I believe in having children of your own. My husband and I have spent the last five years chasing paperwork, stumbling through red tape, struggling with cash flow and traveling to China to bring home our two daughters. The process is considerably less than glamorous; several personal interviews with a social worker, fingerprinting, writing checks, ordering, notarizing and authenticating documents and then waiting for what seems like eternity for the day the Chinese government says it is time to go get your daughter. We often joke that two teenagers can become parents in the back seat of a car without a question asked, but our lives and bank accounts must become an open book to several government agencies before we get the stamp of approval to become parents.
But then suddenly in a hotel conference room on the other side of the world, the time, effort and frustration vanishes as a scared little girl wrapped in countless layers of clothes is handed to us. These amazing girls go through a vast transition from the moment they are abandoned to the moment they are handed to their new parents. Sights, sounds, touches, and smells change profoundly. The ability of children to adapt is difficult to grasp; each of ours used specific tools. Lauryn sucked her thumb for comfort. Marin found solace in hugging stuffed animals. Emotionally each shut down for a period of time. Other girls in our travel groups revealed their grieving process outwardly for several days.
But then it happened. It started with a smile, a giggle and a loving pat. Each began to open up and show signs of accepting us. The bond began to develop. Soon we made the long journey to her new home and introduced her to the rest of the family; again, another transition. At night, we laid her down in her crib, looked deeply into her eyes and wondered, “What is she thinking?” And at the same time thought to ourselves, “how did we become so blessed?”
Many people have asked us, why did you not have children of your own? It sounds so strange…children of our own. From the moment each was handed to us, they have intertwined into our hearts, home and life. I simply respond, “We DO have children of our own”. This I believe.
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