Saturday, December 06, 2008

6 months ago my life was turned upside down...



6 months ago today our family changed forever...


6 months ago our precious China doll finally had a family.


( Kaiya 11 months old)

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)

I IMMEDIATELY started the paperwork. We sent off for pre-approval (from China) to adopt her right away. Since I had done this whole thing before I had gotten pretty good at it! I had the whole dossier except for the homestudy done in just a few weeks. My social worker is awesome and had our homestudy to us within about 4 weeks I think.... We got our immigration approval from the US within like 3 weeks after that!!! Unbelievable...

(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...

to the ER getting surgery at Disney World... she is always full of surprises!!
Without Kaiya we'd be missing ten little fingers and ten little toes. Heaven forbid...

Without Kaiya life would have been simpler, less complicated, more about ME... and I would never have this picture.

My children have not come to me in average ways. Each of their stories are different. In my heart I know that God brought each of them to me. To change them??? Well, yes- perhaps. To change me- most certainly. Their little footprints on my heart are my saving grace.

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





30 comments:

Scott and Carolyn said...

That post is so precious! I LOVE reading your blog!! :)

Mel said...

I can so relate to your miracle, not fairy tale...thanks for sharing it!!!

Lilysmom said...

Angel That was very moving! I love watching all your girls grow. Thank you for your honesty. Life is certainly no fairy tale but a miracle is around corners if your open to them.

Tessa said...

Oh Angel ... she is a miracle! Kaiya's story is so amazing ... from how you found her, to how quickly the adoption process progressed, from the moment you saw her, to bringing her home and finding out she doesn't need surgery! It figures that the hospital stay that you had planned was not the one you needed - she likes to keep everyone on their toes with the UNPLANNED ER visits! Her story has inspired me and her personality shines through in her pictures! I can't believe it has been 6 months ... she is such a bundle of joy!

Holly said...

SIX months already! What a precious milestone to celebrate! Getting teary-eyed over here...

FayeJ said...

awww, how special. Thank you for sharing.

The Engelhardt 4 said...

Beautiful!! I can't even believe it's been 6 months!! Oh, how time flies!! I love how big she is getting!! Keep up the good work!! You are an AWESOME mommy!!! Sending hugs.

Natalie C. said...

i can not believe it has ben 6 months, it seems like yesterday. you know, to live so close we really need to get together.

Mandy said...

That was such a beautiful post Angel! Has it really been 6 months? You have such a beautiful family!

Reba said...

I so love how you worded the "miracle" part...not fairy tale but miracle. I feel the same way. I was on easy street, then God dropped a two year old in our lap...one who had NO desire to change her life in that way. Then just when things were getting easier, boom, we have a nineteen month old. And I suddenly realized how old I was feeling. Some days are hard. Some days aren't. But no matter what, I am grateful for the mircale God has given... Happy 6 month "anniversary"!
Reba

Amy Clemons said...

What a nice post. Children change us so much.

Stacy said...

I loved this post! I love how real you are about your selfishness. I have been waiting 2 1/2 years for my girl in China and I know I am going to go through my "selfish" transformation. You have an awesome blog and I love reading it. Thanks for sharing. (Watching the video makes me want to go RIGHT NOW!!) Your family is beautiful- keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness that totally had me in tears : ) Those words and that video are so special...wow

Amy said...

Beautiful!!!

ManyBlessings said...

"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."

Amen.

Exactly.

dawn

Farrah said...

I love you...That is all I got to say!!!

You are one amazing person and I'm so glad I got the chance to meet you, That little bit of time we spent together I knew I wanted to be just like you, and Change my life!!!

Sara said...

What a really great post. It is so amazing what can happen in 6 months. I really identified with this particular post, as the last 2.5 months have changed me and forced me to be unselfish in a way I hadn't had to deal with before. It is amazing how raising your children, different in so many ways, changes the parents from inside.

Tracey said...

Awesome! I cannot believe it has been 6 months! What a roller-coaster:) She is beautiful! I cannot get enough of all your girls! You are one lucky lady, as are they:) I can't wait for the more than 1 child experience:)

Jennifer said...

Beautiful post... and I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by!!

Nan said...

Beautiful!

Dustin, Nikki, Madison and Sage said...

Love the post. While we look forward to our adoption, you helped to give us a reminder of reality... our world will be rocked and our "easy-breezy" life with a 9 and 12 year old will change drastically. But for the better for all of us. Thanks again for sharing your love for Kaiya with us!

Blessings,
Nikki

Jocelyn said...

Wow congrats, so much has changed in so little time!

~J

Dimple Queen said...

Absolutely precious Angel! I got teary several times. I remember the first post when you made the announcement that you were going to adopt her! WOW, what a road it has been for you all!

Ang

Crystal said...

Angel

Thank you for writing this post!!! I can so identify with this almost word from word--when we brought Levi home.--Our third baby too! :)

I love that you said "learning to love beyond myself and what is comfortable "--Love this!!!!

These little are our precious miracles and we are so so blessed!!!!! Thank you for writing this --Thank you!!!!!!!

Guate4Jack said...

What a deep post. Gave me goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes. You have a beautiful family!

Becky and Jack

Sarah said...

Wow .. Beautiful heart-felt and honest post Angel!

ChinaCalling said...

So beautiful, Angel! I think we are kindred spirits as I have said many of the words you shared here. This is perfect for me to read and we prepare to re-enter that place where things are going to be hard for a while. But so worth it! You are my inspiration today!
sherri
www.letitbechina.blogspot.com

nikki said...

Oh Angel,
I can always count on you for an amazing and honest post. Thank you for sharing this. We are considering a second adoption, and this is the very thing I am most afraid of, diving into a new season, when I am so comfortable in THIS season. I know I will look back on this post in the days to come!!!

Amber said...

I can't believe it has been 6 months already!

Flamingo Mama said...

great. now i will wake up with puffy eyes!

beautiful.

what an awesome encouragement!