I remember when Mei Sims had been in our life for a week and how very hard each day seemed.... I didn't know how we would ever feel like a functioning family again.... each moment of each day seemed so difficult & draining... I can remember at that time, saying to Derek over and over again "I wish I could just blink and we could be two months down the road".... I just knew that time would make it better.
Well, it happened.... even though days were long, it does indeed feel as though I blinked and here we are.... so very thankful to be here.
As I see friends head out to china to get their new babies now, I'm so excited for them but I also have this gut reaction of "thank you Jesus that it is not me this time".... and as I wave goodbye, saying "have fun! go get your baby!" I do so knowing that I need to run home and get on my knees in prayer for them... I know what is coming.... kind of like when you see young couples giddy & pregnant with their first and you give a jaded little laugh as you wish them luck.... because you know what is ahead.... don't get me wrong, I loved my newborn babies but I did not love the sleep deprivation.
Walking through this journey with my dear friends, I have seen that we each have a unique experience and unique struggles at different points in the process.... I feel like MS had one of the harder transitions to us and our home at the beginning but you want to know the strange thing? I honestly wouldn't change it for the world. I'm realizing more and more that by choosing adoption, we invited chaos, heartache, and pain into our home.... but we are now experiencing a sweetness and joy that would not have been possible without all that crud on the front end.
Adoption is also a lot like pregnancy/labor.... in the moment you think "I will never do this again." But time somewhat softens the memory and you get to a point of total thankfulness for all you have walked through and all you are continuing to struggle with. As there is more distance from the harder moments, your brain begins to say "maybe, just maybe. I could do this again." Now don't jump to any conclusions here. My life and heart are very full from my 4 kiddos. I lay in bed at night thanking Jesus for entrusting each little life to us. When I was in the hospital, having just delivered Henry, I knew there was one more child for us.... i also knew this child would not be born of my flesh.... I can't explain it other than God gave me a sense that our family was not complete. Now, I "feel" like my family is complete but derek and I are both totally open to God's plan for us since only He can truly know our future...
This post may be all over the place but there is so much to catch up on with our little monkey. I'll start with the funny things people say... they mean well, really they do.... just doesn't always come out that way. While nothing will ever top the comment of "your little brother looks like he speaks spanish" there have been some funny ones. Walking into publix the other day, the bag boy shouts out "WHERE YOU GOT HER?" Oh my. I replied "She's from China." He replies "You adopt her?" "Yes, we did." He was beaming with excitement... of course, I was still laughing about the wording of that initial question. Or what about this comment "It's almost like you had another child." Hmmmm.... I actually did have another child. Then the other night at dinner, Rollins heard me make a comment and screams "WHAT?! She's asian?? Why did you never tell me she was asian?" We cracked up. Another good one came from a resident at the orthopedic doctor "So was she born via c-section or vaginally?" I explained, she is adopted and was abandoned at birth so we can't know for sure.... to which he followed up with "Ok, so is there a family history of hip dysplasia?" Oh dear. Anne Rainey just this morning found a folder in my car and said to me " you should put adoption papers in here and order another girl from china!" The things these kiddos come up with.
There are many reasons I like having an asian daughter.... at the top of the list has got to be that I love that we look nothing alike.... I love that she is different..... I know that is why we get so many comments. It is obvious to the naked eye that something is different with this mother and child. So while I laugh at the strange comments, I love love love that her presence in my family allows me to have meaningful conversations with total strangers.... I like to think that our family is but a small small glimpse into heaven when we will worship alongside people from every tribes & nation.... and while I should have been bolder before to engage in deeper conversation with total strangers, MS now gives me the kick I needed to actually do so. I'm not saying everyone has to have a racially diverse family, but just saying that for me, it is a wonderful thing.
