***Before I begin this post about our day yesterday I’d really appreciate it if my friends here would pray for my best friend and her husband. For 2 1/2 years they’ve been fighting to bring home a precious child from Peru and received the final denial yesterday on World Adoption Day, while during that same time I was here in China finalizing our adoption. That just makes my heart break into a million pieces. But after the battles they’ve faced and for it all to come to this, oh it’s heart breaking. Please pray for she and her husband to be held up in Jesus’ arms. That at least a small part of this will make sense and that they’ll clearly know what steps to take next. Thank you. ***
As I said, yesterday was World Adoption Day, and yesterday I officially signed all of the papers.
Chapel Xin Reed is forever our daughter. We signed papers at the same civil office where I met Chapel and then went to a notary to take care of some final steps.
We will have two days to wait until Chapel’s passport is ready. Today we go and tour some parts of Nanning, and tomorrow we go to Guilin which is the city that Chapel is from, and we will get to see some of her city and also visit the local markets there. I think it is really important to soak in as much of her culture as I can while I am here. I believe she will have questions about these things later and it is certainly important for me as her mom to understand and relate to her birth country.
On Friday we will fly to Guangzhou to complete the second half of the process, which is all about getting her visa so we can travel home. Technically, we could have come home on Wednesday or Thursday next week, but because of the Thanksgiving holiday we could not get out without paying lots and lots of money. So we fly home on Friday next week.
Yesterday was a little harder for Chapel. She woke up in a sad mood and I think more of the shift of all that has taken place is hitting her. She adores riding in my Mei tai and when we walk around the mall or Walmart you can see her checking everything out and soaking in every detail. I’m really grateful that she is not overwhelmed by leaving the hotel. She seems to absolutely love looking at all of the colors and watching things go by.
If you are praying for our little girl I would greatly appreciate prayer about a couple of things that are concerning to me. We cannot get her to eat anything. She will only take bottles. Although, we were told from the orphanage that she only would drink bottles and eat a soup type food here called congee. But we have yet to be able to get her to eat anything and she will only take bottles. Of course, I wonder if that’s part of the reason she is so incredibly tiny. But when I tell you she will not even try to eat anything else, I mean it. If you even attempt to bring a spoon towards her mouth she begins to scream and scream. Same goes for a toothbrush or a vitamin, anything. It’s an actual terror for her, because her heart begins to race and she is very scared. I don’t understand the correlation there or what is going on, because she certainly has enough teeth to be chewing soft foods, or actually any foods- but she wants no part of it.
As I played with her yesterday in our hotel room, I made a discovery. Chapel can at least hear out of one of her ears. I have a Sophie the giraffe that makes a high-pitched squeak and it was very obvious that when I squeaked the giraffe she would turn her head towards the noise- Even when she could not see where the toy was. There may be certain pitch frequencies of sound that are easier for her to hear than others- but having the inner ear working means that cochlear implants may be a wonderful option for her. It makes me weep to think about what a difference it may make for her to be able to hear more clearly.
I have been doing a small amount of signing with her and she has at least repeated the mama sign back to me. There are lots of other things that she does to clarify that she understands so much of what is going on right now. She certainly knows how to specify her needs and dislikes!
We received her schedule from the orphanage and I was very saddened by the fact that she was required to stay in her bed for around 5 to 5 1/2 hours every day. It makes me hurt to think about that. So a lot of the behaviors I’m seeing out of our sweet girl confirm to me that she had to use lots of self stimulation and stemming type behaviors to get herself to sleep and occupy herself. She did not want me to put her down yesterday so I continued to rock her back-and-forth until I started to doze off. When I would doze off she would begin to cry because she wanted me to keep rocking. So I would wake back up and try to rock some more. When I thought that she was good and asleep I laid her down and she immediately woke up and began rocking herself aggressively side to side to comfort herself. I cannot tell you the heartbreak of knowing that that was how she had to get herself to sleep. But even from these hard beginnings beauty and restoration have a miraculous way of arising.
I have found that in each of our adoption processes- the feelings that come out of me are so much like postpartum birth feelings. I wish I could express that clearly but I’m not sure I know how. With each of our babies, after their births, in the evenings I get this hormonal feeling… (That’s the best way I know how to describe it) where I have very real wars with my emotions and I have found that I have to get out my sword, God’s word, to rise above the way that I feel. In each of our adoption processes I have faced the same feelings. I mean, exactly. Perhaps the mind and body know the huge undertaking of birthing and raising these blessings and it’s the way the soil is broken up in the human heart as another one of those life commitment journeys begins.
Adoption feels exactly the same way. And each evening specifically I have to constantly dwell on God’s word and not allow my emotions to overcome what I know to be true according to God’s written word and his spoken word to me personally. So even in the heartbreaking and in the hard, I certainly know that God has brought me to China to bring home a precious jewel and one that I will cherish and love always.
About a month before I left for China I had a very strange dream about Chapel. There were lots of details to it- but one part was very comforting to me and I see it in her now. In my dream she lay across my lap, and kept looking straight into my eyes like she does now and repeating, “Thank you very much. Thank you very much.”
Many times people adopt kids expecting them to show gratitude for being “rescued” which is a fallacy of American thinking. A child who has known nothing more than orphanage life doesn’t feel rescued, even if their new life is so much better than orphanage life. If a person chooses to adopt expecting gratitude they’ll at least find themselves temporarily disappointed.
But I kid you not. I can feel that Chapel is grateful to be in my arms. I know that. She loves it there. She’s soaking it up.
So in all of the hard emotions, unknown medical issues and temptation to fear- I am soaking it up too. I am clinging to God’s word and resting on the foundation of what I know. Perfect love casts out all fear and I have nothing to fear as I abide with Jesus on this life adventure.