Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Wherever you go, I go!

It has been a little over a year and half since we came home from China with our baby girl, Charlotte.  It has been a crazy ride at times during these past 18 months, BUT, we have seen Charlotte grow and change and become much more secure.  It has been amazing to watch this growth in her!  The very scared little girl that we brought home has become a talkative, sassy and confident little princess!

She is a total girly girl!  Her favorite color is PINK (of course!) and she is very opinionated about what she wants to wear!  She has an attitude, is very stubborn and determined and we wouldn't want her any other way!  She needs that personality to be able to handle her 3 older brothers! :)  

 Our little diva!

The little girl who wouldn't go to bed without food or a cracker in her hand, now knows that she will never go to bed hungry again. The little girl who was constantly worried that I would leave her, now knows that I am never leaving her.  I told her one day a few months ago that "Wherever you go, I go and wherever I go, you go!" and it really stuck with her.  Now we repeat that to each other whenever she has any anxiety about mama leaving her. 

She walks around with a confidence these days and is constantly singing all day long.  "Jesus Loves Me" is one of her favorite songs and below is a video of her singing it.  She is still fairly shy in front of people she doesn't know so, not many people get to see this spunky side of her.  

Lately, she and I have had many good talks about her being adopted and being from China.  Now, when its just the two of us, she will say "Mama, let's talk about China" with a sweet little smile on her face.  She loves to hear about us getting on an airplane to go to China and about us meeting her and her crying and being scared of her Baba.  She laughs now when I tell her that...she ADORES her Baba!  

I'm not sure if she remembers our time in China or, just remembers me telling her about it.  But, I asked her recently what I had given her when she came into our room to meet us and she responded that I had given her a sucker.  So, maybe she does remember some.  We talk about "China mama" (her foster mother) and how she loved her until mommy and daddy could get there and sometimes she asks to see a picture of China mama.  

In the past, when we would talk about China, I noticed that the next few days she would be clingy and insecure, as if remembering her time in China all over again, each time we talked about it together.  The last couple of months that has not happened and I am thankful.  I want her to always know that she is adopted and about China and for that to never scare or shock her.  And even more importantly that she knows that God has always loved her and always will...and I think she knows both now!  PRAISE THE LORD!

At church I taught her & the other kids in my class to say "God Loves Me" in sign language.  A few days ago I saw her saying and signing it for the first time, all by herself, without any prompting.  She had no idea that I was watching, but, it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen!  To see our little girl, that came from half way around the world to join our family, understand about the love of our Lord...well it was some thing I had always dreamed she would understand.  
 Charlotte (3 1/2) and Ben (8) at Kentucky Lake

We are at a good place but, it has taken us a year and half to get here.  We have loved her all along but, now she finally "gets it" and knows we aren't going anywhere.  She is such a joy to us and her brothers and honestly, anyone that meets her.  She is our little walking and talking advocate for adoption!  Which is ironic because when we started contemplating adopting I always thought I wanted a child that "looked like us" because, I thought it would be easier on the child.

God really convicted me of that one day in Target of all places!  I was sitting at the snack bar when in walked a beautiful little family with 3 little boys who were obviously very Caucasian and 1 little girl who was obviously very Asian.  God convicted me right then and there that why wouldn't I want to have my child not look like me??  Everyone that looks at our family, probably knows that Charlotte is adopted but, God showed me that it could be a very positive thing!  We have seen that to be true as it has prompted many conversations with complete strangers.  Yes, she IS a walking, talking advocate for adoption and we couldn't be prouder of her and that she doesn't look like us is an unexpected blessing.

So what is in store for Miss Charlotte next?  She needs another surgery next spring.  :( Her doctor at Vanderbilt will take some cartilage out of her ribs and use it to do a graft in her nose.  Because she is missing cartilage in one side of her nose, it makes it difficult for her to breath out of that side of her nose.  It is a big surgery and I don't look forward to it.  Our doctor said to plan on her being in the hospital a week, so, we want to plan it while the boys are still in school to make things easier.  After this surgery, she probably won't have another surgery until she is around age 10 or 12 for her bone graft.  YIPPEE!   It is hard to see her go through these surgeries, these dental procedures and everything she has had to go through but, I quickly remind myself that God made her and this is the hand she was dealt.  It isn't suppose to be easy to see your child suffer...it wasn't for God to see Jesus suffer!  We just have to go through it with her and love her through it...and that's an easy job!

Her cleft lip & palate is something I totally forget about at times, especially in between doctor appointments. She may have been labeled "special needs" in China but, she certainly isn't to us at all.  She has never had to have any speech therapy and overall has been very lucky/blessed when it comes to her cleft surgeries.  I would not hesitate to adopt another child with cleft lip/palate! I shudder to think about the blessings we would have missed if we had let the fear of the unknown and her special need keep us from taking the adoption leap of faith.  It is a leap of faith and it is scary but, anything worth having usually is. God orchestrated us being matched with the perfect child for our family and for that I will always be in awe.

Charlotte and Hen-wee (Henry) her best fwend! (friend)

I had always heard that a child needs to home as long as they were in an orphanage or a foster family in order to feel really secure.  I am finding that true.  Every single day I see that she is just blossoming and becoming more and more secure. We have very little insecurities we are dealing with now, except the anxiety of going to the dentist which is normal for all she has been through.

So, even though we don't believe we will be adopting again, sadly mainly because of the cost.  We do know that if God convicts us to adopt again, He will provide and we will be obedient.  For now, we are loving our 4 little blessings and I try to evaluate every day what we are doing to make this world a better place for someone else and what more can I do?  I ask you to do the same...What are you doing for someone else who is less fortunate?  I will always have a heart for orphans in China & will constantly be praying & doing all I can for them half way across the world. I think I left part of my heart in China and, I will never be the same after having been there.  I look forward to the day I can return there with Charlotte & we can make a difference together there...one day!

 In the meantime, every night I get to hear "Mommy?  You know what? I love you!"    I am SO BLESSED!


P.S.  I plan on taking the time to update my blog more often so, stayed tuned!


Kelly said...

What an awesome update!!! You know, I have noticed the same thing about Kate now 19 months in. There is a new peace about her that I sense is similar to what you just said about sweet Charlotte. We will be preying for her surgery! What a blessing she is!!

Debbie Sauer said...

So glad for the update! She looks like a very happy little girl. Blessings

Leggio said...

Kendra, so good to see your post. I have been wondering how yall have been and how Charlotte was doing. So so happy she is doing well. Blessings and love from Texas

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful read! much happiness pouring through your words. May you continue to thrive as a family and share many wonderful blessings throughout her childhood. Kim Kelley

BumbersBumblings said...

What a sweet girl :) Enjoyed your post!

Kelly Raudenbush said...

Sometimes I laugh at how we initially were thinking of going to Russia to adopt for some of the same thoughts as you had. Now, I can't imagine our family any different!

April said...

It is so good to "see" you on here again. I check every other months or so and no post, so to my surprise I see one now. I was so blessed to meet you and spend some time with you in China.
I miss hearing about your family, so I am glad to hear you will be blogging again.
love to you!

Heather said...

Hi Kendra! My name is Heather and I was hoping you could answer my quick question about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1@gmail.com

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