Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy 2nd Family Day (June 17)

We've had a nice year-long break from any medical trips, but this one, cranial-facial "head" clinic, was right on Apple's Family Day Anniversary. We got up before 5am and hit the road. All the girls travel very well. Clinic went great. It's been 18 months since our last one and Apple was all caught up developmentally. The consensus is that she's doing great and for me to keep up what we're doing. The cranial-facial surgeon came in with THREE residents, perfectly tailored suit, as usual, said how well her posterior cranial distraction had gone and her frontal orbital advancement. I cracked up and had to say it, "Dr. M, you've not done the orbital advancement yet!" He got out of there pretty fast and I did gloat because he is a surgeon with a God-complex and needs to be reminded, occasionally, that he's only human.

After clinic there was a pizza lunch for all the families. Then, we visited our adoption agency and old neighborhood where we used to live. We took My Firefighter to IKEA for the first time and to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. We drove home in the wee hours of the morning, having packed too much into our time up there, but it was My Firefighter's first time seeing where we used to live.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Three Special Baptisms

Several months ago the girls told me that they wanted to be baptized. Apparently, they'd discussed it among themselves a lot and worked on finding out what they really believed rather than just blindly follow, and I'm very proud of them for that. It was a special day with friends who came from where we used to live and many of our new friends that we've made here. My Firefighter came and even dressed Apple and did her hair while I was scrambling to put the finishing touches on the girls' Chinese dresses that I made. For the actual baptism, they wore pure white, but afterward, for their confirmation, I made them each their own special Chinese dress to honor their heritage and help them feel as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. The day was everything I'd hoped it would be for them and one I hope they remember as one of their best for their entire lives.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Finally, Final Decree!

8 years 1 month and 3 weeks since my very first dossier was logged-in in China, 8 years 5 months and 1 day since my first appointment at my adoption agency, I am finally out of the adoption process. Unless, of course, one counts the China post-placement reports that I'll be doing for three more years!

Though she's my third child to come home 2 years and 9 months ago, Blossom's adoption was complete today and she is now officially my daughter! Until this very morning, this adoption seemed more like a pesky formality to me since Blossom has felt like my daughter from the moment I got her, but when I woke up this morning, that familiar feeling washed over me, the introspection of a mother's heart, that I know so well, and this day took on the specialness that it deserved and the excitement built, and it didn't matter that it wasn't China, but America, as strange as that may sound, it still felt right. I did however miss the luxurious rest I always enjoyed on the long flight to China, but I didn't miss the exhausting flight coming back!

What took so long? Well, Apple's adoption timing, our move, then several niggling glitches that happened along the way, none in my control. The last delay was when the court called and said, "I'm sorry, but the court is over-booked and we need to changed your finalization date." I didn't even know they could do that.

Anyway, the day was special and Blossom is happy. We all dressed up as matching as we could, took a lot of pictures, then after the court appearance we went to her new favorite Chinese buffet restaurant. She behaved very well during the proceedings even though the language was confusing (even I had to think hard when the judge the "petitioner" a question, which happen to be me) and certain things hard for her to understand, such as why she had to sign her old name, because the judge asked for her approval to be adopted, then she signs, THEN the adoption is decreed and her new name becomes her legal one. The judge was a woman and very good and patient and explained the confusing parts. The clerk actually cried buckets of happy tears for us! She's in the fourth picture below, in the background, still smiling, but started her happy-for-us tears shortly after the picture was taken.

My Firefighter was with us for this momentous occasion and took all these pictures. He loves the girls, but still wonders how I came to decide to adopt them all. I hope one day he'll be touched by the same Spirit that conveyed God's will to me and shows him how wide a heart can open, and what that feels like, and how it's possible to take the enormous leap of faith I took to bring these girls from China to be my daughters. Our road is HARD and he has a front-row seat to our lives, and some days I don't know how I'll get through it all, and there are still some pretty big unknowns I'm are trying to find answers for as far as learning disabilities, etc. go, and I'm still trying to put my life back together in our new town after nearly two years of living here, getting back to work, etc., and I'm far from a perfect mother, but I'm doing my best and improving every day. And days like today make it all worth it!

Thank you, Heartsent Adoptions, Inc., for putting my children and I together! Thank you for these beautiful flowers that appeared on my doorstep today. It truly felt like you were there for me today just like with my in-China adoptions.