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1.08.2009

Another piece in the puzzle

Over the past 24 hours it has occurred to me that there is a detail in our adoption story that to this point has been pretty much only known to Ian and I. It seems like a small one, yet it was crucial in the decision to avoid looking at science to become parents and look instead to the miracle of adoption!

It is no secret that we wanted to be parents LONG before we met Kylie in a hot room in southern China. For a while we stalled out in trying to figure out how to make that happen. Yes, we did go through some dark times with the dreaded "I" word. No, adoption wasn't a last resort, in fact we had considered it within a year after we realized we were having difficulty conceiving. But the thing that scared me back then about adopting was not wondering if I would love the child, rather I wondered if the child would love me.

In that five year period before we decided to adopt, we would go through many cycles of trying to figure out "what was wrong" using modern science, and just deciding that "if it was going to happen it was going to happen." By late spring of 2003 we had the hair brained idea for Ian to pursue a temporary transfer to Grenoble, France so that we could "get away" and refocus on our relationship rather than spend time in despair over being childless.

On our way to the airport the morning we left in early November, we stopped by the hospital to meet my cousin's youngest son who had been born the evening before. Little did I know that when we would return the next spring he would be the catalyst that would lead me to China!

Shortly before we came home, my cousin found herself heading back to work after being a SAM to her three precious kids. I had quit my teaching job in order to go to France, and with some serious time on my hands I offered to provide child care for her until she could get them into a permanent day care setting. The first few weeks of my "Mommy Boot Camp" were hectic compared to the previous six months of my life! I had been used to the relaxed life of meeting my friends at the cafe for coffee, going to my tutor to learn French, shopping in the local farmers market, and spending weekends either skiing in the Alps or taking the train across Europe with Ian to explore. (We weren't able to secure a work VISA for me in France, so I was officially a "Femme de foyer" or woman of the house). Three days after we got back I was suddenly changing multiple diapers a day, fixing breakfast and lunch for three hungry and picky (a frustrating combination for an inexperienced caregiver!) kids, and trying to figure out how to best entertain toddlers during their mom's workday.

The day I started with them, Adam was 4 years & 3 months, Abby was 1 1/2 months short of turning 2, and Andrew was almost 6 months old. It was crazy for a while, but eventually the four of us fell into a rhythm and I found myself quite happy. So anyway, what does that summer have to do with going to China?

After that summer ended I was looking back at some pictures that I took of "the Triple As."

Adam ~ my "little helper" that summer. One of my fondest memories was the day he simply wasn't sleepy at nap time and so I offered to read books and share a piece of C-A-K-E (I spelled it out for him and made him guess what it was) while the little ones slept. The next day when he woke up early from his nap he crawled up on my lap, asked me to read him some books, and questioned if we could have some more "B-O-T" as a snack. I'm not sure where he got "bot" out of "cake," but he was consistent with that spelling for the rest of the summer and it was "our little secret!"
Abby ~ my shadow that summer. I guess right at two is such a critical time for bonding with folks. The first few days were horrible when her mommy left for work, but eventually she loved me almost as much. She was such a snuggler!
And Andrew ~ my little chunk. Even as an infant, you could tell he was going to be an entertainer. He was (and still is) larger than life! He knew who his mommy was, but was content to be held, changed, comforted, and fed by me.

And when I went back to reflect on spending 10 hours a day with those kids, I realized how much I had learned ~ both about keeping up with several kids, and about love. You see, not only did I love them, but
I saw that those three, especially Andrew who didn't know me until he was six months old, began to love me too. That was my "Ahah" moment, when I saw that, while it didn't happen overnight, my cousin's kids came to love me. And if her kids could love me after 10 hours a day for a summer, wouldn't my adopted child come to love me after living with me full time?

So while she thinks that I was helping her out that summer, my cousin doesn't realize that SHE (and her beautiful children) was actually helping me! Ian and I got just the nudge we needed at just the right time so that our file ended up in the matching room of the CCAA just when the file of Lian Bao Zhen arrived...



16 comments:

Nicole said...

What a wonderful story. It is amazing to me what leads people down this road called adoption. All of us have different reasons, different ahh ha moments, but then something happens and there is this unbelievable tie with all of us who have traveled this road. And that is more amazing to me , even still today, than the road, as wonderful the road is in and of it's self, that there is that wonderful bond!
Thanks for sharing !!!

Mom of Triple As said...

Ok, some kind of warning would have been nice. I'm sitting at my desk with tears streaming down my face. I had NO idea! None. I feel priviledged to know that my kids are a piece in your puzzle. They truly do love you (as do I). I have to admit the picture of Andrew in the hospital is a little bittersweet for me~wonderful memories mixed with sad ones.

I wonder how many people will be touched by this post. For how many people will this post be the nudge they need to get on the road towards adoption? Children need love and a family and those things do not have to be biological.

Ally said...

Kristi such a beautiful story. I do pray that God would give others moments like those to help them find the wonderful treasure God has for us... I know I am blessed to have found mine:)

Anonymous said...

I have believed my whole life that blood doesn't make a family. You and Ian have been great examples of that. People often ask if you are a relative or something after hearing my kids talk about you. I just have to laugh and say no, but we did live together for a while and traveled through a few countries together. My kids love you and Ian and your whole extended family for that matter. On our last trip home after visiting, they asked again if I was sure Tricia was not your sister too. I thought that was funny. I also think they not only believe they are related to Kylie and Caleb, but also the Triple A's. You see kids are smart when they ask questions like that, they know a family is built on nothing but LOVE!!

Miss you,
Beth

PS Tricia--It made me cry too!!

C.C. said...

Thank you for sharing more about your journey:-)

Cindy M said...

And I'm thankful every day that God lined it all up so that we would be family, as well...

Angela said...

What a beautiful heartfelt story. I too had those feelings. We are very blessed.

Mom of Triple As said...

So I just had Adam read your post. He read B-O-T, wrinkled up his nose, looked at me and said, "What's that???" Ha! He also wants you to know that he is handsome, not beautiful.

Melissa said...

Kristi - Thanks for sharing this part of your journey. Isn't it amazing how life has led you down different roads and there is always a plan, we just don't always know what it is. I think what makes adoption so special is all of the moments that lead you to such an amazing story!!! Thanks again for sharing....

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for sharing. It's always interesting to learn what leads others to adoption. I really needed the reminder that God's timing is always perfect!

NaiNai Miller said...

Thank you for sharing such an awesome event. I am continually amazed at your profound insight and understanding of people and life. I thought I knew a little about "love" but you and Ian and my grandchildren and your whole extended family have shown me what love really means. I am deeply grateful.

adoptionroad said...

This is a fun piece to learn about you. I love how God brings each of us to a confidence in beginning adoption. I'm also curious how to be a "femme de foyer"? Is there one for Lady of the iMac?

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing this part of your story. I feel the same way about my nieces and nephews who I have cared for like they were my own since the day each of them was born. It's not possible for me to love them more even though I did not give birth to them, they are my world. They have taught me so much - about myself and about my ability to be a mother. And my unconditional love for them has always confirmed my desire to be a mom - even if it's just in my heart right now.

This was a lovely post.

Jess and Tim said...

Thank you for sharing!

Our Journey said...

Kristi -- This was such a lovely post. It brought tears to my eyes! Isn't it amazing how God brings us where we are supposed to be!!!

Cronk Family said...

I love this... I hadn't realized I felt the same way, too. Wondering if Sarah would love me...isn't it great that God takes care of everything?!? I miss you!

Love,
Rebecca