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.