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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Four Years Ago...

Tonggu Momma and the Tongginator
Meeting for the First Time at The Gloria Grand Hotel in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China

Four years ago this week, the husband and I sat in a hotel room on the other side of the world, falling in love with our little Tongginator.

Documenting our weeks in China is a difficult thing. I consider it one of the most wonderful times of my life, but the five babies we met that day reacted with tears and terror. In an instant, they lost their beloved foster mothers, their language, their culture and life as one among many instead of the only "other" in the room.

A day that brought such joy to the husband and I dealt our little Tongginator a profound loss. She loves us. She loves being our daughter. But that does not diminish all that she lost that day. She gained a loving family, but all she once knew disappeared in an instant.

Can you imagine your twelve-month-old traveling half-way around the world to become someone else's child? How much would it grieve him? How scared might she feel?

Tongginator, your infectious joy and love of life spread to all around you. I feel so very blessed to be your momma. I love you with all my heart. And I will always, always remember and honor your first parents and your beloved Abu, who cared for you before I could.

For more memories that you typically don't scrapbook, check out Sincerely Fro Me To You at The Glamorous Life Association.

55 comments:

OziMum said...

Yep. I have thought about it ALOT!! Every look. Every tear. Reminded me of our daughter's great loss. I can only imagine, what it would be like... let alone live through it, as a baby. It brings tears to my eyes, yet the tears in my eyes are mixed with heartbreak and unbelievable joy - at the greatest gift we have been given.

Wow. 4 Years! It must be so sweet to look back an reflect, on the day, your lives changed forever?

Rhonda said...

Beautifully said. Happy four years as a family!

Sharie said...

As always - your love of T shines through. Beautifully said!

Stefanie said...

Our children have lost so much, more than anyone should have to bear in a lifetime. But God's plan is so perfect... it brought the three of you together! Clearly you were MEANT to be T's family.
Happy four years together!

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Our children are as blessed by us as we are by them. But they do experience a lot of loss on those days. Praising with you for your gorgeous little one.

Gail said...

You so beautifully and honestly stated what our children experience. I hope and pray I can help my own deal with these losses, it's something I think of often.

Happy 4 years together! We were in the same hotel with Grace 18 mos. before you met your daughter for the first time. :)

epin said...

Congrats on your 4th anniversary. I adopted my Tonggu baby last month, and in one of her updated photos, my daughter wore the exact same outfit as T wore on the day you met her. And I completely agree about the loss that our daughters went through. My daughter was traumatized by her adoption, and (more than a month after her adoption) is slowly coming out of her shell.

Tammy said...

Congratulations on such a wonderful anniversary! What a blessing for you and your precious girl!

Aunt LoLo said...

Beautiful, Mama. Wishing you many more anniversaries!!

Laura L. said...

Wishing you blessings on this very special day. I understand how blessed you feel. It's really beyond words, isn't it? Have a wonderful day of remembrance and celebration.

This is a really sweet post, well written.
We met our Jadyn in the Gloria too!

McEwens said...

Beautifully Written and said!! She gained more than she lost. People that love you are invaluable!

Chelsea Gour said...

You said exactly what I've thought so often about Claire's "gotcha" day. We gained so much and she did to...but she lost so much as well. It's so bitter sweet, this adoption stuff. It was a beautiful post TM. Thank you!

Kim said...

Congratulations on your 4th anniversary and such a beautiful post!

Kiy said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Congratulations on your special day. Happy 4th!

Kiy

prechrswife said...

Have a wonderful anniversary! It is amazing what these children go through, and really are too young to understand what is happening. Our daughter, at 3, is just starting to ask the basic questions, but still doesn't fully comprehend things yet. I know we have lots more of those conversations ahead.

autumnesf said...

December made our 5th anniversary. We don't actually celebrate it as I see it as such a huge loss for her. I'll never forget that taxi ride to the airport to board a plane back to the states. It was so awful to think of all we were taking away from her.

The Glamorous Life said...

So touching.
And so sensitive of you to be aware and acknowledge her loss as well as all she gained.

Really a great Fro post....

Thanks for coming to my party. You look fabulous (Mr. Linky wanted me to tell you that!)

Patricia/NYC said...

Beautifully said! Not a day goes by that I don't think about & pray for my daughter's birth family, as well as the "angel" who found her.

You are a beautiful family!

Peanut said...

Oh, I have tears welling up in my eyes. What an emotional moment. It must have been so hard to see her go through that knowing that she wouldn't see the joy of her new situation for awhile. Sometimes we have to let our kids go through hard stuff because we know what it will be like on the other side... but it's never easy.

Congrats on four years as a family. Tomorrow marks four years since we found out we were pregnant with KK.

Janet said...

Beautiful! And so true. I often think about what kind of trauma A and J had to go through to come and live with us. No wonder it was so hard.

3D said...

Happy 4 years!!

Keep smilin!

Sarah said...

Gosh she's so small then.

The Wade's said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Happy 4th!!

Annie said...

We just had our four year on the 28th. Twins plus one from foster care. Still not final, but totally ours.

Juliette said...

It always make me sad to think about how much my daughter lost that day when I gained so much meeting her.
My love will never fill that void completely but I hope it will help ease her pain...
Bitter sweet day these anniversaries are. Still, happy 4 years together!

Brooke said...

congrats on 4 wonderful years! :)

Jerralea said...

