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Friday, March 9, 2012

March 8, Thursday {The orphanage visit}

There is so so much to say.
I am emotionally drained and still trying to find my peace.

First off, your prayers and words mean so so very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I'm just a soccer mom who is trying to get it right and not doing it perfectly any of the time, and want to pass along that things that I would have liked to have heard along the way.  I read every single response, usually out loud to Papa.   The mere fact that y'all would leave such dear heart-felt messages humbles me.  Papa and I both thank those who have offered us prayers, kind words, suggestions, cyber hugs, your own stories so we know we aren't alone, and so much more.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Today was the visit to the orphanage.  3+ hours one way.

So many feelings and bits of new information, and a better understanding of our girl.
My head is swimming trying to process it all.  Initially, I think it is the hardest thing I've done in this adoption adventure.  I'm still so very glad we went.  Not all families have this opportunity.  Truth be told, very few China adoptive families have this opportunity so we are among the lucky few.

I learned more about her "special need."  Still processing it.
I learned some details of her abandonment.  The mention of a "card board box" made me cry all over again.
I saw 2 children whose mamas are coming for them very very shortly.  They are both just gorgeous.

Mimi was whisked away from me even before I had a chance to get out of the van.  As we entered the care center, she pointed down the hall and said mama.  She knew where she was going.  I had never seen her point before, much less close to being this relaxed and animated.  There was an ease about her in her other mama's arms.
I didn't even try to hold her again until it was time to leave.  And that was alright by me.  Mimi was at ease for the 2-3 hours we were there, and I wanted to give her that at least.

At the end, our guide instructed us, foster mama, me, and Mimi, to all hug.  To show our girl that we liked each other and this hand-off was ok with us all.  We did.  My little one clenched every muscle in her precious little body as I approached and touched her in our embrace.
Our guide asked foster mama to tell our amazingly strong girl, in her own words, that I was her new mama now.  And that it was ok that with the foster mama, that Mimi come be with us forever, her new family.  That she would always love her and remember her.  Foster mama brushed her cheek against our new daughter's temple and quietly said these things to her.  My tears were already coming at this point.  I think foster mama's were too.  Mimi's would be far behind.
Then our guide said to quickly take the baby and get into the van.  I didn't want to take her at all.  I wanted her to be given to me.  But it wasn't physically possible.
And I did the best I could wrestling with a very very angry child.
We saw foster mama wipe away the tears as we left.
Unlike the hand off 3 days earlier, Mimi was fierce this time.  In the van heading back, she recoiled her body and thrashed.  She repeatedly pinched and hit me.  She arched her back and threw back her head as she screamed   The only thing I could do was keep her from hurting herself and pray over and over and over.  She screamed until she was doing it in her sleep.  And ultimately she collapsed into sleep in my arms.  Only to sleep-cry some more.

There is so much more.
But I have to get this down before I forget the details.
This child was loved, and this child loved hard.
And this is all very good in the end.

Foster mama with Mimi.  I will treasure this photo always.  
Our Mimi woke up finally in the van about 90 minutes later, and we were back to where we were when we woke that morning.  Stoic and very much attached to me.
I understand so much more about her personality now, the extent of how much she was spoiled, and what she is capable of.  And she is capable of so very much!
If anything, this trip to the orphanage has been wonderful closure for me.  I'm ready to move one and proceed with tomorrow.  And this is one of the best parts.

I intend to post lots of happy pics next post.
Or at least not crying ones.
She really is doing better this morning.  She is waving bye-bye and letting other people interact with her.  Her transition is a slow work in progress, but it is surely making progress.  I hope the visit to the SWI in hind sight will be a turning point.

39 comments:

  1. You have me in tears just reading this! It broke my heart in a totally different way to see our daughter walk away from her nannies with never a backward glance. It is a blessing that Mazie was loved so much!

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  2. Nancy, luckely you've been able to visit and hear about Mazie and the life she had before you came. Save it in your hart and tell her when she's ready to learn more about her past. We do not have anything to share with both of our girls... and now these days the oldest one cries for her roots, about her past before us, to hear what she was like as a baby, and much more... I can not tell her.. only help her get through this proces of tears and healing and grief.
    You are so blessed, I envy you but also PTL because He made this happen!!!! Be save, be strong!!! You can make it happen, Mazie will show you little peaces of herself within days!!!

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  3. The process is so different in Taiwan. There you go to the orphanage for the handing over of the child. You don't go back. I don't honestly know if I'd be strong enough to go through the way it's done in China. It would be so hard for me to see my new child happy to be back in their former home and know I'd have to rip them away all over again.

    I can only imagine what that was like for all of you, and for her.

