A recent backyard pic!
My life took the biggest and best turn ever! During our last presidential election, 4 years ago this week I was FRANTIC! Thankfully I voted early (as I did this time) because I never would have made it to the polls on election day. I spent that day and night (and I mean staying up all night) packing and wondering, and basically just being a bundle of nerves. All because early that Wednesday morning I boarded a plane (yes, little old me, scared of flying) to go to Hong Kong and meet my daughter.
I have been reminiscing over and over in my head lately-so grateful for the turn my life took...so thankful for my daughter! I can't believe it's been four years! Sometimes I still can't believe that she's mine...she's my daughter.
I remember my friend Bethany taping me as we took the transit through Hong Kong. We were walking through these courtyards and when we finally got to the building where Yan lived with her foster family-I felt like I was going to implode with excitement and nervousness. We loaded the elevator and Bethany turned on the camera, she said something along the lines of, "Jennifer, you're about to become a mom, what are you thinking?" I said I was scared and excited and just overwhelmed...but really I couldn't even put my thoughts into words. We stepped out of the elevator to the floor and I could hear squealing down the hallway. Yan's foster mother had a little vase of silk flowers that she had for me that Yan was holding. She kept telling her that I was coming, and Yan squealed with delight and anticipation. She was jumping up and down holding the flowers for me when I reached the doorway.
I burst into tears upon seeing her and remember saying, "Oh, she's so little"...because compared to her pictures, she looked so tiny. I wanted to squeeze her immediately, but knew that I had to ease into my new role. I remember wanting to talk to her foster family but all I could do was drop down to the ground to finally see my daughter, meet her at her level and soak it all in.
We started to get to know each other, but as Yan saw that I was there for more than a visit, her walls went up. She was so attached to her wonderful foster family (and I am SO grateful that she was so loved...thank you IPS, we know you read the blog and love you so much!) and she really wanted nothing to do with me. I don't know how many times I got slapped by her during those first couple of days. She was saying "Back off lady!"
Finally the day came to say good-bye to her foster family...it was simply one of the hardest days of my life and hopefully the hardest she will ever have to endure. To literally watch her taken from her foster mother's arms screaming, see her foster mother crying and know that I (though for a wonderful reason long term) was causing that pain was beyond hard. Yan screamed for 10 minutes and then she shut down, she went into shock...I didn't see her cry again for almost 4 months. She was heartbroken, I was heartbroken for her...and those moments of first becoming an official mommy were somewhat bittersweet.
But God is faithful. He truely , "...sets the lonely in families"...he has healed so much of Yan's heart. He has given her an indescribable joy, a zest for life an innocence that is amazing. Through Yan, God has opened my eyes to see beauty that I never knew existed. I remember hearing someone say when they adopted their child, it was like they saw life in color for the first time. My life is colorful with Yan. She has taught me that love is not given by blood...but by choice. She has shown me a deeper level of love, joy and thankfulness. She has taught me that success is not measured in dollars, or status, or degrees-but in the difference you make in the lives of others.
To her I say, "Thank you! Thank you my beautiful daughter for being who you are! You are a true gift from God and I treasure every moment that I have with you! Words cannot ever express how much I love you, and how you are CHOSEN!! Though your little life started out rough, I am so grateful for your birth parents who gave you life. God designed for our lives to be lived together and I could not be happier. I am far from perfect, I make so many mistakes...but I will always love you. You will never be alone, you have been chosen and designed to be mine...I LOVE YOU!!!!"
Okay, so I should have warned you that I'm very emotional this week. I'm going to attempt to post the slideshow I made a long while ago, of my trip to Hong Kong to get Yan...and some other pics. If it doesn't work, I'll post later. Much love! Jenn