We all have our favorite Christmas songs. The ones we get a little teary-eyed or have goosebumps when we hear the first strands played.
Our family's favorite Christmas song by far is "Silent Night" for many different reasons, but especially because it reminds of someone who is now at the feet of Jesus singing this and many other songs of worship.
And we all have those Christmas songs that we're not too fond of. That for whatever reason we hope the radio will hurry up and finish playing so that we can get back to belting out our favorite carols.
"Mom, can we adopt the loneliest boy or girl in China?"
I turned from making dinner a few months ago and ran over to our precious daughter coloring at the table. There will be so many moments I'll forget about this adoption journey, but that question. Never.
"Yes, of course sweet girl. God will show us who the loneliest little boy or girl is and He'll bring him or her into our family."
That's how long he's been in our arms. 365 good night kisses. 365 good morning snuggles. 365 days of smiles and laughter.
365 days seems like a long time to have a child in your life, until you calculate how many days there were before you: 1,020 (or somewhere close to that). 1,020 days divided between his birth family, the hospital, and his orphanage.
And all the sudden, those 655 days we didn't get to hug or kiss or snuggle or watch him grow seem like a long time. But we're grateful that for one year he's been ours. We still have time to make up, but each day with him is precious. This year has flown by at lightning speed and yet it seems like we can't remember life before this little ray of sunshine entered our lives. We have 365 days and ways to be thankful we didn't miss out on this precious blessing in our lives.
"Pregnancy brain" is hitting hard these days. In the last month or so, I've forgotten...
...to write a church event on the calendar (and scheduled to work instead!)
...a doctor's appointment (and then realized I wrote it on the wrong day anyways!)
...a meeting for work (that I was supposed to speak at!)
...what I really needed at the grocery store (but leave with a cart full of everything else!).
...to write a check for notarizing important documents (Praise God, I remembered right before the envelope was sealed and sent!)
And these are just a few of the things I realize I have forgotten lately! Who knows what other balls have been dropped the past few months as we journey on this adoption road again, with all the papers and deadlines and appointments and important information we need to juggle! I distinctly remember about a week before we flew to China to bring our son home opening our refrigerator one bleary-eyed morning and being perplexed why an ice cream container was sitting in there (insert face palm and then sad face!). Yep, adoptive moms crave ice cream and accidentally put it in the fridge too!
But there's one thing I honestly forget every day and I'm OK with it.
"Mom, come play with me!" I heard a little voice plead from the backyard.
"Sorry, honey, I can't. I'm busy," I responded. Again.
Some days, that's all I feel like I say. Busy with adoption paperwork. Busy with grant applications. Busy with business work. Busy with working to make extra money. Oh, and then there's cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, and the list of endless chores a mother juggles every day.
The adoption process is hard and it takes tolls on your body, just like pregnancy. But the difference is the tolls are invisible. You can't look at a woman and say, "Wow, you really look like you're adopting!" Or "Adoption looks good on you!" (But I'm actually glad no one comments on my appearance these days, because if they were honest, they would probably say, "Wow, you really look tired!" Or "Adoption makes you look exhausted!")
Is the cup half empty or half full?
Personally, I remember this question mystifying me as a kid. You look at the top of the cup and there’s nothing there, so obviously it’s half empty. I’m not sure when my perspective changed, but I do remember it being a light-bulb moment, “Oh, I guess there is water in the bottom half of the cup!”
When you jump into the ocean of precious faces, names, and stories of numerous orphans around the world, it is easy to get into a half-empty type of mindset. Of all the heart-shattering images and stories I’ve encounter, none has wrecked me more than “Rosie,” a precious small soul we saw briefly at my son’s orphanage in China.
What's the scariest word in the English language?
Sky-diving. Bungee-jumping. Crocodile-wrestling (or "wrastling" for our Texan friends).
Yes, these might be some scary feats, but we believe that the scariest word in the English language is also one of the shortest and simplest: yes.
Y.E.S. Yes. Really?
"There are no small parts, only small actors."
Somewhere in my elementary years, I delightfully encountered bossy Mrs. Armstrong and the motley Herdman gang of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I remember feeling outrage as each unruly child bullied their way into the Christmas pageant roles, only to breathe a sigh of relief at the end as they truly portrayed their characters that first Christmas: messy and scared, but willing to give all they had. They might have been small actors in that play, but they definitely played a big part in helping that community to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
Recently, I was studying the book of Acts in a Bible study and we were looking at the lame man being healed in chapter 3. It's a well-known story of Peter preforming a miracle for a beggar who then leapt and praised God. However, the leader posed a new question that struck me, "What if Peter did have money?"
"What's the hardest part of adoption?"
We get asked this question often. Oddly enough, it's the easiest question to answer. If you would have asked us this two years ago before we dipped our toes in this amazing, but difficult world of adoption, our answer would be the same as it is today. It's not the paperwork or the money or the travel or the trauma.
The hardest part of adoption for us can be summed up in two words: only one.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival from our family to yours!
What is this special Chinese holiday? It's when "people and the moon reunite to form a full circle," as an old saying goes. There's a lot of mystery shrouding when and where the traditions in this festival started, however one thing is clear: it's a time for families to come together and celebrate with food and fun! Most families make or buy mooncakes, which come in a variety of flavors: egg yolk, lotus seed, green tea, red bean, and many more!
It can be intimidating to attempt celebrating a holiday that you've never personally experienced. We as adoptive parents know that it's important to observe our child's birth culture, but how do we do this when Chinese culture is foreign to us?
Easy! Pinterest, blogs, and the good ole internet will be your new best friend! Here are a few simple ways we celebrated our son's Chinese birth culture today: mooncakes, lanterns, and, of course, food!
I’m not much of a movie crier. I think I can count on one hand all the movies that have made me cry, including Charlotte’s Web. (The part where she dies alone always wrecks me.) However, I sob through every adoption story I can get my hands on. (I highly recommend http://www.thearchibaldproject.com/ if you want to binge watch some.) The part where the family meets their new son or daughter for the first time makes me gush tears of joy with and for them. I can barely see the mom and dad hugging their usually sobbing child through my own puddle. I personally think it is one of the most beautiful miracles on earth, to go from alone to known, lonely to forever loved...After years of watching these amazing stories, I naively assumed that the emotions surrounding adoption were isolated to joy, excitement, and steadfastness. Once a family chose the road to adoption, they felt nothing but elation at the thought of welcoming their child home. My heart leapt with delight as I hoped that one day this would be us...Fast forward to July 2017. We knew ever since we lived in China that someday we would adopt from China, however had to wait until we met all the qualifications. I had researched adoption agencies and had already requested information from CCAI. It was a stable time in our lives and we were ready to begin this journey. Full throttle ahead! And then...China changed its qualifications that exact week and we were stuck waiting another six months until our daughter turned two and a half. A lesson in patience that I was not so thrilled about!..During the six months of waiting, I had high hopes of researching, planning, and preparing. I had lists of things to do to make paperwork later on go more quickly. However, as each day went by, I could never get the ball rolling. I’d always come up with some excuse as to why I couldn’t sit down in front of the computer and dive into this mysterious world of adoption. During the waiting months, we would start talking about the adoption and our conversations would spiral downward into frantic worry....
How are we going to pay for this? What if we adopt a child with more significant needs than we can pay for?
What if we lose our house, jobs, everything? What if we can’t give our daughter the attention she needs too? What if life never gets back to “normal”?