On September 7, 2004 we signed with our adoption agency. We spent a lot of time looking at the different programs for international adoption. We chose China because the program seemed to be a good fit for us, for a variety of reasons.
Guess what happened after we chose China? I fell in love with Asian people. I will never forget what this was like. I have no doubt it was God working in my heart. Suddenly I had this love I'd never experienced before and it just grew and grew. I felt this love and sort of a kinship with all Asians. I feel it to this day and I sometimes have to restrain myself from going up to complete strangers and asking them if they are family. :)
From the time we signed with our agency, until the time our adoption was complete was just over 17 months. It was a very long process, and it was so painful to wait. But, God was very faithful to sustain us through the wait. Adoption is not an easy process at all and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It was definitely a growing experience. I am so thankful that God called us to do this, as part of his plan for our family.
It was kind of scary to take this step in our lives. Were we crazy, to go back to diapers, high chair, crying, and sleepless nights? I remember wondering what our family and friends would think when we told them our news. They were so supportive and I am so thankful.
I'm sure some people must have thought we were crazy though. Our children were 12, 16, and 19 when we began the process. I cannot count the number of people who have asked us why we would "start over." "You had it made, and now you've decided to do this." You know, it used to make me sort of sad when people would say this sort of thing. I don't feel that way anymore. I know how very blessed our family is. I just tell them it was God's plan for us.
Now for the best part of the story. On December 9, 2005, we received a phone call from our social worker. She told us that there was a little baby girl waiting for us in China. Her name was Jin Ai Tong, and she was living with a foster family in Ruijin, Jiangxi. Oh what joy and celebration we had over the weekend. We saw her photos for the first time on Dec. 12th. We were immediately in love with that little face.
On Valentine's Day in 2006, we had the joy of flying to China to go get our beautiful baby girl. Jadyn Alyssa Ai was placed in our arms in Nanchang, Jiangxi on February 19th. She was 14 months old. What an awesome experience it was. Words could never describe how it felt to be united with our child.
We are so blessed to have Jadyn as part of our family. She is a sweet, joyful child and has added so much to our lives. It has not been a piece of cake though. For quite some time, the hard times were about equal to the good times. We did make it, with God's help and our little girl is worth every difficult time that we experienced. She is a precious gift and we look forward to the coming years.
Our family looks different than some of our friends' families. Most of our friends who have teenage and adult children don't have a three year old like us. Sometimes I look around, when we're at a school event for our teenage son. I think to myself, "Umm, why are we the only ones here with a 3 year old?" It's kind of funny. I do know that we are very lucky to have our Jadyn.
Thanks for reading our story. It's been sweet for me to think about it all again, to remember and be thankful.
The wait for an adoption from China now has grown so long. My heart goes out to each of you who are waiting now. The wait that we experienced seems minimal, compared to what you are experiencing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Here's one of the first photos we saw of Jadyn. What a precious little one. This mommy cried tears of joy upon seeing it.
Do you love this haircut? I still don't quite get it. :) We're glad she's ours though.
Have a great day everyone!