Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pearl Market and Final Thoughts

This morning our travel group headed over to the Pearl Market.  One of the reasons we decided to go was that you can buy pearls in China for 1/4 of the price they cost in the U.S.   But more importantly, it is a tradition in China to give your daughter pearls on her wedding day, and we had two very special girls in mind as we headed to the market.

Vivian had fun running around
Daddy checking out pearls for his girls

We finished up ate some lunch and got in a van and headed to Hong Kong.  We left during rush hour and it took us about 4 hours to get to Hong Kong.  Luckily, Vivian is a great travel companion and did fine on the trip.  She has eaten her way from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, though.  Tonight she ate her own dinner and then tried to eat most of Rob and I's spaghetti.  She even drank Perrier!

It is hard to believe tonight is our last night in China.  Many mixed emotions and we prepare to head home.  Mostly we are excited to get home to our kids and begin our new life as a family of 6!  But, China is where Vivian was born, and where she has spent the past 2 1/2 years of her life.  It is also where we became her parents.  I feel almost exactly like I feel  when I leave the hospital after having a child. I can't wait to get home, but I realize things will never be quite the same as in the hospital (you know, nursery to send your baby to, people taking care of you, etc).  This has been a really special time for Rob and I.  We were just saying tonight what an adventure it has been.  We were talking about how there is no way to ever explain to anyone what those first hours were really like in that hotel room in Nanning when we met Vivian (and the first days to follow).  We are the only ones who will ever really know and that has bonded us in a new way.  I am so glad I was with my best friend for these two weeks.  We came as 2 and we leave as 3.  We leave as different people than when we arrived.  This experience has changed us.  And I am leaving more in love with Rob than when we landed two weeks ago, and I did not think that was possible.

Heavy on my heart tonight are the children we are leaving behind.  I don't know if, in my life, I will ever forget that visit to Vivian's orphanage.  And every person in our travel group had a similar experience.  There are so  many wonderful children here (and all over our world) who will spend their lives as orphans.  Some girls, some boys, some older, some babies, and many who are labeled "special needs".  Know what their biggest "special need" is?  A FAMILY.

Also heavy on my heart are Vivian's birth parents.  As I have said before, we will never really know why Vivian was abandoned.  And we will always be honest with her about that.  However, I have to say that, after visiting her city and seeing her finding spot and learning some new things about her beginnings, I believe this:  I believe that Vivian was left to be found.  I believe she was purposely left in a spot where the time between when she was left and when she would be found would be as short as possible.  And I am so grateful for the courage her parents had to do that.  It is a courage I can't imagine having.  It is the ultimate act of love to give your child up so they can have a chance at a better life.  My heart breaks for them.  And I feel a huge sense of responsibility to honor their sacrifice.  I wonder what they would think if they met Rob and I.  Would they be pleased? Are we what they would have hoped for?  I don't know, but I do know that we will try every day to be all that they wanted for her, and we will do all that we can to give her the life they may have dreamed for her.

Adoption is hard.  It starts with incredible loss and incredible hurt.  But, it is also amazing.  Rob and I can't believe that in this country of millions and millions of people we somehow found this amazing little girl.  We thank God for leading us here in the first place.  We came because we heard a call.  And we thank God for finding us this wonderful child and for watching over her until we could get to her.

Finally, a huge thank you to our family and friends for the outpouring of love and support we received during this journey.  Every.single. comment and message and email has been read by us and has meant so much to us.  I am so glad that Vivian's story has touched so many people and I hope it has shined a light on what adoption is really all about.

Wish us luck on our long journey home.  We look forward to having our family together and complete.  Next post will be from the U.S.A!!!!  Thanks again to everyone!

"Adoption has the dimension of connection-not only to your own tribe but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties, and family. It is a larger embrace. If more people adopted, we would stretch past our immediate circles and, by reaching out, find an unexpected sense of belonging with others."
~Isabella Rossellini


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  2. I love how you put it....."special need"....a family. Well said. I also appreciate how you were so many times blogs about adoption only tell the GOOD stuff....but it is important to remember that there is more - there is loss, there is pain, there is adjustments....but ultimately there is LOVE. Best wishes as you travel become a family of 6. To me - the most important part of our journey - that lasted almost 6 years - was walking through the airport and being able to see our son at the end waiting for dad, mom, and his new little sister. We made quite the scene in the airport :)

  3. Tears!! So well put. I personally cried a ton leaving China. It is because of China that I have the best job on the planet earth........................a Mom. Thanks for sharing your story it has been a joy to read about. I recall the pearl day ;)

  4. This is so beautifully written. I also love how you said their biggest need is a true. I hope that you are having a safe trip home and that you are re-uniting with your kiddos at home. i know you will be so happy to sleep in your own bed tonight!!! Blessings as you begin your new life with Vivian in your family at home!!!!

  5. I just love your blog Maureen - I love your perception, your honesty and your sensitivity. It all brings back so many memories of our adoption trip. As I look at our daughter who is now 10 years old and so lovely, funny, smart and spirited, I see how far she's come and what you will have to look forward too in the coming years. You are absolutely right - those two weeks in China are so unique and such a bonding experience with your spouse - we had our 3 yr old on the trip too, but my husband and I continue to reminisce regularly about what a special time it was for the two of us. Please continue to post so we can continue to follow your story! Welcome to your new life!
    Love from Durham NC

  6. Monica BattenfieldJuly 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Safe travels home! Immediately when I saw the pictures of Vivian's finding spot...I also felt that Vivian's parents obviously wanted her to be found. Your entire journey feels like it filled with if everything happened the way it was intended. :)

  7. I love this. I agree. I often wonder if Olivia's birth parents would be pleased with who God chose for her. I hope so. Just wait until you step off that place and introduce your sweet girl to your other kids. Can't even put into words what that feels like. So so very happy for you.

  8. What an adventure you've been on for sure. And, now, the good stuff really begins. :)

  9. I, too, love your blog, Maureen. Thank you for writing it. Thank you for sharing your journey. I know you are touching so many lives with this blog as every time I check in (every day), I am not surprised to see your view counter has jumped by thousands of views. I am deeply touched by your tremendous honesty, emotional intelligence and compassion, strength, and love. I do hope you will continue to share your family's journey as you return home and settle into life as a family of 6. It is a beautiful journey that reminds me of the resilience of children and the good in human kind. All the best to all of you.