So, back to the comments that the little peanut solicits.... the only one that has made me hurt for MS came from a 3 year old at my children's preschool. I was walking down the hall and he saw us coming and said "where did you get that baby from?" "She's my daughter from China?" "Why do you have her?" "She's my daughter who we adopted from china?" He proceeded to follow me down the hall and scream "But where is her real mama?" Knife to the heart.... as I replied "I am her real mama." I know what you are thinking "it was an innocent 3 year old" and I get that.... I was not offended by his questioning. Rather the pit in my stomach came from thinking that in 2K she may already have to answer painful questions from kids about her "real mama." That just seems so young. Her birth mom will always be an open discussion here and we will celebrate her life.... after all, we would not have MS if it were not for her... but I think "real mama" will be a phrase that continues to sting the both of us & cause a sense of loss for her. Of course, just because we talk about it in our house, doesn't mean my kids are always smooth with the comments. I remember a while back, Rollins going up to a little chinese girl at church and saying "do you know where your birth mom is?" I guess at least he worded it correctly, right?
Other random updates: Mei Sims is quite the adventurous eater. She eats foods that my other kids would never dream of eating... the most notable include raw onions, raw bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, pickles, any chicken salad... and really most anything that comes near her mouth.... although she hates popsicles, ice cream, and strawberries. She has also said her first word.... "Uh Oh"... said as she is throwing food from the high chair. MS can now wave goodbye to people and freely gives us hugs and kisses.... I no longer have to react like a crazy person as evidenced in that video in order to get another kiss. I took my first shower last week with MS playing happily outside the shower door. I can also dry my hair with her playing at my feet as opposed to clinging to my ankles screaming in agony. She will now venture around the house even if it means leaving the room that I am in. I even left the house to get my hair cut and go to the dentist... leaving her with Derek... and it was a very nice and much needed break from my sidekick.
Mei Sims surprises us each day with the funny, cute, sweet things she does. She is so full of personality and life. The video at the end of this is of one such moment when we went out to dinner last week. She suddenly began opening her eyes really wide and when we would do that in return, she would smile and squeal.... it was really hilarious and fun that she came up with this game on her own.
As I watch her personality unfold, I can't help but feel that she is relishing in the new freedom & love she has been given. It is almost like her senses are heightened and she is able to experience love & security on a level that I have never seen before.... The only parallel that I can think to equate it to would be if you were blind and your sight was restored.... a sense that was once lost is regained and it would be with wonder and amazement that you would see things for the first time.... In a sense, I feel like her concept of love & life was so dull and dark, that it has been awakened and it is like a taste of heaven to her as she soaks it up.
If you could glimpse in our room every morning at about 6:15, you would understand what I am talking about. I am not a morning person typically but right now, this is the sweetest time of day. Her crib is at the foot of our bed. Every morning, I am woken up with a little head peering over the rail and screaming "da!" I might add that several weeks ago when this was NOT my favorite time of day, I jokingly coined the phrase "the bobbing black head of death".... I don't have my glasses when I wake up so I could only see this blurry dark blob bobbing up and down and crying first thing each morning.... it meant death to my dream of sleeping longer... there was no early morning sweetness then! But thankfully times have changed. Now when Derek grabs her and throws her in the bed with us and what follows is such a portrait of MS basking in her new life. She will cuddle right up next to me, giggle, smile, look in my eyes and then on her own initiative, plant a big kiss on my lips.... smile, nuzzle more and then move over to Derek.... where she will snuggle, hug, kiss, smile and then move right back to me.... it is back and forth... over and over.... sometimes she even stops to just wiggle around in the sheets and laugh out of sheer joy... it is as if she cannot even fathom that it happens again day after day after day..... she wakes up and we are still there.... and she can barely contain her excitement as she lathers her affection on us.
There are still many songs on my "adoption playlist" that I haven't shared here but that God has used to speak to my heart. I thought I'd share the lyrics to one more... they seem so appropriate right now. They spoke to me before we even went to china but now the words strike a deeper chord in my heart. Once again it is a Beatles song.
Can't you see it? She was like this broken little birdie... she was created for something so much greater... and now we get to witness it as she relishes in her new freedom.... becoming who God made her to be... as I try and take it all in, I am left speechless.
|Learning the joys of feeding herself yogurt.|
|Excitement as she chased a balloon.|
|Having fun in the bath...|
|Playing on the trampoline.|
|Mei Sims or Harry Caray? You decide...|
|Anne Rainey said she was "making my eyes look like chinese people."|
|Cracking up at Daddy being silly.|
|The rest of the family having fun...|
|sweet sleeping baby|