Today made it final-- Cali is our daughter, sister, granddaughter, neice, cousin! Watching her sign the papers that said that she formally accepted us was a beautiful thing. We've never adopted a child old enough that they were involved in the decision-making process of finalizing the adoption. I'll admit, there was a tiny part of me that was nervous that when the time came, she wouldn't be able to sign the papers-- it takes so much courage to leave all you know behind for some crazy American family! I wish more than anything that I could get in her head right now and really know everything she is thinking! She has to be experiencing so many thoughts and emotions right now. She is typically smiling and sparkly-eyed, but she also will get thoughtful, sometimes overwhelmed/sad looks and I just want to reassure her that everything will be ok and that things will get easier. It's so hard to watch her during those more serious times and not be able to communicate effectively with her. In some ways, I just want to fast forward time for her...Sigh.
After finalizing the adoption this morning and doing lots of paperwork and official adoption stuff, we were given the special privilege of being able to meet Cali's biological grandmother and auntie. We had to fight pretty hard for this, as it isn't common practice-- but we felt it was important to meet them, get pictures, and let Cali see both families together. It isn't often that Chinese adoptees are true "orphans" in the sense that both parents have passed away. Because this is the case with Cali, we know of her roots and background. Seeing her grandmother and auntie was a beautiful experience. The grandmother looked so much like Tang Min (Cali's Chinese name-- and the name we are mostly calling her right now.) She was younger and more vibrant than I had imagined. The auntie was just darling-- so smiley and happy to meet us. Her husband was there as well-- all wonderful people. Perhaps the greatest blessing of meeting them was that they were able to give us pictures of Tang Min when she was younger. Two of them were pictures of her with her biological mother and father. What a precious gift! We were also able to exchange phone numbers and email addresses. I love and appreciate the fact that she can remain tied to them because of this. We will be seeing them one more time tomorrow, as they were rushed to get to Xi'an (they live a few hours away and it was decided very last minute that they would be allowed to come) and they wanted to buy some gifts for Cali and bring them tomorrow. As we left today, her auntie said, "Now we are all like family." (: Tang Min seemed to be happy that we were able to see them, but she also seemed ok leaving, which was good. Jeremy and I decided that whether or not seeing them made it harder or easier for her right now, that later on she would be glad that we had made the connection so that she would have the opportunity to continue a relationship if she wants to.
My brain is fuzzy with tiredness-- I hope I'm writing coherently. (;
Taylor, Parker, Elli, Lexi, Xander, and Sophi-- I MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY! I miss YOU, blue skies, and my curling iron-- in that order! I love you all more than I ever have before and I can't wait to get you all back in my arms where you belong! I'm so glad that you are with Grandma and surely having a wonderful time, but it seems like you are worlds away and I am just dying to be with you again!! Isn't it wonderful that in just a couple of weeks it will be Christmas, and we will all be enjoying it together?!!! I'm sure that Santa has a few tricks up his sleeve, but the best gift of all will be your new sister. She is honestly just perfect for you and you for her. I am so grateful that she will have you as her brothers and sisters. You are all so special and amazing and treasured more than you will ever know. I LOVE LOVE LOVE you!!!!!!!!!!!!
At nightime, we have a tuck-in routine that includes calling each child by their nickname-- Sophi is "little butterfly" (from the movie "The Butterfly Circus"), Xander is "little Dang Xu Chu"-- he wanted to keep his Chinese name as his nickname), Elli is "little ladybug"-- and so forth. Jer and I threw around a couple of nicknames for Tang Min, and knew immediately we had found the perfect one when we thought of "little angel."
There is not a better word to describe her-- she is an absolute angel.
So so so grateful to call ALL of these angels mine... I LOVE MY FAMILY.
PS-- I was intent on getting pictures posted tonight, but we can't find our camera case. We hope it's in the girls' room, but don't want to wake them by ringing their doorbell. I'll try to do it in the morning... (: