Sunday, February 14, 2010

She wriggled her way into our hearts...

First of all, if you haven't read the previous post concerning Graci, be sure to do so.


When I wrote the “Do you know what I know” post, it seems that even I didn’t know what I know. (: I had felt so earnest in my heart—completely convicted in the knowledge that someone out there needed to hear my feelings about adoption. A little ironic that we were the ones that needed to hear what I had to say…

So are you ready to hear the story? Or do you just want to see a picture??!!!

Go ahead, scroll on down and see her beautiful face. Then come back up and hear how one special little girl has found her home.

It started back in September. Yes, just a few weeks after coming home from China with our Xander. I had no right to be checking the waiting child list! Still, when I was looking up post adoption info on our agency's site, I couldn’t help but peek at the kids who were waiting. There she was, a little four-year-old girl (now five) whom I had seen before. But this time, it was different. I had “that feeling.” I opened up her profile and read about this sweetheart, blind and abandoned at birth, and my heart was just doing flip-flops. I tried to convince myself that it was because she reminded me so much of Elli, not because she was OURS, but I couldn’t deny that the Spirit was whispering something to my heart. Later that day, I was out on the trampoline with Elli when—you guessed it—a ladybug flew inside the net and landed right next to me. (If you haven’t followed our blogs, ladybugs are a symbol of luck in the adoption community and seem to show up on every important day of our adoption journeys.)

I had a talk with Jeremy.

He was so sweet. He even cried when he saw her picture and said he was so glad that I was the kind of person who would open my heart to her. He told me how much he loved me. And then he told me I was off my rocker.

Or something like that.

Basically, he said no. And I admit that I was very relieved. It seemed that there was no way that it could be right for us. After all, we had just come home from China! We had SIX kids!! We were already barely keeping our heads above water!!!

And I can promise you, that when I wrote my adoption post in November, the thought hadn’t even remotely crossed my mind that I was writing it for us. Jeremy didn’t either. Though he did cry when he read it, and we talked about how grateful we were for the things we knew and the ways adoption had changed our lives. And that was that.

Until a few weeks ago... That’s when we were sitting at Elli’s IEP meeting. There we were, Jeremy, myself, and four of the WONDERFUL women who give of their hearts and expertise each preschool day. Elli was in a corner of the room, jumping and playing with the toys. Jeremy thought to himself how grateful he was for the wonderful resources we had to help Elli. For all the help that these women were giving her. And he looked over at Elli and thought how her blindness wasn’t really an issue—it was her cognitive delays that were so hard to deal with. And then the thought entered his mind, “There is a little girl in China who is just blind.”

And he knew.

He describes it as a triangle being formed that day between him, and her, and God. That perhaps more than with any of our other children, he KNEW she was meant to be ours. He couldn’t remember what she looked like, how old she was—nothing except that he loved her.

And so later that day I got a phone call. (: (Usually it’s the other way around.) I was overwhelmed (I had long since given up the idea of adopting her—though I will admit I kept thinking about that ladybug) but looked up her file. As it turns out, that VERY day, her file had been marked to be returned to China. This happens when nobody shows interest in a child over a period of several months, and the agency is forced to return their file. Sometimes these files are sent to another agency, and sometimes they are kept in China and the children are deemed “unadoptable.” So it’s no coincidence that Jeremy had his experience on the day that he did.

I must say that I was worried that our agency would think we were crazy when I called and asked them to hold on to that file for just a few more days! It meant the world to me that they were so thrilled and supportive of us considering her. It gave me assurance that maybe I could do this crazy thing. It didn’t take long—just a few days of fasting and prayer before I knew what Jeremy knew.

That she is ours.

That all of my concerns had been answered by myself in my blog entry! That I needed to let go of my fears and embrace the blessing that our Heavenly Father was placing in our lives. The blessing of another beautiful little China doll. Who happens to have a birthday right in between Xander’s and Elli’s, making, ahem… THREE in kindergarten next year. You know, cause we always wanted triplets. Or not. (:

Telling our children was such a sweet experience. We have always asked for their input in our adoptions. We took each of them to dinner with us, individually, over the next couple of weeks to tell them about this little girl and see what they thought. Each responded so beautifully and selflessly. I just fell more in love with my kiddos!! My favorite response was from Xander, who jumped up and down, laughing and saying in his cute Chinese accent, “YAY! More family for my family!”


