It's hard to fathom how our life has changed. It all started in Oct 2007 when I saw this little picture. A little girl with a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate who had waited for 3 months on a list for a family....The minute I saw her everything in me knew this one was MINE! As you can imagine I see many waiting children. Many pull my heart strings. I pray for them, advocate for them, send money to help them... but not all of them are mine. Shauntie (as she was nick named) was mine. This was a complete shock and not in the plan. I was sure Russ would say I was crazy but he didn't. I called him at work and told him I wanted to send him a picture of his daughter. He said call them and tell them we want her.... to read the WHOLE story click here.
(Kaiya 15 months old)
(Kaiya 20 months)
Inside I was calm- happy as a clam. It was a complete turn around from my first adoption process. I had given up control and was COMPLETELY chilled about the whole thing. When things went wrong I didn't freak out. It was an erie calm that I couldn't explain.
(Kaiya 22 months)
The process continued to go smoothly- the complete opposite of Zoe's adoption. In only 7 months from when we started it was time to get on plane and go get her! I could hardly believe it! I was beyond thrilled and a LITTLE bit nervous. I knew life was about to change.
So my mom and I went across the world to China! It was the trip of a lifetime. Unbelievable.... I never expected to fall in love with China the way I did. Still, how could I not love China for the gift she gave me?
From the moment I held my little waif of a girl I was in love.
With the first cuddle I was a goner...
She had me at hello... from that moment a miracle began..
(night 1 in China- just turned 2 yrs old)
Sometimes miracles don't happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes they start with a malnourished little girl China.... and then slowly everything changes.
week 1 in China
Week 2 in China
On our way home!
1 month home
2 months home
3 months home
4 months home
5 months home
6 months home
and there you have it... a miracle
careful now... I said MIRACLE... not fairy tale- It's two very different concepts...
Kaiya coming home was not a fairy tale. She was malnourished, scared, feisty, undisciplined and looked a TEENY bit like an adorable version of golumn when she attempted to walk. ;0)
When we got Kaiya she was so tiny... about 20 pounds. She was HUNGRY all the time but didn't know how to eat. Her tongue still had that reflex babies have to push food out of her mouth because she had not eaten much solid food. At first she could only eat about two grains of rice at a time.
From morning till bedtime she was obsessed with eating. Even after she fell asleep it seemed to still be on her mind! LOL! ;0)
She had no idea how to play with toys. She was a NIGHTMARE in restaurants. She had no concept of gravity or danger or family.
She had ZERO muscle control due to being confined to a crib for 2 years. She was a walking ER visit just waiting to happen. (She still is) Only a few days after we got home we were already having stitches in her forehead...
..... black eyes, surgeries, bruises and scrapes... our little walking disaster..
Nope, no fairy tales or happy endings here. Just a precious little girl becoming part of a family. A miracle.
When we first got home people asked a lot how she was adjusting. The truth was she was adjusting wonderfully!! She was learning and growing at the speed of light. However, I wasn't doing quite as well as her. I felt like my life was falling apart. I was in love with this little girl but I had NO IDEA how to do this. Everything had changed. I had forgotten how hard it was to have a toddler..and I was totally blown away by how hard it was having three children and homeschooling. I was on easy street before with a 9 and 5 year old and now everything that used to be fun was really, really hard.
The ugly truth is that I am very selfish. I liked my life, my comfort, my plan. I wanted the miracles God had for my life but I didn't want to give up my life. Oops.. apparently it doesn't work that way.
Although I have been in love with Kaiya Rain Zhen from the moment I saw her...
It took me months to adjust to this new life that was so different from my life before. Not worse- just different. I just wasn't wanting to change. Selfish, selfish, selfish...
After 5 months I finally got it. I know- I'm a slow learner. I finally figured out that I can do this. I can juggle it. I can change. I can give up what my life was for a season and dive into this season. And there is the second miracle- the change in me. Learning to love beyond myself and what is comfortable. Our children change us and if we let them- they make us what we should be.
I adore this child. I love her FEARLESS and spunky personality. I love how smart and funny she is. I love her wild cuteness.
I love that perfect little dimple in her cheek and the funny ways she walks. I love the way she says everyone's name with a very certain tone that seems to express their personality.
I adore her courage to love passionately even though she has faced so much pain in her 2 little years. I love her wet slobbery kisses and the way she says, "Mamma, I uv eww."
How could this be that abandoned child in an orphanage? How is it possible? This funny, smart,glowing, giggling, chubby little cherub running with all her might towards her sisters... what could have been is over. What is now is the miracle.
This miracle is larger still. How could I picture life without her? How much has she changed us and helped us grow? What would my life be without her fiesty little heart in my life? I don't want to consider it. She has given me so much and changed who I am.
This little angel has taken me places I never dreamed I would go. From Hong Disney...
Without Kaiya life would have been simpler, less complicated, more about ME... and I would never have this picture.
I love you Kaiya Rain Zhen. Thank you for saving me from myself.
Without you it just wouldn't really be our family. Love, Mommy