Preparing for adoption often involves hearing a lot of scary stories. Stories about children who were so upset by being torn away from everything they’ve ever known that there were days of shutting down, refusing to eat, and screaming whenever the new parent looks at them. Sometimes though, that’s not the way the story goes at all. Sometimes, adoptive parents wait for the other shoe to drop, and it just doesn’t.
Meet Kristi and her beautiful daughter. Krisit is guest posting at Red Thread Advocates today to share her story of an adoption that defied the odds. While Kristi was very prepared for all the possible outcomes, her daughter bonded to her amazingly well, and continues to be a happy, healthy and firmly attached. No adoption is without challenges as a family struggles to find their new normal, but that doesn’t mean that every child will struggle long term. Sometimes, it all just goes beautifully.
The first page of my adoption journal reads, “To our precious child who we haven’t met or seen, yet have an overflowing love for.” I wondered as I wrote these words who this little one was and how long would it be until I would see her face. I prayed that it would be soon.
My husband and I had both felt a tug on our hearts to adopt when we were younger and with two biological children we felt God urging us to move forward with the adoption process. We had a two year tedious, “paper pregnancy” and I procrastinated many times and felt disconnected with the paperwork process in the early stages. During these early steps, it was difficult to see the finish line. Our agency said it could take a year or more to find our daughter. God had different plans.
It was 11 o’clock at night when the phone rang. I was asleep. I never expected a call this early—we had only been waiting two months. My husband rushed into the bedroom with the phone. Our adoption manager, Liz, in Seattle was on the other end of the call. “We think we have found your daughter, and she is beautiful. We are emailing her file to you right now!”
We met her on January 20, 2014. She was scared but brave. She didn’t even cry. As we walked out of the social welfare building, she looked up at me. She couldn’t understand anything I was saying, so she just looked up at me with her deep brown eyes and blinked twice. I sensed her need to communicate with me and I gave her a big smile and knew that we had connected for the first time in a primitive but sweet way. My husband and I held her and sang her to sleep the first night and after a good night’s rest and a big breakfast, she started to warm up to us. Our daughter started smiling and becoming more animated on day two. I knew that God was allowing her to open up to us. We both began to bond with this quiet but affectionate little girl. We also met and began to form friendships with other adoptive families in China.
As we arrived home with our baby girl amidst a record-breaking ice storm, our hearts melted as we hugged all three of our girls at the same time.
The first few months were both challenging and amazing. I watched with excitement as our new daughter started to walk, learned to communicate, and develop a love of music. As she grew stronger, her laughter filled the house. I watched as her sisters lovingly embraced her and tenderly helped with feedings and bedtimes. And I praised God for seamlessly making us into a family.
There have been challenges. She has struggled with separation anxiety and has nightmares occasionally. But what makes adoption amazing, is that that the challenges pale in comparison to the overflowing blessings.
We recently celebrated our daughter’s third birthday and we celebrated her being a part of our family for a year and a half as well. So much laughter and so many snuggles. My oldest daughter has often stated that she “can’t imagine life without her sister.” And my six year old spends her days thinking of new and exciting games to play with her little sister. As her daddy heads to work in the morning, our daughter can be heard saying “The Lord bless you and keep you Daddy.”
Together, she and I, have enjoyed cooking together, picnics after preschool, and putting on our “make-up” each morning. I have been amazed at how my early reservations about her special need have been replaced each day with admiration over how quickly she conquers each new task. Whenever, I hear her soft voice say “Mommy” I swell with pride, even if she does say it a hundred times an hour! Because like so many adoptive moms, I know that attachment is a privilege. It happens slowly like a bird building a nest, one little twig at a time. When the nest is complete, you can see it, touch it and feel its completeness. The bond our whole family shares with our daughter is unbreakable and it is amazing.