In a time when we could feel so alone...so isolated...so afraid...we feel everything but.
To those of you that have prayed. Have given financially to help bring ZhenAi home. Have taken the time out of your day to write me a note. Send me a message. Comment with your encouragement, your heart felt appreciation, you cheer from the sidelines. To those of you who have quietly, in the shadows read our story with teary eyes and said quiet prayers without us ever knowing...
To you. My village.
It may be us that are here...doing this 'hard thing'....but let's be honest...it simply would not be possible without you.
It takes a village and you have chosen to be a part of our village.
It's extremely humbling to be here and know how many are fighting for us from afar. Perhaps with your help with our children...perhaps with your finances along the way...perhaps on your knees. Storming the gates of Heaven on our behalf.
It takes a village to adopt a child. Oh...it does.
In the last few days when by all accounts we should have felt total despair...we have felt hope. Peace. Like we were being carried. And ... we were.
Today was a much better day. ZhenAi did have several melt downs. Tonight after spending a fun evening with another adoptive family, we came home and it all happened again. She was wailing (that's the best word I can think of to describe her cry) and we quickly called our guide to see if she was still here. She was. We asked her to come to our room. She gladly did.
This lady is amazing. I mean...she is amazing. She took so much time and did everything with so much heart tonight. What a wonderful gift.
As we talked, I told her something that has really really helped our other adopted children understand the difference between a caregiver, foster mom and a forever mom. The guide really lit up at this because she said in China, every orphanage nanny will refer to themselves as mama so the child is so confused by the time they are adopted. I told her we finally told our son who really struggled with all the mamas in his life that every one has 2 mommies. A tummy mommy and a forever mommy. For many of us...our tummy mommy and forever mommy is the same person. But for him...since his tummy mommy had passed away...his forever mommy is different. All the amazing people that have cared for him in his life...weren't mommies. They were aunties. I will never forget the look on his face that day, sitting in the middle of the grass in our backyard as the light bulb went on inside of him. He looked at me and said "really? They weren't mommies to me?" it makes me tear up just thinking about it. He genuinely didn't know. That was a turning point in our attachment.
When I told the guide that story tonight she really understood it. And before I could say more, she translated it in her own words to ZhenAi. She talked about how wonderful her "Yunnan Auntie" was to care for her all these years and love her and serve her while she waited for her Forever Mommy to come. I was watching ZhenAi's face and call me crazy...but I think she was understanding at least to some level.
Then we shared with our guide that we are very concerned that ZhenAi didn't get to say good bye to her foster family. She listened so intently and really processed what we expressed.
She then took both of ZhenAi's hands and said "we need to pray". Watching what she did next...I'm not sure it was 'pray' but it was so touching. She took both of her hands, sat right in front of her and said it was time to thank her Yunnan Auntie and say good bye to her. She was so soft, so sincere and so intentional. Nothing was rash, quick, rushed or casual.
Bit by bit she walked through this beautiful, tender moment with ZhenAi. Saying over and over in many different ways: "thank you Yunnan Auntie for all you have done for me. For loving me. For being such a wonderful caring auntie to me while I waited for my Forever Mommy". (all in Chinese of course. I was catching a lot of it and she interpreted the rest for me later). She then said it was time to say goodbye to this wonderful person in her life. She walked through it all having ZhenAi softly repeat after her when she could "bye bye Yunnan Auntie". ZhenAi doesn't (yet) put 2 words together. She only says one word and not all words, even repeated. When the guide realized this she said "how about you just say "yes" after me when you agree?" and ZhenAi did. All the way throughout. Sometimes looking sad but for the majority of the time she had a sincere sweet smile on her face.
When she got up to go, she (our guide) looked teary eyed. Both Dean and I were sincerely expressing our gratitude. She quickly flipped it and said "I can be amazing for a few nights...you guys are amazing for doing the hard things and adopting her. Its going to be a lot of work but you are amazing for being willing to do it".
How do you thank someone for that?
It was beautiful. And humbling to witness.
A precious moment of ZhenAi being given the gift of saying thank you and good bye.
Please remember...it was not our choice for ZhenAi to be told the way she was. We begged to go the foster family so they could both have closure and we were turned down multiple times. I mean...begged. Knowing how hard it would be...we wanted her heart to have closure.
Today...I witnessed so many beautiful things. This village of people....from all over the globe...coming together when we needed you most. Lifting us so we hardly had a chance to fall. And a lady in China who spends her life guiding adoptive families through the process...taking the last moments of her already-long-day investing into the life of our child.
From my heart tonight in Guongzhou...thank you.