Thursday, December 30, 2010

Micaelyn's Adoption Day (Monday, September 6)

We received Micaelyn on Sunday, September 5, and the next day we were able to complete the adoption paperwork officially making her our daughter.  Given the significance of the day I wanted to go back and blog about it before moving forward.

After a restless first night with us, Micaelyn understandably woke up teary eyed.
She packed her bag and headed for the door.  She was frustrated she couldn't get everything she wanted into her little backpack.  I think she really liked the shoes I had brought for her because she chose to wear them and pack the others, but since both wouldn't fit she decided to carry one.  The orange puppy was from the foster family, and the pink butterfly wand was one we had bought for her when we had walked to WalMart the previous evening (the day we received her).
Considering how much she was missing her foster family I considered it a great blessing to get a few smiles out of her.
For more than a year I had looked at Micaelyn's picture knowing she was my daughter, and I had so often imagined how cute she would look with little piggie tails (she had little to no hair in the few pictures we had of her, and it was never pulled up).  I was so very happy to finally put her hair up in piggie tails with little bows!
Big brother Caleb tried so hard to comfort her.

I knew going back to the Civil Affairs Office to complete the adoption paperwork would be very difficult. Just the day before her foster family had brought her there. Returning there was certain to cause her to expect to see them again, and when they didn't show up it would only increase her grieving. Unfortunately we had no choice, despite how confusing and painful it would be for Micaelyn.

Just as we expected, she broke down when we got back to the Civil Affairs Office.
It was absolutely heartbreaking to see her so upset, but at the same time we felt so very grateful our precious little girl had been loved enough to cause such heartache.  That she had been so greatly loved and cared for, that she had felt love and been able to give it back, meant she knew how to accept love and to love those who loved her.  That she had been so closely attached to a family before meant she would have the capacity to strongly attach to us.  Thus, while it was heartbreaking to watch her suffer such tremendous pain over the loss of her foster family, it was also a blessing to know she had been so greatly loved.
Caleb was trying so hard to be a good big brother to her.
One aspect of her special need, Beckwith Weidemann Syndrome, is an enlarged tongue.  Thus it often protrudes somewhat from her mouth, and she rarely closes her mouth all the way.
In order to get a picture of her with her mouth closed I usually have to catch her just after she swallows.  I think she is always adorable, but with her mouth closed it's easy to see just how beautiful she really is.
She was so cute carrying a cup of water around in one hand, the little wand we had bought at WalMart in the other hand.  She liked filling her mouth with water and holding it there.
She had to put her hand print on the adoption paperwork.  I was really praying none of the red ink would get on her beautiful little dress my mom had made for her!
She was extremely fascinated by the digital cameras!
After we completed the adoption paperwork at the Civil Affairs Office we visited the orphanage where Micaelyn was taken after she was first found as an infant. It was a long drive on a rather hot day. It had already been bad enough that we had to go back to the Civil Affairs Office, the same place where Micaelyn's foster family had left her the day before. I knew going to the orphanage wouldn't help matters any, but I also knew it was important. I wanted to see it, and even more significantly I wanted the boys to see it, especially Caleb who I knew had enough maturity to really learn something and be changed by the visit.

After the long drive we ended up spending a lot of time waiting around in a small room before actually touring the orphanage. All 3 of the kids were hot, bored, and cranky. Micaelyn was doing her best to convince all the Chinese people (e.g. our guide, driver, etc.) to take her back to her family. Ernie wondered why we were wasting our time and going to so much trouble just to see the orphanage, especially since Micaelyn spent so little time there. However, as soon as we started touring the orphanage and seeing kids his mind was changed, he understood. He saw the line of preschoolers sitting on baby potties, looking lifeless as if they were accustomed to sitting there for endless hours each day. He saw the sweet faces of children and felt the tug of his heart for those precious boys and girls. He was hugged by a boy who wanted nothing more than to be loved, who the social workers told us had been praying for a family, all while knowing chances are very slim his wish will ever come true. It certainly wasn't our first visit to an orphanage, and of all our adopted children Micaelyn spent the least time in the orphanage (after about 2 weeks she was place with a foster family through the orphanage), but even so it was life changing. Ernie even admitted to me later that evening how significant it had been to see those children and that he felt bad for getting angry with me about going there.

I wish more people could experience that, see countless precious children so desperate for a family, desperately wanting to be loved. I have been to orphanages in Siberia (Russia), India, and China. Though the children may all look very different, inside they are all precious souls in need of love. It may seem a big challenge to jump through so many hurdles completing endless paperwork, travel around the world, and bring home a child who has lived in a completely different culture, knows no English, and may have any number of physical and psychological issues to deal with, but the blessings far outweigh the challenges!
I think Caleb was nearly as upset as I was at the orphanage.  Even at his young age he could feel the terrible sadness that comes in seeing so many precious young children with no mommies and daddies to love them, no home, few if any toys, etc.  Here he is looking at 2 babies sharing a small bed.  One of them had it's head stuck in between the bars and was crying when we walked in.  This would have been the room Micaelyn was put in before she went to her foster family, so she may very well have lain in the same bed.
The trip to the orphanage was truly heartbreaking. It is always difficult to see the ones who are left behind, the ones who continue to wait, the ones who may never feel the love of a family. Their faces will be forever etched in our memory, their hearts will be forever remembered in our prayers. However, when you see that, when you see the life that was almost your child's, you can't help but never want to let go of her while also vowing to do all that you can to help more people understand the joy of adoption in hopes more children will come to know the love of a family.
Walking back to the van with the driver.  He was a wonderfully sweet man, and an amazing driver!
Standing together outside of Micaelyn's orphanage.  She was brought in through those doors as an orphan, but she left as our BELOVED DAUGHTER, praise God!!!
At the end of the day Micaeyln got her first bath from Mommy.  She wasn't too happy about it, but at least she was clean!

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