Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Miss me?

2 WHOLE days, no blog post. Are you in withdrawal? Ha, ha, now I know my blog is not that exciting- come on! Please forgive me but jet lag stinks. You feel good for a little bit and try to get tons done then you crash and you are worthless. Mom will you PLEASE forgive me? (Stop calling and bugging me)

Can you believe they gave us crazy looking people more kids? Hopefully I will make up for my break- I am going to try to answer questions that have been posed-

How did we learn of the boys? When receiving Chloe in 2009 I was handed a translated police report stating there were 3 children found together guessed to be around age 8. I questioned who the "other 2 were." When they brought me a paper with 3 children's registrations, Lu Fei, Lu Kai and Lu Yun, I KNEW they were siblings. I just knew in my heart.

We asked the guide to find out where their files were, how old they were, were they still at the orphanage, were they adoptable, and made sure they knew we wanted both these boys since they were her brothers.

Our agency for Chloe had no idea there were brothers. Neither of the files for Chloe or Chance had anything about a sibling at all.

The agency that already had Chance's file was willing to help us by reducing fees as a returning family. All three children had been on many lists and on the shared list for years, no one had picked the boys. God led us to Chloe.

When we had gotten Pre Approval for Chance and then worked on our dossier for him, we started inquiring about the other brother. We thought he was aged out. But when our dossier was done and sent we ASKED- is he really aged out and asked them to make it clear that we wanted to give this boy our name, to adopt him, to love him, give him a family.

Word came back, no, he had NOT aged out, his birth date was WRONG. We do know this was God's work right here. Not going to give anyone or anything credit beyond GOD.

So after an amendment was made to his file, we were allowed to apply to adopt him. Sounds simple now. We did not know what exactly had been done to accomplish this until we got his paperwork in Ch*na, and really, we didn't care. Before we even asked we MADE Chloe call him and ask him- did he even WANT to come here, to be adopted by us or stay there and we would help him any way we could. he said "YES" he very much wanted to be adopted, wanted to come home with his siblings. I wasn't going to bring home a child/teen who didn't want to come.

During this time Chloe was getting more and more English and was telling us she thought her and Chance were twins, but she wasn't sure, and knowing their family story I had suspected this, along with the amazing likeness of them.

You see, they were living in the street, but she shared they were with their mother. Their crippled mother. Begging to keep them all fed, and Chase was the "man" of the family. The kids were starving and someone reported them and the police came. They took the children, but left their mother. I am sure they told the authorities their names, and that's it. These kids KNEW their mother had been left to die. She was all they had other than each other.* I can't imagine how much pain these children had to be in at that time.

* I share this with Chloe's full permission, some people think an adopted child's family story is private, Chloe has no shame, nor should she, she doesn't want pity, don't even try to pity her-- and she doesn't mind sharing that this was her life. It's a part of HER, of who she is today, the strong and wonderful child we are proud to call daughter.

So we amended our home study to reflect the acceptance and approval for 2, we did the immigration request for 2 and the biggest hurdle was taken care of by many wonderful people who heard God's call and wanted to be a part of His Hands in bringing the boys home- they donated the funds to get us there. We also received a generous grants from Gift of Adoption as well as A Child Awaits.

As far as immigration, medical exams, everything, these were two 13 year old boys being adopted. No one questioned it. And really, let's be honest here, these were 2 children, boys who no one was going to adopt in their home land. They were going to be back in the streets within MONTHS to fend for themselves. There is no shortage of boys in Ch*na, and no families from any culture lined up to adopt 13 year olds at all- boys or girls:( from Ch*na.

Of note, while we were in Ch*na, there was another family adopting 2 boys from another agency we went to supper with, I thought it was hilarious that Chloe and Shai were giggling and whispering and I asked what they were talking about. Chloe said "we don't think that one boy, he have mustache, he no 13."

And as his mom said later "luck of the guess". That's right, these are guessed dates, many from years previously that could be right or wrong. Again, no one lined up to take these boys home. Thank God for his family finding him.

We completed our adoption in province. They were our sons right then.

We asked Chase if the 2 younger were twins. We did not ask about real birth dates as we knew they were all guessed. All 3. And we already had figured Chloe was NOT 14 going on 15, no way. So as far as going to the consulate we were truthful, we clearly said we knew the birth dates were guessed and we were okay with that. Really, we didn't care. These were our kids, meant to be. A birth date is in reality just a number.

Now we are home, we have Chase's real birth date. He told us. He turned 15 on Feb 27. Chloe and Chance are 14 on July 22, still a guessed date but a correct age. Chase can't remember their actual birth date, he just knows the twins are 13. Funny that Chase's real birth date is not one of the 3 different birth dates we have in paperwork at ALL.

What do we do now? Well, Chance's birth date is the only correct one. So we will proceed to change Chloe and Chase's to what we know to be as correct as we can get. I have a call into our attorney now. And we accept them as our children. Again, just a number, so we really don't worry about it. We go by maturity and responsibility here to parent, not your number age. 'Cause for us, it's what works.