Happy 4 years as a family! I never thought of what babies must feel on adoption day ... I always thought most people can't remember much before their 3rd birthday, but who knows? Anyway, I'm sure T has many many happy memories since coming to your family.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a beautiful post!
And that picture! It brings tears to my eyes!

Briana's Mom said...

Happy, Happy 4 years together! This is a beautiful post. The Tongginator always puts a smile on my face - that's for sure!

Briana cried so much the day we met her. She was so scared and you can see it on her face in the pictures and on the video. I do everything in my power now to make sure she feels safe and secure.

MomZombie said...

Found your blog through the Glamorous Life Association. Happy Gotcha Day anniversary. I see that you stayed at the Gloria Plaza Hotel. We were there in Oct./Nov. 2006 to get our girl, from FengCheng SWI. The loss didn't hit me fully until we left China. Then I realized we were leaving behind her life, her caregivers and her entire culture. I was happy for us, but cried for her profound loss. I hope your referral comes through soon.

Jboo said...

Happy 4 years together! The years fly by and we just had our 6 year anniversary! While it was such a wonderful day for all of us parents, it was a difficult one too, wasn't it.

If you don't mind, I would like to follow your blog. Take care.

Janet

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

You really touched my heart. When you asked us to imagine our 12 month-olds going through a similar situation, I thought my heart would come out of my chest. Bless their little hearts. Bless your heart for being so loving.

Heather of the EO said...

I have no words. You are just such a precious person. I love how you stay focused on the Tongginator's history. I'm sure that will mean the world to her.

(I guess I had words)

Snowflowers Mum said...

I wish more people in the adoption community would acknowledge the loss our children carry with them for their entire lives.

Yes...they gain the love, safety and security of a family but to truly acknowledge these gains we must understand and EMBRACE the loss and grief, even when it doesn't present itself in ways we'd think it would.

our children deserve the best we can give, but they also deserve the right to carry with them the scars of loss...and we as parents need to honor that.

Thanks for talking about this. It's not all rainbows and ladybugs.

Valarie Lea said...

My boss's daughter adopted a little girl from Poyang, Jiangxi. I remember seeing pictures of her in that same type of outfit. Bless their hearts they look like they cant move. :)

This is her blog if you want to look at it

http://www.ahomeforzoey.blogspot.com/

All Rileyed Up said...

That was beautiful. Congrats on four years. Here's to many more.

Steffie B. said...

Beautiful words from a Mother's heart..... ;)

Hugs,
Steffie

Special K said...

Happy 4 years with your beautiful girl. :)

Kimberly said...

A beautiful way to express all the emotions-- both joyful and sad-- that we go through as we get our children and raise them and love them. Thank you. This dichotomy is so hard to understand if you aren't an adoptive parent, and especially a transracial adoptive parent.

Jennifer said...

What a bundle of joy! Happy family anniversary!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Happy 4 years!!

Can't believe how little she is in that picture.....it is such a hard reality that a day so joyous for us can be so traumatic for them.....it is something I think about often as we await our referral.

As always, a wonderful post!

Lisa

Melissa said...

Our dear friends adopted their little boy from Guatemala last year at 10 months old. I can remember thinking if that was my child who had left my arms and lost everything. What would he have told us. He is still "recovering" I am sure. Although he is surrounded by lots of love not only from his mom and dad but a proud "auntie" as well. Thank you for the insight of what it truly means to be adopted.

discombobulated said...

Another tearjerker. Happy family day. I remember being absolutely riveted by your web journal from China. I cried everytime you posted. I finally saw National Geographic's China's Lost Girls yesterday. It tugged on my heart's strings.

Michelle said...

Happy Anniversary!! Such a beautiful post. So, so true.

Dita said...

So well put, as only you can!
Happy 4 year anniversary to the 3 of you!

Maren said...

Such a thoughtful post! Happy anniversary to all of you

Muthering Heights said...

Awww, what a bittersweet moment! Luckily, she won't remember feeling that grief. :)

Marla said...

Love this post, you're very good at putting into words what a lot of us are feeling. Happy 4 years to your precious family!

Kristy said...

So so sweet and beautifully said.

Kristy

Elizabeth Channel said...

Thank you for providing this perspective for me. I cannot imagine. She is the cutest bundle.

Lisa-Jo Baker said...

Oh yes, looking at my little 14 month old toddling around hand in hand with me, I can't imagine how his world would tilt upside down if he was transplanted to another country/culture/family. I have a panic attack just thinking about it. The sheer courage that adoption requires - on all sides - amazes and inspires!

Lisa-Jo

PS: 69 degrees tomorrow! Yeeha!

Doug and Terrye said...

What a precious and poignant post! Our little girls met their mom and dad at the same time of year, just 2 years apart :)

Terrye in FL

gritandglory.com said...

thank you for this perspective...

Debbie said...

What a wonderful day for your family! I am so happy for you all to have that memory.

The Source said...

I missed this post since we were away last week...but it's wonderful.

Do you remember years ago when the courts reversed an adoption of a little girl...I can't recall her name, Jessica De Boer or De Berg or something, but she was already 3 or 4 yrs old when the courts made her go live with her birth family? I always wondered how that affected her in the years to come. Do you feel that the Tonnginator still remembers those feelings on some level? Or just remembers what it felt like? I never really thought about it too much until recently, but it must be very difficult on the children...and scary! She's a blessed little girl to have parents who care for her so much.