Charlotte has been home 7 months now and wow, how she has changed in just the last 2 months!
-She is talking so well now! Those that know me, know I tell my kids a 1,000 times a day that I love them...well, now she can clearly say "I love you too!" which is music to this mamas ears!
-She is potty trained again! YIPPEE! (she was potty trained when we got her but she regressed when we got home)
-She made her 1st trip to the ocean and she LOVED it! She was just the right amount afraid of the ocean but, when we went out with her she was ok and she loved playing in the sand.
-She is counting to 5 with a show of her fingers.
-She can give high fives and fist bumps thanks to her brothers!
-She is becoming even more vocal about getting her way when the boys get on her nerves! :)
-She learned to sing "Happy Birthday" to me on my birthday all on her own and sings it to us quite often now. :)
Now onto some very exciting news...
Several months ago I was on the yahoogroup for the province our Charlotte is from. There was a post saying that a family was taking their daughter back to China for a heritage tour and that the guide they had hired, wanted to see if other families might want her to help them while she was in Gansu province. I immediately thought this would be an awesome opportunity for us to look for Charlotte's foster family. My husband on the other hand was leary....He just wasn't sure he wanted to know. I think it just scared him. So, I emailed the guide to first of all, see if we could afford to do this and secondly, to see what the specifics would be. The good news was that because 4 families were wanting her help we would all split the cost and our portion would only be a couple hundred dollars. So reluctantly, hubby agreed we would see what information she could find.
I was really scared to be optimistic because, I didn't want to get disappointed. I did send about 30 pictures of our family to the guide so she could share them with the foster family IF she was able to locate them. The week before she was to leave for Wuwei, she emailed me saying she might not be able to find out much info because the contact she had talked to several months agoe was not going to be there when she traveled. :( I put it out of my mind and figured we wouldn't find anything out.
Imagine my surprise, when I woke up to an email a week later, that said she had not only found Charlotte's foster family but, that she was sitting with them at that very moment! She said our baby girl was LOVED! The worry you have before you travel of not knowing what your child has gone through and knowing our girl now, I just knew she had to be cherished by someone there. The email said "they gave me much more information than I expect. they love Xia Xia more than you can image. the foster mom cried a lot when she talked about your daughter, she is so sweet mom. Xia Xia is their favorite child." ;) Baby girl you ARE loved and you WERE LOVED all along! ;) ;) What a gift to know this!
We have received 3 photos so far of the foster family. Jason and I were very anxious to see how Charlotte would respond to seeing their photos. That night, Jason and I sat on the couch with Charlotte in my lap and pulled up a photo of them on my computer. I asked her "who is that?" She got her shy/embarrassed look on her face and buried her head in my leg. I kept asking her but, she would never respond. She would just sit there looking at the photo with a shy smile on her face. I finally said "Is that mama?" She pointed to the photo and said "yes, mama!" She had this content smile on her face and it just made me happy to be able to put the pieces together for her.
I've had the chance to talk to Charlotte several times this week about seeing "China mama's" photo and a few times she has come to the computer and motioned that she wanted to see the photo. :) Being able to see a more complete picture of where she came from has been such an eye opener for me. This family obviously loved/love her very much. They are VERY VERY poor but, they were able to show our daughter love and what a family is when we couldn't. Because they loved & cared for her, we have this amazing little girl in our family! We will be forever grateful!
Foster mom crying when seeing Charlotte in the photos I had sent.
Foster mom & brother
I am so happy and thankful for this opportunity to give her as much history & info as we can about her time in China. I think this all happened at the perfect time for us as well....God's timing IS always perfect! If we had found them earlier, I think it would have been harder for Charlotte to see their picture...but, at this point, she is bonded pretty well to us. And if we had waited any longer, I am afraid Charlotte would not have had any recollection of them.
So what does this mean for us? Well, we are doing our absolutely best to communicate frequently right now but, it is difficult. They don't understand English and I don't understand Mandarin so every email has to be translated and that takes time. Plus they are 14 hours ahead of us so, that makes things harder too. They do not have a computer so, the emails go to their foster sons phone and during the week he is at school. Please pray that our communication gets easier and that I am able to find someone long term that I can trust to translate their emails.
There is some information that was given to us through them, about Charlotte surgery that has me slightly worried. In a recent email I had mentioned that she was getting ready to have a minor surgery on her lip. This was their response through the guide... "by the way, since you mentioned Xia Xia is going to have another surgery on aug/08. Foster mom escorted xiaxia for her both surgery before. One surgery reall scared her--after surgery, Xia Xia was in big bleeding!! she also died with such bleeding. that is why they worry about her so much when you mentioned about another surgery."
So I ask that you join me in praying for clarification on this soon..... and that God would keep the line of communication open between us and the foster family. This has been such an unexpected blessing... connecting 2 families half way around the world, through our love for 1 little girl!
Xia Xia's 2nd mama!