    But maybe it will end up being a good thing. I know it's crazy to compare it to my puppy but when we got her there was a handing over, a transfer of power from her former owner to us. I think it can only help Mazie to have seen that hug among all of you, and to hear her foster mother tell her it's okay to love you, it's okay to go with you.

    I hope it gives her the closure to move forward and start to enjoy this wonderful life she will now get to have.

    Safe journey the rest of the way.

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  4. The process is so different in Taiwan. There you go to the orphanage for the handing over of the child. You don't go back. I don't honestly know if I'd be strong enough to go through the way it's done in China. It would be so hard for me to see my new child happy to be back in their former home and know I'd have to rip them away all over again.

    I can only imagine what that was like for all of you, and for her.

    But maybe it will end up being a good thing. I know it's crazy to compare it to my puppy but when we got her there was a handing over, a transfer of power from her former owner to us. I think it can only help Mazie to have seen that hug among all of you, and to hear her foster mother tell her it's okay to love you, it's okay to go with you.

    I hope it gives her the closure to move forward and start to enjoy this wonderful life she will now get to have.

    Safe journey the rest of the way.

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  5. Andrea-
    I think there could be better ways for this "transition" to be done. But it is what it is, and given all we know, I think the pro's of the SWI visit outweigh the con's... at least in the long run.
    Visiting the SWI isn't the norm for China adoptions, but it does happen on occasion. And we were one of the few given the option.
    I know for very very certain, that our girl was so loved and can convey this to her with such certainty now. Without the visit, I don't think I would have had such confidence in saying this.
    Thank you so much for your thoughts! They are so very appreciated!
    nancy

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  6. Nancy, I know you will understand this comment and take it the right way. I have not been jealous that you got to travel sooner than me and that I can't be there with you. I know God's timing is perfect and the dates we are traveling are His plan. But I am jealous of this picture. I will not get to experience this with my Renee. I know it was hard, but you are right what a very special and unique opprotunity you had. I am so thankful for you. I know there is a reason I won't be able to do this. I am trusting God! Thank you for visiting my girl. The pictures mean so much. So glad that your Mazie is doing better this morning. Much love and hugs!
    Lisa

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  7. Lisa--It was an honor to find your sweetie and look in on her. I am counting down the days till you are united with her. The pic was a lucky shot Liv took. Yes, it will be a blessing to pass on to my Mazie. It was a tough trip. Feel confident in your decision. You will be doing the best for you girl.
    nancy

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  8. So glad to hear she is doing a bit better. Sweet baby, so glad you are sticking it out and praying for her. What a great momma you are to her. Praying for you all.

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  9. Nancy,
    So much running through my heart as I read this post. But here's what came first:Isaiah 61 (selection)
    The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has chosen me to bring good news to poor people. He has sent me to heal those with a sad heart. He has sent me to comfort all who are filled with sorrow. To those who have sorrow in Zion I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope. Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored.

    You are truly doing His work.

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  10. Amazing. I'm not sure what else to say. Have loved following your journey. We leave in just under 2 weeks for our second Chinese adoption. The first was rough. This one....who knows. But your post helped me get my game face back on as we emotionally prepare for what's coming. Prayers for you guys and for sweet Mazie. She's awesome. :)

    Jennifer

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  11. This is all just beautiful to me. I have no background knowledge of adoptions and babies and all of this that you are going through, Nancy. I am so indescribably amazed by your actions. I have been thinking of you and Mazie, of your husband and family every day since I discovered your blog 2 weeks ago. I am so so happy for Mazie, for Jude and Tess and Liv, Patch, Boo and Sunny. They have THE BEST parents anyone could ask for. With warrior hearts that fight for love.
    I don't have kids of my own. I have a stepson that is 7 and in the role of a step-parent, there have been many struggles as well as blessings. I wouldn't change a thing but deep inside it can be hard to "be okay" with it all. Reading about your lives with your babies has.. I don't know how to say it..slapped me across the face (in a VERY GOOD way!!) and offered me a perspective about LOVE and how a-okay it can be :)

    I'm sending you all some love from New Jersey to China. Tons of it. Huge heaps, shouts, jumps, hugs- everything all at once. So happy for you!!

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  12. Dear Nancy, I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks now. I found it through Pinterest with the eggs and bacon candy which my daughter and I had so much fun making for my husband for Valentine's Day. He loves bacon and eggs and sweets. So, it was just perfect for him. I have been so moved by the story unfolding with Mazie. My sister-n-law is Chinese from Main Land China. My brother met her when he was a teacher over there in the same area you are in. I know there is much hardship and sorrow in their culture because of their government. My brother lived among them for 2 years. He told me how much the Chinese people love their children. They dote heavily on them because life is hard there and the difficulties of their life will bring the discipline they need. It is like they want to shelter them with their love and devotion as long as they can. As a rule they are a kind and gentle people that have been dominated by a minority that is unfeeling and cruel. I know the underground church in China is huge and their faith is to be so admired. Mazie has a very deep and amazing heritage and she is very blessed to have you and your husband as her parents. My prayers are with you all.

