Hannah Claire Shi Lin

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Darling

My little empress is turning 4 today! I sent a birthday care package last week, but it probably hasn't arrived yet, so I hope Shi Lin's foster mother will do something special for her. I wish so bad I could celebrate with her. It's such a strange feeling to not be with my child on her birthday.

It was a little over six months ago that I first saw Shi Lin's precious face in those referral pictures. I had wished so bad that we could be going to China around her birthday, but it was not to be. I can't wait for all the future birthdays she'll celebrate with us! I was at the store a few weeks ago looking for birthday decorations for Miles's party, and Tinkerbell and her friends caught my eye. I wanted so bad to be buying those for Hannah's party. I've never gotten to do a "girly" birthday theme. I'll get to next year for sure!

I know Shi Lin has no idea how much I love her and will be thinking about her all day (if it's even possible for me to think about her more than I already do!). I wish she could know that I hope she has the best and happiest birthday a four-year-old can have.

At the top of this post is the cover of the birthday card I made for Shi Lin and sent with her package. It says, "Happy Birthday, Darling," and on the inside I put, "Happy Birthday, We Love You."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just One Child

I was talking with another adoptive mother the other day, and she mentioned an idea that really struck me. What if every family in the United States adopted just one child? What an idea! What a dent we could put in the number of orphans there are in the world! And it would be so simple!

Now I know that not every family in the U.S. is able to adopt a child, for various reasons, but I believe there are WAY more that could but do not. For many, the thought has never even occurred to them. For some, they've thought about it, but don't think it's for them. Others think it's too expensive. Or they think it will be more trouble than having a child by birth. Some have fertility issues, but are determined to find a way to have their "own" biological child. And some of those people, after exhausting all attempts at having children, still don't consider adoption. There are so many reasons and excuses for not adopting. And I do know it's not an ideal situation for everyone. But I just wish more people would be open to the idea of it, just entertain it in their thoughts for a while. Read about it, find others who've adopted and see what it's been like for them.

Millions of children around the world will never know what it's like to call someone "Mommy" or "Daddy." They'll never experience the comfort of a kiss or a hug from a parent. They'll never sit at the table at dinner time, discussing the days events. They'll miss out on having someone cheer them on at a tee ball game or clap for them at a dance recital. Or just simply knowing their parents are right there in the next room if they need them for anything. These are simple, everyday things that children born to a forever family take for granted. And we as parents (or future parents) take these things for granted too. It's too easy to forget that not all children are as blessed as ours. So we take the easy way out and continue to forget. This should not be so.

I'm not trying to guilt-trip anyone, or act like I'm better than anyone else because I'm adopting a child. It's not like that at all. It's just that I'm so much more aware of the plight of orphans now that I'm in the adoption process, and I've made it my life's mission to raise awareness of adoption , so that maybe I can reach families who never thought of it as an option for them.

Please spread the word in any way you can. Use my story if you want as a conversation starter. And pray, pray, pray for more people to think of these children and how one of them could be their own. A child is a child, whether they were born in the United States, China, Russia, or any other country. And children bring so much joy to us, no matter how they come to us. Just imagine, if every family that could adopt would adopt just one child. Give just one child support, just one child a home, just one child parents and a family. A family that they could call their own forever. I can't think of many better things that could be done in this world.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Joys of Waiting

While we are waiting for the news of when we can travel to get Hannah, sometimes I get a little impatient (well, maybe more than a little!). But other times I stop and think about that I need to actually enjoy this time, instead of just letting it go by with anxiety and impatience. I realize that I've only got, at the most, about two more months, to have things the way they are in our family right now, with just Chip, Miles and myself. Only two more months to be the mother of an only child. Only two more months to have so much one-on-one time with my son.

It's not that I'm saying once Hannah is here, that it will not be as good as it is now. It will be just as good, probably even better in a lot of ways. But it will be different. The dynamics of our family will change--forever. This is such a good and wonderful thing, but it will take some adjustment for all of us. While I love change, I can't help but feel a little saddened at the passing of a phase in our lives. I'm sure many parents feel this when they have their second child.

What I'm trying my best to do right now is to just soak up what life is like for us at this point. To consciously notice the way things are so that I'll remember this time fondly, instead of remembering all the stress and anxiety of waiting. This short time before we bring our daughter home matters. It matters a lot. It has helped me to live in the present, something I've known I needed to work on for a long time. I've been living concentrating on the future for many years. When Chip and I were engaged, all I could think about was getting married. After we said, "I do," all I could think about was buying a house. Then when we bought our house, I was still in college, so all I could think about was graduating. After graduation, all I could think about was having a baby. It seemed that every time we reached the next step, I was already on to obsessing over what was next. Rather than enjoying the milestone we had reached, my mind was elsewhere, in a time that hadn't come yet. How sad to work so hard for something, then not to enjoy it.

So here I am now, thinking so much about the future again. It's very hard not to think about our daughter, whom I already love so deeply. But I've realized that God chose her for us and is paving our path to her. We will get her at the right time, in God's time, so there's really no need to worry or stress over when it will be. It will come eventually. I'm so thankful that we don't have a 3-4 year wait like so many others do. But even when we were originally on the 3-4 year plan, I still had this attitude, and it would have been what had gotten me through that long wait.

I'm using this experience to remember to have patience when I'm waiting for something in my life, whatever it may be. To slow down and enjoy the present, and steal those precious moments with those I love the most. For this day shall never come again.