It was a heartfelt moment when I finally saw the paper I had seen and learned of the brothers from, the police report for Chance and Chase and it finally had the amendment that they were found together, these 3 children and they were siblings. I cried. It was for me, the moment of what was wrong being righted, for our children. Confirmation they were siblings from their Day 1 history at the orphanage. Didn't really mean much to anyone else, but for them, it's RIGHT.

So do we think others will be able to do this. Huuumm-- I don't know. I don't know how much of the "these are siblings and everyone knows it and it's only right for the same family who wants them to have them", came into play. We KNOW what God did. Do I think this could and should happen for other children to come home? YES-- I do. WHY? Because a 14 year old child, even a 15 year old child, hey, we even have kids up to 21 years old to adopt in the USA, they NEED a family.

I don't think Ch*na sees families as wanting these older kids to love and cherish. Yet, they are so incredibly lovable and loving. And fun. I don't have a diaper in sight. I do not have crying in the night. Watching them fast forward grow in language, skills, love and all the other ways is totally amazing. I wouldn't change it for a newborn any day. It's a different road but a cool one to follow. Worth every step.

I hope and pray Ch*na sees older children as worthy of adoption and releases the "age 14 and no family ever" rule. We were told they do not ever make exception to that rule. So if you know of a child and you think it's too late, I will advise you to ASK, it hurts NO ONE to ask if that child really truly IS aging out. We've all heard of the ones that were found to be younger than they were on paper (like Chloe) it's not an exact science. Mistakes can happen and can be God- led to be "corrected." We know this.

These kiddos need to have someone to guide them, to love them, to turn to if times are rough, to go home to have a meal with, to get their laundry done. We have a 25 year old son, he lived NEXT DOOR. Our grown children come and go often. We encourage them to be independent but they also know we are here for them. No matter what. Some of our grown ones are doing things today I do not approve of with their lives, but we still love them and they know it. Our job of loving them will never be "done". Ever.

Do we feel we are going to have a rough time with Chase as he is 15? NO, we have half the battle won when he came to us full of trust as he knew we wanted him, we made our intentions clear, we wanted to give him our family name- something that is HUGE in Chinese culture. We are so encouraged that he is playful and testing us, just as a normal child should be doing. He clearly has a ton of "child" left in him, that he will be able to channel into fun things to do while he lets down his guard of protection and really understands his place here. As a son and brother, but mainly as a child.

Also you may look at him and see a young man, as we have sons up to age 25 and at 6 ft 4 inches for the biggest, this guy at 5 ft 7, skinny as a can be and even aged 15 is still a "child" to us. Easily. I am glad he has older brothers , he is no longer the "oldest son" to need to take on so much. Although we realize it will be part of his personality forever. Can't you just SEE how happy he is in the pictures? I know we did the right thing for these kids- all 3 of them. No regrets here.

So there it is. What else do you all want to know? I'll try to answer if you let me a comment.

Donna, I am 42. So I qualify for the 40 and over- lack of control issue. No insult taken. As far as a sense of humor, some days it's all I have left, so I guess so. I've heard it's a fine line between sane and insane, so we'll call it sense of humor and leave it at that- okay?

What have we been doing? The boys figured out how to say "shopping, mother?" and they said this numerous times, driving mother bonkers. Chase actually took his turn at annoying mother, he wanted a haircut, hair spray, refused to clip his fingernails which are longer than mine and didn't want to eat his supper last night, he kept making gagging noises. Do you recall the comments above about "still being a child??"

I'd call him a booger but then that comes to another subject, the nails had to go because he was using them for things I won't write about (2+2=4) Y'all are smart, figure it out. So the nails went. Gone. Baba had to tell him, he would not listen to me. As Baba said "Mama mad, family SAD."

Both the boys were hilarious watching me curl my hair, they stood and watched and walked all around me looking and touching my hair. It was so sweet. I didn't take a curling iron on the trip so they never saw me with my hair curled. Chase wanted to try out the iron but I told him "no". He did fix his hair with my hair spray then:)

I ran the sweeper and they watched, I do not mean they sat and watched --they stood beside me, one on each side and pointed out the dirt I hadn' t gotten to yet, while Chance had to get down and check out the window where you could see the dirt swirling into the container. Then Chase pointed to upstairs and I said "okay" and off he went, he swept the boys' bedroom. Cool with me!

I bought them a ton of noodles, cup of soup and they went nuts over all the meat, packaged meat, hot dogs, lunch meat, sausages, etc. I had to tell them "no" as they got stuff and wanted to give it to me, I want them to see I PICK the food. I was careful to pick fruit, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, things they can know exactly what they are so they are not wasting food. Canned food is much harder, it's not always what you think from the picture on the can:) They got some more jammies, Chance didn't like that his were shorts, he doesn't realize he may like them when it's 100 degrees here soon, but he gave them to Cam. At least he was nice enough to give them to Cam.

