Red Thread

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break." ~ Ancient Chinese Beli

Thursday, October 10, 2013

THREE Years as a Family of Four!!!

Here I sit on the eve of our "Forever Family Day" filled with so much emotion. This past week I have gone over in my mind every little thing that I did and thought three years ago.  By this time, we had already been in Nanning China for a few days.  We were out and about exploring the capital of Guangxi, Lulu's province.  We wanted to immerse ourselves in the culture and learn as much as possible.  Although we did not have far to travel since we were living in Hong Kong at the time, everything was so different.  The language, the sights, the sounds, the smells etc.  It was a definite culture shock and one that Lulu would soon be experiencing as well when we brought her "home".  

We had many mixed emotions.  We were excited, anxious, nervous, scarred, overjoyed and overwhelmed.  Quite varying emotions to be feeling at the same time.  Elle was about to become a big sister for the very first time....something she had been dreaming about for the past 4 years.  And Patrick and I were taking this leap of faith into the unknown.  We also had been dreaming about this day for years but had absolutely no idea what to expect.  We had read all the books, attended all the classes and talked to many many many other adoptive families.  In theory we knew it all. In reality we were about to experience something that no one can ever truly be prepared for.  

In our hearts we knew we were meant to be exactly where we were.  The red thread was finally coming full circle.  The moment we met, our lives changed forever.  For us, many of the fears went away and we were filled with a surge of love for this little girl who was now our new daughter.  For Lulu it was a different story.  The fear just got worse as time went on in the first hours, days, weeks.  She had no idea what was happening, she just knew she did not like it and wanted nothing to do with us.

Fast forward three years and here I sit waiting for Lulu to come home from Kindergarten.  She goes all day every day and loves it.  Yes it has been an adjustment - as everything is - but she goes with a smile and comes home with a smile.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of going into her class to read a book.  Lulu and I chose one of our favorites - A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kazo.  Such a heart warming story that gently introduces the topic of adoption. Lulu's classmates have been asking questions about why we look different and how could I be her real mother?  This was the perfect opportunity to read a beautiful story that addresses these questions. Choco is a young bird living alone in the forest who desperately wants to find his mother.  At first he feels that his mother must look just like him so he searches for an older bird with yellow feathers, round cheeks, graceful wings and striped feet.  All the animals he meets differ greatly in appearance and he must look deeper to find the true meaning of love and family.  Mrs Bear - who looks nothing like Choco - turns out to be the perfect mother for him.  Unlike the other animals, she demonstrates tremendous affection for Choco by sharing hugs, songs and laughter.  By the end of the book Choco realizes that family and love are more than skin deep, and that Mrs. Bear is the mother he always wanted.  A Mother for Choco was the perfect book to help Lexi's classmates understand that children do not need to look like their parents to be loved by them.

Patrick and I have learned a lot in the past three years and we have come to realize that these learnings will not end. 
We have learned that "success" with our children is not "one-size fits all".  
We have learned to go at Lulu's pace, not ours.
We have learned that when children do not reach a milestone, that is perfectly okay.
We have learned to focus on what L can do and not on what she can not do.
We have learned to "let go" of expectations.
And we have learned that children can not be "fixed". 

Three years ago we met Lulu for the first time.  On our blog we described her as a small fragile child who was emotionally broken.  We thought we could "fix" her with love, care and guidance.  We soon learned that she is not a toy that can be fixed but that we can only assist her in becoming the best that she can be and that it would happen when she was ready.  Yes, we filled her with love, care and guidance but we were not able to "fix" her because children can not be "fixed".

As parents we would go to the end of the earth for our daughters to help them learn, grow and become all they can be but the outcome is really not within our control.  This is just something that we need to accept and love them for who they are.  

In many ways when we look back over the past three years we see a little girl who is much like a flower that has taken a long time to blossom. Lulu has grown and changed so much in so many ways.  Her outlook on life is bright and she has a zest about her now that we have never seen before.  I am sure that this all has to do with the fact that she is beginning to truly trust that we will always be together as a family.  We are starting to come full circle. It has not been an easy road and we still have a long way to go but we have lots to celebrate.  

Lulu is blooming....and she seems to be getting ready to show the world her colors.

Happy Forever Family Day sweet Lulu....
We love you like crazy cakes!
xo Mommy, Papi & Elle