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  13. Okay...I should NOT have looked at your blog at work....Tears..and on top of that I just happen to be listening to "so far to find you". Father God in the Name of Jesus: May little Mazie supernaturally be able to see Nancy and Papa's hearts and their desire to take care of her,to hold her hand, never to be left alone again. Help her to give up the fight and the fearfulness. In Jesus name I pray!

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  14. No gain without loss. The reality of that is too hard sometimes. The picture is wonderful. Hearts are flying out right at you....

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  15. You are very blessed to have visited the orphanage and meet her foster mother. I was able to meet our girls foster parents as well and it gave huge insight in who she was and now three years later I still see why some of her behaviours are the way they are. I know a lot of people have given you flack for the "spoiled" comment, but I understand this completely! I will say that her coming from a very loving family is huge in attachment and knowing what family is. Our other daughter is still struggling knowing what a "mama" and "papa" truly is, as she came out of a orphanage, never grieved and never looked back.

    I may not know you, but am thankful for your honest posts, it will help many others, but more than that it shows all of us how to pray for you and your girl through this time.

    She is a beauty.

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  16. Wow. I'm blown away by your journey so far. What an absolute blessing that Mazie was loved so fiercely & that she has learned to love just as fiercely in turn. Thank God you were able to witness it!!

    I was overruled in my desire to go to our son's orphanage. Both the agency and my husband decided it was best not to go (so we didn't even request it). I still wish we could have gone. I've seen him love on us (though we did have to earn it!), and I know it could have only happened because of the love he received from the nannies.

    Sending love, {{hugs!}}, and prayers to you as you continue in your journey. I'll be waiting to see some more pictures of your newest beauty!!

    Amy

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  17. Thinking and praying for you! I am so glad you were able to visit the SWI. So special and to meet the foster mom and give Mazie that moment of transition. Mazie is strong and that is great! I cannot wait to see more pictures!

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  18. I had been checking for a new post over and over in the last several days. I was starting to get worried. Obviously Mazie and her nanny were very, very attached. Bless both their hearts. I am so glad you found closure (we will be able to visit Noelle's orphanage also in a couple of weeks). The door has been closed for you. Now, don't look back and move forward with your new beautiful daughter. It sounds like Mazie is ready to take your hands and walk on also. :D

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  19. Oh and I can't wait to see the happy photos! :D

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  20. This made me cry. We didn't get to meet our daughter's foster mother or visit her orphanage. Thank you for writing about your pain so that others can share a little of the hurt. Day by day, the pain will ease. Praying for you.

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  21. I know things will get better day by day for all of you. Hang in there, you are doing a great job. Blessings

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  22. Oh what a deeply beautiful heart tugging post. I agree, this had to be the hardest thing to watch Mazie experience the loss of "her world" as she knows it all over again.
    May the coming DAYS bring her comfort, the coming MONTHS bring her contentment and the coming YEARS with her new forever family bring her great joy and a lifetime of happiness.

    Now go hug on that baby girl :)

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  23. It is so hard to read your posts from the last few days. I have followed you for a little time now, and think you all will be fine. It doesn't make what is happening any easier. But it will be a valuable part of your daughter's history - and for you to tell. That is a gift.

    I have not been able to write down the day we met our son and his foster mom, a little over a year ago. I know I will have to.

    How are your other children doing? This must be such a strong experience for them.

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  24. All I know about adoption process is what I read on your blog and other blogs by people who adopted. Namely that families need a bunch of official papers and that it takes years to get them all. And frankly, this makes me quite angry. Do the authorities actually know how traumatic all this is for a small child? They should read your blog. :((

    Nancy, you were really really brave to visit the orphanage with her. I put myself in your situation, and... I wouldn't have done it! I am sure I wouldn't. I am not that strong.

    I am glad to hear that in spite of everything she is attaching to you. Looking forward for more pics of sweet Mazie. She is soooooooooo precious.

    Tonight, when I'll knee before our God, sweet Mazie and you all will be in my prayer as well. <3

    Stay strong!!

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  25. That gorgeous photo of her with her foster mama says so much, so amazingly, so beautifully. I'm a choked up mess over here...

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  26. I just wanted to say I have been eating up every post about your journey. We will be going to China this summer to complete our first adoption. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Praying for God's peace, strength & wisdom as you & your family transition with your new daughter through this time. -Heather

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  27. We adopted a 3 1/2 yr old from Guangxi and I can totally relate to your description of the ride back from the orphanage with a furious child. I had black and blue marks up and down my arms from our child's transition to us. It is awful to see your child hurting so much and not be able to do anything. Keep praying - it will get better with time. I would also just suggest staying in the hotel room as much as possible. We found that our daughter had a much tougher time in public places - maybe she was anxious about her foster family coming back for her. I don't know. But it was better when it was just the 3 of us in the hotel room. Hugs to all of you.