Kat was struggling with Chase's name he was so sweet, he said to her "me GieGie". Which is "big brother." They are finding their pecking order. All within normal range, no one knocked anyone else out so all was well in our world.

I took pictures of the meal they didn't like since it was the first time we sat down together as a family with them to eat. Something we do every night but for so many evenings it seemed as though some were missing.

Now our table and our hearts are full.


Love for Lilly Yin said...

tears, beautiful!

Nancy said...

Yes,Vickie, I have been hecking every half hour for the last three days to read your blog. Please don't leave us hanging again!!!! So the boys seem to be adjusting nicely. Any idea about how much schooling they've had? What will happen in the Fall?

April said...

I'm so happy for you all! Sam said that he saw the boys and Chloe visiting school the other day. Will Chance and Chase be joining Chloe at school next fall?

Sherri said...

what a wonderful post...and like Nancy said, please don't let us hang again. I have myself wondering how things are going. The boys seem so happy and seem to be adjusting fine! Thanks for the update.


Holly said...

Oh, Vickie, I have a big heart, but I'm not a cryer. But this post is one of the best things I've ever read, and I do have tears over it. I was just praying last night that God would show us more often what He can really DO! His power and compassion is all over this story. Please pray for two girls in Russia--15 year old Zulya and her aunt Lora, who is 11. They think of each other as sisters. Zulya ages out in 4 months and they need a family asap. Praying for a miracle like yours!!

Bangs said...

I had been one to people asking questions. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all. It is a beautiful display of God's love for these children. I am so happy that they are trying to fit in and are open to this new life. You are all equally blessings to each other.


Marie94 said...

Thank you for sharing! Thank you for glorifying God in your story! I am so moved! We are an adoptive family too and just when I think I am discouraged He blesses me to read a story like yours. Actually, I have never read a stroy quite like yours! Thank you! You are all in my prayers!

Donna said...

Loved this! Especially that part about Chase finally getting to enjoy being a child and not having to be the oldest anymore.

As you know, I have a 22 year old son so I TOTALLY understand how it feels to look at a teenage boy and see a child where everyone else sees a man. They are so vulnerable and frightened and very much in need of love and safety and support at that age. It makes my heart feel so heavy to think of children that age being pushed out the doors of the orphanage and forced to find their way alone. Especially in a place like China where it's hard to thrive even if you have all of the advantages of a strong family.

The kids have known love and I'm sure that will make a huge difference in terms of bonding and attachment. And you're a smart momma to demand respect from them (all of them). If they don't respect you, they won't respect ANY authority figure and they'll have a pretty hard and unhappy life.

So, a few questions:

Do you think they changed Chase's age so he'd be eligible to adopt? Obviously they knew he was older.

Do you have to change the twins birthdates for school reasons?

And do you think the boys will be ready for public school in the Fall?

Gosh, your house must be noisy! ;)

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Vanessa said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, and praying for your family, but this is my first comment. That post was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story of God's work in your family and thank you for posting the whole story, not just the 'fun' parts. I feel blessed to have read it!

Liesl said...

Vickie, thanks for sharing all of that. I love that you are willing to share the hard stuff too - it's something that we all need to hear and see it worked through. I am SO thrilled to see these kiddos together - it brings tears to my eyes. Congrats on your family....and many prayers sent your way for sanity!

Motherbird said...

That was a beautiful post, and YES I am going through withdrawls!

It was so nice to meet you and your family in China.

I caught a cold coming home and had major jet lag - feeling more human now.

It sounds like everyone is doing fine! God is good!!!


Kennedy and Jaida's mom said...

Such an amazing story. I have two daughters adopted from China and older child adoption is really pulling at my heart stings...I agree with everything you said about older children still desperately needing the love and guidance of a family. Thank god you all found each other. God bless you all!

AussieJenn said...

I think it is beyond wonderful that these siblings have been given another chance to be together again. I don't think you are ever to old to be parented, to know the love, care and direction of a parent. You word things so well, you have me wanting to join your family ;)
Best wishes to all of you.

Nancy said...

Beautiful post...
Nancy in MN

Shelley said...

Crying...again! Wonder how many posts you will write before I stop! So happy you are all home together! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Sue said...

God does work in wonderful ways and it is great to see how the kids are doing.

Learning Together at Home said...

Thank you for sharing so much. I am sure that I am not the only one who has enjoyed getting to knw the bloggy side of your family. I won't soon forget you all adn will keep praying as you all grow together. Glad you are home together as you should be.

Leventhal Family said...

I've been following your journey for some time now, and I always leave encouraged...from your faithfulness in waiting for the money to come in, to navigating your way through China with three teenagers, to the transition home and adjusting to your new "normal"! Thanks so much for sharing so many details of the reality of adoption...the amazing joys and the very real challenges. I pray your faithfulness causes many other children (especially older children) to find their forever families!!!