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Monday, October 22, 2012

By the window

24 hours in, it became obvious that the window was the place in the hotel room that she felt safest.  In the beginning she'd stand at the window and pat the glass calling out for something.  Over and over.  Or maybe it was someone.  There's no way for us to know since we don't speak toddler Chinese.  But she certainly was looking for something she didn't have and desperately wanted. Sometimes she'd whimper as she looked.  And often she'd just cry.  It was heart breaking to witness.  (The pics on this post  were also taken at that window too in one of those moments.)  Sometimes she'd get distracted from her grief as a car would pass.  It became obvious she hadn't seen many cars.  But she definitely felt more peace {or hope?} by the window then anywhere else, so this is where she ate her meals, and where we dressed and changed her.  And where we got to know one another those first couple days.

Patch, whose 13-year-old heart is so amazing, knew just what to do.  He got down on her level and just let her be.  They looked out the window together.  He pointed out the cars as they passed.  He gradually played next to her.  The wonderful magic of stacking cups became obvious.  You adoption mamas know what I'm talking about.  These stacking cups seem so innocuous, but they have magical powers.  He'd stack them up.  Maybe she'd help.  Or maybe not.  But after he showed her how to do it, she'd surely knock them down. 
Over a couple days, her first smiles slowly came in that very window.  Then a giggle.  Then more.  And he was playing with her and eventually and more importantly she with was playing with him.  And we got to see the first glimpses of her sweet soul.
Is this where we talk about bringing other children on the adoption trip?  I know there's a bit of controversy on this topic in the adoption world.  I get both sides.  But given the right child, enough hands, and sufficient funds, I'd recommend taking your other children.  
For us, "the right child" meant one that was flexible, responsible, a hard worker, compassionate, could easily follow directions, would eat most anything, daring, independent  and surely several more character traits I'm leaving out.  Not all our kiddos fit the bill.  And we definitely didn't have enough money or support to bring all of them.
Bringing our young teens, on both trips has been the very right answer for us.  Our younger children might have gotten jealous, scared, or frankly, in the way of the enormous amount of time and effort that it takes to adjust to a new son or daughter.  But these two, Livy who was 12 years old on the first trip to VietNam, and this time to China with Patch who was 13, and again Livy who was 15 were such amazing blessings to us!  They definitely had a say if they wanted to come.  It was explained to them very clearly that this trip was not a vacation.  They would have to work through out the trip and be very flexible.  They'd be helping haul luggage and doing whatever was asked to be done.  Both food and sleep could be unpredictable and in unfamiliar settings.  And indeed, you'll notice our oldest teen opted out of the trip for some well-thought-out reasons
And not only were our young teens a blessing to have with us, the trip left them changed for the better!  They have a better vision of the world and how to serve others in it.  And that is the absolutely best type of education that we could ever hope to give them!

Up next... to the orphanage we go.  Wow.  I mean, just wow.  It was a day like no other.


  1. P and O were a blessing to all of us on the trip - it was such a pleasure getting to know them and watching them thrive in their position as son/daughter and big brother/sister. It was also wonderful getting to know D. I have many a happy memory of him at breakfast in the morning savoring every bite of the buffet cuisine and planning the day's adventures.

    Side note - how did you manage to shoot directly into the window and end up with such great shots? What were your settings? Any tips?

    1. We still all fondly talk about D at the breakfast buffett, going back for 4ths and 5ths and more and literally savoring Every. Single. Bite. It was a blessing to have ALL the grandparents on that trip!
      Yes, some special things you need to do to shoot in to the light. Let me email you.
      missing you,

  2. Our R stood by the window and jabbered away. I so wish we could have known what she was saying. We had a view of the running track of the school that was right next door. She seemed to be yelling at the people below. On pins and needles waiting for the next post. Thanks for all your hard work.

    1. That's the exact view we had too. I kinda liked looking out that window too! It was a wonderful window to China.

    2. Same view for us too. Abbie liked the view out of the window from the shower. Ah, full wall windows looking out to the city in the shower...good stuff. :-)

  3. Oh, those first few days were tough. I agree with the older kids going, def not the younger ones. There's no way we could have taken a 3 yr old with us. Our 13 yr old made the first trip to China with us, definately a huge help with Harper.
    Love these shots...

  4. Great stuff Nancy - looking forward to the orphanage post - they were always a real "turning point" for our family!

    hugs and great joy (and a silent prayer for "stacking cups"!)

    aus and co.

  5. Beautiful photos of a touching moment of sibling bonding. We took our two kids (then ages 10 and 8) on our trip to Ethiopia. We also took and Uncle, whose main job was to look out for the older kids so we could focus on bonding. I'm truly glad we took them, even though it had its challenges. They got to see the village where our kiddos were born and get a feel for why they have some of the behaviors they have. They loved playing with the older kids at the son even tried to teach them how to play baseball (with limited success). What great memories.

  6. What a touching post! How blessed you (and your beautiful family) are!

  7. We took our 15 year old son and I would not have had it any other way. Sophie was immediatley drawn to him. She would lie on his chest for hours and not move. She just felt so safe with him. After a few days I did have to intervene because she was beginning to attach to him so I had to set some boundaries but he was such a blessing to have there and his memories of that trip are so special! I can't wait to see future posts from you on this trip. It brings back so many special memories for me :)

  8. We took our girls who were barely 9 and 12, and they were amazing. Younger daughter isn't particularly flexible or cooperative, but she really got it in China. Older daughter is a baby magnet who can carry a ton and be counted on to be there when the going is tough. They made bonding so much easier because the little guy saw them trusting us, and they were great playmates for him, with their youthful creativity. SOOOOOOooooo glad we took them!

    We did not take older son who was barely 6. He can't even make it through a sermon, much less a 14 hour flight and endless paperwork, with jet lag and no snacks. I missed him so much, but it was a good choice, and Skype helped a lot.


  9. As like all your pictures, it is an amazing window into the lives of your sweet and amazing children. This post especially I enjoy looking at the expression on Patch's face as he intently watches Mimi. I think it is so sweet the way he just puts one block on another and she watches him. The fourth picture down where she is leaning back just a little, just watching him and he is just going along stacking blocks like it is the most normal, everyday thing he does, is just great. Then the fifth picture when all the blocks are stacked they just smile at each other like they have been doing this since... forever. Then the last shot, I almost feel like they are looking at "us" and thinking "how long have you been there". Even though they are just snapshots it does make my heart smile to see them.

  10. These pictures are so precious. It reminds me of or adoption even though they were much older.

  11. nancy, i have spent the last half hour reading your family's story and am so inspired - beautiful, beautiful words and photos - your family is incredible. so happy to have found your blog. i look forward to reading.
    thank you so much for your thoughtful words on my blog. <3
    wishing you a relaxing night.


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