Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Forever Family Day!

One year ago today at 10:00ish A.M., a tall Chinese man entered a government building, exchanged a couple of words at the front door with our translator, walked a few steps over toward us, and placed Airlie in my arms.  I wailed and so did she.  My tears were tears of joy and tears of relief.  I had thought of her so often over the year-long wait, and she was finally OUR baby...an orphan no more.  Her tears were tears of fear.  She was as stiff as a board.  She didn't know how to be held.  She didn't know that she had to wrap her legs around my waist.  She had likely never seen people like us, and she suddenly found herself surrounded in a room full of Americans, speaking an unfamiliar language, and the one with the "golden" hair (that's how the Chinese described my hair) was trying to comfort her.  She was very fearful of Chris, as all of the girls were of their new dads.  A man trying to care for them?  No way!  They had always been cared for by women.  Those first few moments were full of emotions coming at us from every direction!  To top it off, there were about ten children united with their families that day, so it was nonstop chaos in the room of the government building!  Crying, wailing, laughter, anxiety, anticipation, fear, happiness, relief....between the kiddos and the new parents, the room had it all.

I remember being most touched by a couple seeming to be in their forties from Spain.  We didn't know them, as they had traveled with a different agency.  We really couldn't have a conversation with them either, as our Spanish is limited to "hola" and "taco."  However, when they received their little girl, the man literally fell to his knees and wept.  It was so beautiful to see how wanted she was.

Each time a child was received, it was simply beautiful.  I cried each and every time.  My tears symbolized the joy in my heart that another child had been rescued from a terrible fate.  Each of my children's "births" are memorable for different reasons.  However, Airlie's birth from orphan to beloved family member, was an absolutely amazing experience. 

As I look back over the last year, I see how far Airlie has come.  Has it been easy?  No!  It has been one of the hardest things we have ever done.  She was 1 of 180 with about 10 caregivers for most of her first three years.  Many of her friends at the CP Hospital were immobile due to their medical condition.  As one of the mobile ones, I do not think she received much rearing.  When we got her, she was WILD!  However, with firm instruction and lots of love, she has progressed quite nicely and is developing into a mannerly little gal! 

She is truly a blessing, as are Cavan and Kian.  God has beautifully placed each of our babies into our lives differently.  I am so proud to call Cavan, Airlie, and Kian my children.  Here is a look back over Airlie's life.  We were fortunate enough to receive a few baby pictures.  They are included in this video, along with pictures from her first year with her family.  Turn up the volume and enjoy!

Happy Forever Family Day Airlie!
We love you!

Blessings, Stacy
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.
Psalms 68:5-6

Cavan Starts School!

It's the first day of kindergarten!  Cavan is excited!  Mom is ???  I think I am okay.  He is definitely ready.  He has been staying at preschool for the last couple of weeks since I went back to work, and he thinks he is WAY bigger than all of the kids there.  He knows all of his letters and letter sounds(aside from the confusing U, W, and Y).  He plays well with other kids, and enjoys being around kids his age.  There is just one little thing...Cavan is shy.  No matter how excited he is, it may be a whole different story when we arrive at school this morning.   We will see!  As for now, we are all excited! My baby is beginning a new chapter of his life!

My sweet Cavan at one-month-old

My big one-year-old!

My two-year-old Vol!

What a precious three-year-old!

Fancy at four!


Kindergarten at 5!

Monday, August 12, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, we boarded a plane to leave Beijing.  Our destination?  Zhengzhou, China.  It's in the Henan province and was where we would finally meet our Airlie!!!  The flight passed quickly, but I couldn't sleep that night.  I was awake all night thinking about our little girl.  It was the SAME anxiety I had the night before giving birth to Cavan and Kian (only I didn't think that I was going to die the next day....ha ha ha).  I was so excited, nervous, and even a little scared.  I just prayed that I would be able to parent this sweet little girl that was going to be so heartbroken the next day.  Heartbroken to leave her friends, her caretakers, and the only life she had ever known...     

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, Chris and I woke up early and took a long walk around our hotel area in Beijing.  After our walk and a western breakfast (thank you, thank you, thank you God for western food in China), our group boarded a bus to tour Tienanmen Square and The Forbidden City.  It was a nice day with nice friends.  What we all really wanted to see, however, was not Tienanmen Square or The Forbidden City...but our babies!!! 
I recall many things about the day.  What I remember most is what happened after we walked out of the walls of The Forbidden City.  Our guide stopped us before exiting, and told us to stick together that it could get pretty intense once we left.  As we stepped onto the outside sidewalk, I saw exactly what he was talking about.  There were so many people that one could easily get lost.  It wasn't just the people though.  It was the heartbreak I saw there that sticks in my mind.
While in China, we had not seen ANY people with disabilities.  One year ago today, on that sidewalk, I saw five of the most disabled people I had ever seen...begging.  People were passing them by, almost knocking them over, and I even saw one man stealing the money people had given.  The person that I remember most was a man that was burned terribly, appeared to be blind, and was missing his limbs.  We saw a man that had  partial limbs and was painting with a paintbrush in his mouth.  We saw people that had suffered tremendously.  That is not something that you typically see in China, and during our entire stay (aside from what we saw at the orphanage and CP Hospital) these were the ONLY disabled people we saw.
I am proud to live in a country that embraces people for their unique abilities and provides for any special needs they may have.  I am saddened to think of all of the disabled children that remain in orphanages for the duration of their childhood, and I wonder what happens to them when they age out of the system?  I pray the country provides a place for them to live and people to care for them...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, we woke up refreshed and ready to begin our life changing journey.  At breakfast, we began meeting other families that were traveling with us to get their little sweeties!  We now loving refer to them as our "adoption family" and refer to the babies as "cousins."  We all just immediately clicked, and those relationships are so special and dear to me, even a year later.

We journeyed to the Great Wall of China.  It was GREAT alright! Great distances between the steps, great unevenness that almost made me fall 2000 times, great humidity, great temperature, a great amount of folks, a great amount of folks vomiting, but also GREAT beauty when we finally made it to the tower.  Oh wait...not "we."  Me.  Yes, Chris had made it to the THIRD tower in the same amount of time that I made it to the FIRST, but that's okay.  I WILL BEAT HIM THE NEXT TIME WE ARE AT THE GREAT WALL...!!!  He laughingly remembers being at the top tower and seeing my purple shirt booking it back down to the bottom!!! 
One year ago today my baby was only going to be an orphan for two more days.  Her life was about to change dramatically, and she didn't even know it.  Our lives were going to change dramatically, and we didn't even know it...
God is GREAT!

Friday, August 9, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, we crossed the International Date Line and our airplane landed in Beijing. Neither of us had slept much on the flight. I was busy worrying about my boys (ugh), and Chris was busy watching as many in-flight movies as he could! To say we were exhausted, was a severe understatement. We ordered room service and slept the night away...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

It was one year ago today that we stepped foot on the airplane that would take us to China. I am going to update my blog daily with brief reflections until the big, one year anniversary day on Tuesday, August 13th!

I was so scared when I stepped on the plane. Not of the actual flight (that was Chris!). Rather, I did not want to leave my boys. I hated thinking about them being a world away from me for two and a half weeks. However, I was 100% confident that our journey was ordered by God, and I felt peace that he would take care of us. And He did...