Thursday, November 20, 2008

celebrating Sara's special day!

Two years ago today, we met our youngest daughter for the first time in Tianjin, China (about 1.5 hours away from Beijing.) That morning, she left behind her friends and care providers at LangFang Children's Village in order to be returned to her home orphanage (pictured below.)

KangXia spent the first three months of her life at the orphanage and was blessed to spend the next 15 months being loved on and cared for by the wonderful people with the Philip Hayden Foundation.

While we know the day was especially sweet for us, it was extremely traumatic for our little girl. When she was placed in my arms she was very upset and afraid. She immediately began to wail loudly. It was so very sad. Within minutes, however, she quickly settled into the protective arms of her forever Daddy and fell asleep.

Once we were back in our hotel room, Sara allowed me to hold her close while she moved her eyes timidly back and forth between the two of us. Clutched in her left hand was what appeared to be a sticky snack, shaped in a ball and made of cereal.

Realizing she was probably hungry, our guide suggested that we order a bowl of congee and steamed egg from room service. Sara quickly perked up when the food arrived. After eating a very large meal, Sara began to show us her adorable personality. She was smiling, laughing and walking around our room within the first hour.

Those first few hours with Sara are forever etched in my mind and heart, just as the births of my two older children are. It's definitely a different experience, however, when you "give birth" to a walking, talking eighteen-month-old in a foreign country. :-)

Sara's journey has not been easy for her. The many losses and trauma she experienced in her first 18 months definitely left a mark. I'm so thankful that God brought her home to us and has given us the wisdom and grace to help her little heart heal. He has also surprised us by using Sara to help our own hearts heal and grow in ways we never expected.

I was reflecting the other day on the true miracle of adoption. My heart feels as though it has been stretched in such a unique way. Not only do I have a love for my precious girl, but I have a love for all of my adoptive friends' children. Not only do I have a passion for adoption in China, but worldwide. Not only do I have a desire to help my own children learn and grow, but I desire to reach out to other children in need and bless them, if even in a small way.

When I hear about orphaned children or families suffering from disease, poverty and war, my heart physically aches and longs to do something to help them. There is something that was planted within my spirit three years ago when we answered God's calling on our family to adopt and it continues to grow and blossom in beautiful ways.

Today as we celebrate and remember Sara's adoption into our hearts and lives, I thank God for the incredible gift and blessing He has entrusted us with.

Whether you are a friend of our family, or someone just dropping by to check out my blog today, I would love to have you leave a quick message or prayer for Sweet Sara. Thank you for helping us celebrate a very special day. :-)

On the way to pick up her Dad tonight, Sara excitedly remarked, "I'm gonna tell my Daddy that I have a 'Gotcha Day!'" Too cute.

Below are some of my favorite pictures of our "Gotcha Day" as well as a recent picture I snapped of Miss Sara to show how far she's come along.

Wishing you sweet blessings. I'm SO thankful to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!


Dawn said...

What a beautiful post Amy...
I know this little one has come leaps and bounds and you have been such wonderful parents to get her there. You all are living a blessed life!
Love to you

Becki party of 5 said...

Sweet Sara, You are SO loved and adored. God has placed you in the very best family for YOU and I am so thankful. You have come so far in such a short time, and I look forward to watching you grow, and spending time with you and your awesome family through the rest of our lives.
God bless you sweet girl!
"Auntie" Becki
(better known as Addie's mama! )

Jenelle said...

Aww, that story warms my heart on this cold, November morning. Blessings to you and yours!

Hilty Sprouts! said...

Your Sara is a cutie! Happy Gotcha day to her!

I so appreciated the way you acknowledged the trauma that she went throught that day as well. It can be hard for adoptive parents to realize that such a happy day for them is so very difficult for their new child.

Our daughter was just over 2 years old on her gotcha day and was separated from her foster mom. She was very traumatized by that experience. Then one month after her homecoming she had open heart surgery, then the month after that her baby brother was born. Each of those major life events had a big impact on her social/emotional development.
We have learned so much from our Noelle about healing hurt hearts and becoming more nurturing as parents. She has also made me face things within myself and things from my past that I didn't know were still there.

These little girls make a big impact on our lives, for the better! I would love to adopt another little girl from China. My heart aches for the little ones without families to love them.

katemcdonald said...

what a beautiful post! she's a blessed girl to have you too1

Pam said...

Sweet Sara, You are a beautiful flower and I am so blessed to have seen you blossom in your family. You are loved and cherished beyond measure.

Love from the Horners

Keri said...

What a beautiful girl Sara is. I love her little baby belly in the one picture! She is an absolute doll! I love the last picture.