There have been so many special little moments in the past few weeks that I want to remember and be able to share with Abigail someday.
The night we put together our LOI (Letter of Intent) for Abby was both exhilarating and flat-out exhausting. From the surprise phone call of her referral that morning to Matt flying in that evening from a business trip in Chicago, the entire day was a total whirlwind. Add to that some technical difficulties with one of the forms and emailing with our social worker at 11:00 pm that night trying to work out the kinks...we were a hot mess (albeit a happy, hot mess). At one point I looked up from doing paperwork to see Matt sweetly rubbing Abby's face on the computer screen. *swoon*
There was certainly some of this going on...
The response from our friends and family has been overwhelmingly supportive. My girlfriend Carrie brought us cookies the next day to celebrate and she also gave me a journal so our whole family could start writing hand-written letters (or drawing pictures) for Abby while we wait for her to join us. It even has my favorite verse on it, Jeremiah 29:11 (which Carrie had no idea of at the time). So special!
Towards the end of last month, I went out with Mandy and Jillian (my China girls). They treated me to a fabulous celebration dinner at Bonefish Grill and also gave me China cookie cutters and one of my favorite children's adoption books. The friendship I have formed with these 2 ladies has been one of the biggest blessings of this entire adoption journey.
Mandy and Jillian are both currently in the process of adopting children from China (this is Jillian's 2nd adoption), but I've also had the opportunity to meet some other families in our area that have already brought their children home from China. Two families just happened to stop by our fundraiser garage sale. We met another family at the soccer field a couple of weekends ago. We were introduced to another family because we share many mutual friends. It's been such a joy to make all these connections, especially since there is definitely not a large Chinese-American population in our area. We have plans to celebrate Chinese holidays together as a large group and of course have as many play dates as possible. We went to our first China play date a couple of weeks ago (the mom that hosted it is only a few blocks away from us!) and it was so much fun to see all these precious girls. Abby will definitely have no shortage of girlfriends.
I miraculously refrained from buying a single item of clothing for our girl (with the exception of one of our Adoption Rocks t-shirts back in April) until we were matched. I've been picking up a few things here and there the past few weeks. Ladybugs have a special meaning in Chinese adoptions, so a ladybug outfit was a must. As were the panda jammies for our panda princess. The others were just too cute to turn down. This boy mom definitely has a lot to learn about girl stuff!
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it a lot on my blog, but the boys are so excited about Abby joining our family. For nearly a year we have been praying for her daily, but I know it has been hard for them to understand exactly who she is and why it is such a lengthy process. Since we have been matched, it has been so helpful for them to look at her pictures and watch her videos. They realize that she really is out there, living on the other side of the world, and just how much she needs us.
The morning we received her referral, I explained what was happening very briefly to the boys. We were in a rush to get them to school and at that point Matt and I had hardly had a chance to talk about this little girl and all the information her file contained. I showed them her picture before we left the house that morning and we prayed together before pulling out of the garage. As soon as school was over that day, Drew ran straight to me on the sidewalk and couldn't wait to show me a picture he made...a drawing of Matt, myself, and our Baby Lady (one of Drew's many nicknames for our sweet girl). The picture has since gotten some water damage from being up on the fridge for the past 3 weeks, but it's still going into a frame for Abby's bedroom. It really warms my heart to think about Drew thinking so much about her on that special day.
And just the other day Titus brought me a sheet of paper with a drawing of his own on it. This is his very first drawing of people with bodies (he usually just draws faces). He also told me that it is his mommy, daddy, and his China Baby. He's drawn similar versions of this several times since. He is SO excited to be a big brother to this little girl.
And Adam. Sweet, sensitive Adam. He has such a heart for the less fortunate and on his own he regularly prays for the poor, the sick, and the orphans. I have no doubt he will be involved in orphan care in his own adult life someday. At 8 years old, he is already incredibly passionate about these precious children and he cares so much for his baby sister and asks the Lord to protect her each and every day.
We cannot wait for Abby to someday understand how much she already means to us and that we have loved her from afar even before we saw her face. She is more precious to us than words can express and we are certainly holding her in our hearts until we can also hold her in our arms.