistaken. These families are poor. They are subsidized to care for these children. They don't keep them past that point. Also while I'll be forever thankful for the foster family, let's talk facts. They did not put her in school b/c she was too "disabled". They did not take the time to teach her because she seems to have some ability to learn. Even the guides have said it appears as though she was written off as mentally disabled and not given the time to learn and grow and develop.

      So if you are a all means...pray! Pray for all of us. And I don't even have an ability (nor a desire) to rip her away. She has to consent. If she does not, then it's over.


  4. I am praying for you. You are right, this is hard. I know a tiny piece of what you are going through... we were there in China just over a year ago with our almost 9 year old daughter. She has made so much progress this year. Thank you for being there to give your daughter a future.

  5. Oh, sweet Janice… just keep going. She's going to bloom. It may be a few months, it may be more. But... she. will. bloom. And... she. will. thrive. Having followed your story for quite a few years, watching you walk through your past adoption journeys with grace, I've seen your actions put into words, and I know your heart through this world of blogging. Your emotions poured out, your love for our God pouring right from your heart… He's there. In that room, in that country, on that plane, through the dark moments/hours, through the joyful moments/hours, through the trip "home"… He. is. there. And He's with your sweet girl now, as He's been for the past 12 years, and He's not leaving you now. He never will. He's already waiting for you at your next stop. This isn't your first "rodeo", as the saying goes, and you can do hard things, (and so can I), because of our faith in Him, and the strength in which He provides. You keep going, my friend. And you keep sharing, as you wish. No matter what, know I am praying for you, Dean, ZhenAi, as well as your other children, and all who have any interaction with her adoption journey… and I trust I am not alone in my praying.

    While you have a front row seat of witnessing her progress and growth, (which will come), I truly am excited about seeing her thrive. Her new brothers and sisters are going to love her up… the best is yet to come, I just know it. Hang in there, and hang tight to Him. Standing on the Promises, and sending love far across the deep blue sea. (Which He made with His hands.) He's awesome… don't forget that!!! And His faithfulness is overflowing. Much, much love!! xo

    "He's a good, good Father…"
    Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 11:28-30, Lamentations 3:23

  6. Chelsea I teared up at your comment. Adoption is a picture of salvation. We have talked about it many times. We kicked and screamed happy with where we were but God has something so much bigger. This is His story. His. His alone.

    I do ask that those of you who comment here think through a few things before you hit "publish". Is it kind? Is it true? Is it helpful? The laws of interaction in person DO apply online and in social media, though we seem to forget that.

  7. I love reading your blog. I love it because of what you are doing, and because you are so honest when you write. We have never adopted, and we have only 2 children. One has ASD. It is hard. But I have taken your motto for myself... I can do hard things. We have seen miracles that the "professionals" cannot explain. With God on your side, you cannot fail. Giddy did not promise ease, just that he would be there for us, that he would never leave us or forsake us.i don't have the same experience as you, when it comes to raising a house full of kids, but His promise is just as true for your family as it is for mine. "He inclined and heard my cry". Keep on keeping on! Lauretta

    1. The fact is only the truth can inspire others. Thank you for following our journey and bless you in your 'hard things' XO

  8. God bless you for putting yourself out there, Janice. Don't let others get you down. Others may not share your faith or viewpoint, but God's got this one, and He doesn't care what anyone else thinks. Love you friend.

  9. Last night, I prayed that God will give you and Dean strong backs. Literally. We have a 10-year-old who sometimes has meltdowns that can only be redirected by carrying her to the van and then driving her around until she calms down. From this experience, I know that it takes a strong back to pick up a struggling child. May you have wisdom throughout all of this.

  10. Prayers of blessings for you and your sweet family now, knowing that God is faithful to continue to lead you each step of the way. Praying you will feel HIS power strengthening your heart as you continue to walk by faith and not by sight. It's so hard to watch our babies hurting! =( HE's a good, good, Father and your family is loved by HIM. His ways are perfect and on that day we will fully understand HIS beauty even in this struggle. Thank you for vulnerability as you share your spiritual walk with us all. Blessings, from a mom who has tasted the joy and stigma of adoption.

    1. Jamie, thank you. And yes...I know you too have walked this often lonely path that keeps your knees worn as you cry out for help. XO

  11. I am so sad and sorry that not only are you dealing with ZhenAi's grief, trauma and confusion but also some criticism from strangers. I have 2 undergraduate degrees in social services and though by NO means do I claim to be an expert, I do consider myself well read and educated with a love for God and a heart for children! I am also a trauma survivor--albeit not adoption related.
    All that being said, I can only imagine this is terrifying for ZhenAi BUT, even with social work background, I couldn't and wouldn't tell someone this was not the right thing to do as long as I knew that everything was done legally and compassionately and that you have her best interests at heart. (And I feel like i do because I have followed your blog for awhile now and I know your hearts!)
    I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you, praying for you and especially for your sweet girl that her fear and confusion will dissipate! Hugs, Lori

    1. Lori you are such a sweet, faithful friend. XO

    2. Thank you, Janice... I just want you to know that many stand behind you and believe in your integrity and due diligence in this hard but worthwhile process. More importantly, God stands with you and will bless you for your faithfulness! I believe that there is NO WAY all these doors would have opened leading you to ZhenAi were it not God's will!
      Love you guys!

  12. Janice, I'm so humbled to be able to follow your journey! Thank you SO much for being vulnerable and sharing! It breaks my heart to read some negative posts in here, especially when you are doing GODs work! Being HIS hands and feet!!! Like you said, don't worry about the 10, just the 90! Praying for you all! May God wrap his loving arms around you all during this difficult time!!!! Xoxo