This post is very long, so here is advanced warning. It covers two days and our days right now are full!
Sometimes we look back at a specific time in our life and we realize that time was a turning point in our lives. That it was a point in time which changed who we would become as people. For us as Christians, the most major turning point was when we accepted Christ as our Savior. After that, many turning points coincide with large life changes. For me, getting married and giving birth to my two oldest children were all life changing events. The entire process of our adoption is definitely a life changing event and it is stretching and changing who we are as people.
Yesterday, we finalized the adoption of our Norah at the Civil Affairs Office in Taiyuan. The night before was very rough. Our tears mingled with hers as she cried hysterically and the reality of what we are doing finally set in. We wanted desperately to explain why she was with us and could not. In the morning though, she was happy and very chatty. We have been told that nap and night time is the worse and that is certainly proving to be true.
The Civil Affairs Office where we first met Norah and where we finalized her adoption.
Here Norah is signing the adoption document with her hand print. She is agreeing to become ours even though she doesn't know it.
I wonder if she would look less happy if she knew what had just happened. After they process the paperwork, she will legally be our daughter! Now we are officially parents to three beautiful girls.
Norah loves her baba which is dada in Chinese. Again, we have been told that children often attach to just one parent and Norah is definitely a daddy’s girl.
We went swimming and she is a little fish. She seemed to be familiar with the water. She moved her arms and kicked her feet like she had been shown how to kick and stroke. Our guide said it was very unlikely she had ever been in a pool before, but who knows for sure.
Today, we went to the orphanage and met the foster family. We get the feeling that this was an unusual privilege and we are very grateful for the opportunity. It was an emotionally draining experience, but not one I would change for the world.
On the way, we passed the Taiyuan Iron Hospital where Norah was found on the first floor. She was found with no note on her at approximately eleven days. It is possible her parents were workers in the iron mill as we passed through the iron milling district soon after.
Then, we arrived at the Taiyuan Institute of Children Welfare (top picture and to the right) where Norah was taken after she was found. Their motto is “Life starts from here” which appears to be true. We met several directors and social workers who work very hard to place each child into a family and to care for their needs while they are in the orphanage.
Chris and Norah stayed in the car in order to avoid meeting the foster mom and going back to square one. When I walked into the meeting room, the foster mom was there sobbing her heart out. I sat down and we talked through our tears. Her eighteen year old son had come as well and he was also crying (although trying to hide it). This family loved and cared for her from February 2011 until she came into our care on August 5, 2013.
Through our translator, I told the foster mom that she and her whole family were Qian Qian’s first family and that we would always be grateful for the unconditional love they gave her. I told her that it is because of them our daughter is the healthy, smart, funny girl she is today. We gave her a jade family ball that symbolizes interlocking family generations. I told her our families would always be interlocked because of this little girl. I promised we would love Norah with all our hearts and give her the best care. I also promised that we would not let Norah forget her first family.
|With the foster brother and mother|
The family wants very badly to stay in contact. While we were talking, the son’s phone rang and he handed it to me. It was the oldest daughter in the family who spoke English. She was trying to get my cell phone number. As soon as I started to give it, the orphanage director stepped in and stopped it. Then the family asked for my e-mail address and the director intervened again. It is very apparent to us that the government does not want any direct contact with the foster families. The director told us we could communicate with the orphanage and they would pass that along.
|Directors and social work of TICW|
|Gifts for the officials and toys for the orphanage|
Please join us as we pray for the children at the Taiyuan Institute of Children Welfare. Also, please continue to pray for us. At the end of the meeting, the foster mom came outside looking for Norah and Norah spotted her. This set us back and Norah has been crying a lot tonight. By this point in the journey, we are quite exhausted both emotionally and physically and continue to covet your prayers.
|Eating the corn from her foster mom|