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  28. You are a strong woman- which is what it takes to be a mama these days in this world of ours. I can relate so much to your daughters sadness. It gets me right in the gut and takes me back to china with my daughter. We did not have an orphanage visit, and I wonder how I would have handled what you went through. Your honesty is much appreciated by this adoptive mama. Stay strong for your little Mazie!

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  29. I'm so glad she's doing better. Getting to see her caretaker is such a blessing! A nanny came with Delilah but it wasn't her nanny. But they gave us a hat and shoes made by her nanny, so that was wonderful! Praying for your next steps in Guangzhou.

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  30. Have been re-clicking and hoping for this post. G-d bless you all. What a lot to process. Thank you so much for your honesty about it all.

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  31. Glad to hear that today is a better day. I know when we received Jacob, he LOVED his nanny and didn't want us or his birthfamily. We were SO nervous about the ride back to Hanoi, but in the end, he feel asleep before we left Lang Son and when he woke, he was quiet and reflective, but he was calm, eating chips and looking out the window. I have seem videos of families that visiting the nannies after getting their children and seeing how happy the kids and nannies were to see each other again, only to have to tear them apart again. It seems SO heartbreaking! I am glad that it seemed to help Mazie accept you though. I would have LOVED to hear what our nanny said to Jacob. We saw how she talked to him, touching me. How she kept trying to give him to me and how she would "hide" while he would stay in my arms. It was good that she was the "old pro" since he was having transfer issues, while the other 2 babies in teh group when to their new families more readily and their nannies were very young and emotional about the exchange. You could she how much ours loved Jacob, but she knew that he final job was help his transition to us. (((HUGS))) to all of you.

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  32. First time to comment on your blog. Your daughter is so beautiful and I have been praying for all of you. The puncture of Mazie with her foster mama brought me to my knees.....
    I truly hope the orphanage visit is Mazie's turning point. In November of 2010, we too were one of the lucky families who got to take our daughter back to her orphanage. I will never forget it, and these are some of my most treasured moments from our trip. Today at 2.5 yrs. old, my daughter will sometimes hold the photo of herself in her foster mama's arms, smile big, and say "my China mama." These baby girls are so brave and so courageous. May love, peace and healing be in your daughter's dreams tonight.

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  33. oh Nancy, my heart just overflows with many emotions for you, Mazie, your family, her foster mother. I am so very thankful you all were able to go to say goodbye to her foster mother. I am at a full blown cry now for all of you. I will be praying for you as we tour today. We made it safely last night and the biggest whooo hooo is I figured out how to use VPN express, truly awesome. Hope to meet you in Guangzhou!!!! So thankful you were able to get more info on sweet Mazie!!!! HUGS!!!

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  34. What an incredible pic...you can feel the love between the two of them! This post had me in tears too. I can't imagine how hard that experience was, but how awesome that you got to go and see it all! Can't wait to see more pics! Praying things continue to get better & you havea smooth trip to GZ!

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  35. This picture is beautiful. I've been so touched reading each of your posts of this journey. Mazie is so lucky to have you, but also so lucky to have been loved so strongly by her foster mama.
    My prayers are with you, Mazie, and your family.

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  36. Hugs and prayers for everyone. Love you all so much.

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  37. You said, "I'm just a soccer mom who is trying to get it right and not doing it perfectly any of the time" and my immediate response was to think that you're wrong - you are doing an absolutely amazing job of dealing with one of the most incredibly painful issues that is part of the world's most complex tasks.

    Your posts are so well written, so intensely personal, so filled with things that are truly important that they simultaneously inspire me to write something in mine and make me want to stop posting altogether because I don't think I can craft postings of equal quality & value. Your willingness to share your feelings & experiences so openly is of inestimable value to all those families (and families-to-be) still trapped in the paperchase.

    Thank YOU so much for allowing us to follow along on your journey with all the Crazy 9; Mazie's still a little too young (and at the moment a lot too preoccupied) to realize what an amazing family she is now part of... but I have absolutely no doubt that as she moves through her grief she will come to understand and will love you right back just as hard as you're loving her now.

    "The Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!"

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  38. *tears* I am so thankful she had and has love. So much love....

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  39. Preparing to get go get my girl next month, and THIS is exactly the perspective and opportunity that my husband and I are hoping for. I know it's not easy--but it seems right for us to go there together--to help her say goodbye, to get permission from her other mama to go, and to just reap whatever we can about her first home while we're there. Our agency is by no means promising a visit to her SWI, but we sure are praying for it!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    kim smith

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