And that, folks, is exactly how I feel—more family for my family!!! YAY!!!!

Here she is…

Dang Ling You.

Surname, the same as Elli and Xander's. Given name the same as Graci's middle name in Chinese. Fun!

And as soon as I figure out how to do it, I will post some VIDEO we have of her. This little girl’s smile lights up the screen!

We’re thinking “Alexis” as a first name, and calling her “Lexi.” That way it’s close to Alexander (Xander) since they’re so close in age and we’re keeping the traditional ending for our girls’ names. What do you think???

Oh, and as far as timing—it’s looking like November-ish. Just as we were receiving the bad news about Graci, we were receiving good news—pre-approval—from China. Oh, the roller-coaster of our life!


Happy Love Day!!

Jeremy and I had a nice date planned last night, but it fell through when we both were battling headaches. I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but then we were awakened this morning bright and early with breakfast in bed and a Happy Valentine’s Day song. We weren’t expecting it, and I was just so overcome with love for our wonderful kids. Throughout the day we continued to see little acts of kindness from them. Parker let me stay in bed while he got Elli up, fed her, and put her in the bath. He also made Xander a fried egg sandwich (Parker’s specialty). Pretty good for a nine-year-old! Taylor worked for over two hours on the cutest treasure hunt for the other kids. The treasure—pictures and love notes for them. (: One example:

Xander shared his candy with everyone in the family. He also was so good to be quiet this afternoon and let us have a nap. Elli always makes us smile with her little songs—you cannot listen to her sing and not feel the pure love of Christ she exudes. Jessica showed us a powerful example of love tonight. We were playing a board game and she was sitting on Jeremy’s lap. His leg got sore, and he told her she needed to get off. For some reason, it broke her little heart, and she walked off sobbing. A couple of minutes later, she came back into the kitchen with red puffy eyes carrying drinks for Jeremy and me. This sparked a great conversation about how to act when someone hurts our feelings. We decided as a family that for one week, every time someone does something to us that makes us sad or upset we are going to turn around and serve them. Good job, Jesi!

And finally, Graci and her Achievement Days girls sang “Where Love Is” in Sacrament meeting today. It was the best Valentine. She looked so so beautiful and smiled during the whole song. She was just glowing. There was a line in the song, “the happiness we feel when love has found us” that brought tears to my eyes. I thought of how far she has come in the last couple of years. She has evolved into such a beautiful young woman. She is responsible and thoughtful and caring. Most importantly, I feel that she has finally found her place in our family—she is secure in our love and happy in our home. We love her beyond words. She has blessed us in so many ways.

With that, I am so burdened to share that her health is not as good as we want it to be. It seems that Graci has recently developed pulmonary hypertension. In simple terms, the arteries in her lungs have narrowed and hardened, making her heart work too hard to get blood to her lungs. The past couple of weeks have brought an EKG, ECHO, and a cardiac MRI. This Friday, she will undergo surgery in the cath lab. They will be trying some different medications and seeing how her heart responds to them. The results of the surgery will be pivotal in knowing what exactly we are facing here. Even though I have tried to not worry until we know more, I can’t help but feel the wind has been knocked out of me and I am left gasping for air. We were not expecting this. We also found out this week that she has cervical stenosis and will need to be seen by the top neurosurgeon at Primary Children’s.

We need this little girl with us, so please, know that we would love your prayers. One of my friends offered to fast for her on Friday. I loved that idea, and would invite any of you who feel so inclined to join our fast. It would obviously mean the world to us, as she means the world to us.

With the storm always comes a rainbow, and we are so happy to share with you some very very exciting news! It deserves a post of it’s own—and I’m going to work on it right now so Teri will still like me!! Check back soon!

Happy Valentines Day!