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Friday, December 18, 2009

A Touch of China

Inspired by this post of Malinda's, I thought I'd share with y'all the little bit of China that we incorporate into our Christmas decorations. It all started on December 13, 2004. I'll be honest with y'all... I was feeling terribly blue that day.

Mostly because I - notoriously unsentimental TM - had recently purchased this little guy. I wanted to place him in our boxed Advent calendar so that every year, at Christmastime, our daughter could open the door and exclaim, "that's the day you found out about ME!" Only our social worker, who just weeks before had assured us we would receive a referral in December, told us just two days prior that she felt fairly certain we'd missed the cut-off by one day. ONE! MEASLY! DAY! I cannot tell you how much I cried, not because our wait increase by four weeks, but because I - normally practical Tonggu Momma - wouldn't be able to place that darn panda in my Advent calendar.

So, on December 13, 2004, I was feeling blue. And spending much, MUCH more money on Christmas presents than I probably should have. But at least all of the presents were for other people. At least, they were until I saw these cute little lanterns on a string of Christmas lights.

The lanterns were way overpriced. There were only ten of them. And the shopkeeper did not have access to more. But I absolutely fell in love with them. And I decided I had to have them, so I bought them and brought them home, thinking that I could stare at them instead of that stupid panda in that stupid Advent calendar.

Five minutes after I walked in the door, I got a phone call. Yes, THE phone call. Which means I not only get to look at my beautiful lanterns every Christmas - purchased on the day we received our referral for the Tongginator - I ALSO get to look at my stupid wonderful panda in my stupid amazingly awesome Advent calendar. And - even more amazing than that - I am blessed to look at my Tongginator's face each and every day, including Christmas.

Other bits of China have crept into our Christmas celebrations and traditions. We own many China-influenced ornaments, with pandas being the star attraction. (What can I say? I am nothing if not predictable.)

Just so y'all know... there are more panda ornaments hanging on
our tree... many, MANY more... and the angel in the upper left hand
corner is actually from Korea, but was given to me by my cousin
Sleeping Beauty, who influenced our decision to adopt from Asia

We purchased the cloisonne baby ornament (bottom row, center) on the day we walked along the Great Wall. And yes, we have not only a zodiac monkey (the Tongginator), but also a rooster (Tonggu Daddy) and a tiger (me). Our family Christmas tree isn't exclusively a "China" tree... then again, we aren't exclusively a "China" family. It represents us... ALL of us, ALL aspects of us.

And to remember and honor the four Christmases we've been waiting to adopt the Tongginator's mei mei, we added a little something to our mantle... something beyond our family's three Christmas stockings.

I can only pray that next Christmas, a fourth stocking will hang there instead of our lantern.

(And to learn more about Christmas in China, check out what I learned about it over at the group adoption blog Grown In My Heart.)


Michelle said...

Oh my gosh, has it really been four Christmases? I love the lantern on your mantle. As much as I think it looks perfect up there next to the stockings, I sure hope to see a fourth stocking up there next year!!

Kim K. said...

I pray that next year a 4th stocking is proudly hanging on your mantle. Enough waiting. I love all your decorations. My favorite tree in our house (don't tell Emma) is our Chinese tree in the sunroom. It just makes me so happy. I recognize many of your ornaments from our tree. Love it!


autumnesf said...

Cool story! We got our referral in November so started collecting the ornaments in December also. And our tree has morphed along the same lines as yours. I recognize we have some of the same ornaments. Maybe I'll highlight some of mine next year.

bbmomof2boys said...

We also have a little bit of China on our tree. I bought some ornaments while there and they are proudly hung each year. They also stay on my mantle year round.

Love the baby ornament!!


Beach Mama said...

Love your tree and ornaments. We have a naked tree in our house, but it is in the house! Hopefully, we will decorate this weekend. One thing that livens up our tree is a bunch of those paper umbrellas ( you know the kind they put in fancy drinks). I bought a box at the local party store one year and I haven't used them up yet! I'll post photos on my blog after we decorate.

Beach Mama said...

Oh, and by the way, we did miss the expected referral month. We missed the DTC cut-off date by one day. It sure made for one miserable Beach Mama for a while!

Buckeroomama said...

I am so loving your lantern lights! I have never seen these anywhere else before.

Okay, now I understand why you said you love those panda recycling bins in my post this week. :)

Aus said...

What a great post - thanks for sharing both the story and the tree! Korea will always be dear to us as well (but not so dear as our daughter from there!!) There's a long story about our white tree that perhaps I'll share on the blog one day soon - I just need the mood to be right...but suffice to say the day after we put up that tree we got our referral....Christmas will ALWAYS be special because of it!

hugs - aus and co.

Lisa said...

What a special for you all ~ both now & then.

You summed it up beautifully describing the tree ~ bits of each person, blending into what is uniquely your family.


Kim said...

What a beautiful post! I love all your ornaments and the lantern, well that just pulls at the heart strings. I'll pray that next year you'll receive that magic phone call. Keep the faith!

Anonymous said...

Well now it all makes sense. My daughter - Monkey. Me - Tiger. And I LOVE your "The Call" story!

Chelsea Gour said...

We have that same Panda ornament on our tree. And, a smaller one, and a cat one and.... you get the picture. :) Sorry about your wait. If we had not realized our daughter was SN, we'd still be waiting as well. And this would be our 4th Christmas waiting. Our LID was November 17th 2006. Praying for a new addition for 2010! I was going to say "Tonggu Baby" but that doesn't work. What will you do??? She might not be Tonggu Baby!

day by day said...

I love all of your China Christmas ornaments!!! You made me realize I am slacking in that department....I have to incorporate more of those, for sure!

Love the lantern hanging next to your stockings, and oh, how I hope next year you can add Mei Mei's stocking, too!


Kristi said...

Joining you in prayer that the lantern will be replaced with a fourth stocking this time next year!

And reading your disappointment in thinking you missed it by one day brought back memories! On November 2, 2006 LIDs up to 8/25/05, and we were 8/26... That month of waiting almost drove me over the edge!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of the lantern!

a little leprechaun said...

Goosebumps! It will happen. LOVE the lantern idea. And thank you so much for sharing the story.

Sending you a ginormous (((HUG)))!!

Soliloquy said...

I am believing FOR you that there will be a fourth stocking next year....

I was so tempted to buy an animated stuffed Panda bear at Target yesterday.... but I already have a closet full of things for a child I may never know.....

Briana's Mom said...

I pray mei mei is with you next Christmas.

I love how you incorporate China into your decorations! So special!

happygeek said...

4 Christmases?
Praying with you that mei mei is ripping the ornaments off your tree next year.

Kayce said...

I love the lantern for mei mei. I pray this is your last Christmas without her!! HUGS!!!

CC said...

So cool. I clearly remember the days that I got our referral calls. But since we had to wait 4-7 months to get our kids home, they both missed Christmas with us. But we had named stockings hanging up for both of them.

I couldn't really find good ornaments from Korea. :( If you can (and cheap ones) from friends or family, let me know!

Football & Fried Rice said...

Your ornaments are beautiful. I love the special significance that they have and I am so so so happy that that panda Bear is in your advent calendar!!! I just LOVE how God chooses to delight u in these simple ways. He KNEW you were going to buy those lanterns that day and He KNEW you were going to be able to have your Panda day in December!!!!!

malinda said...

Wow, I feel honored to have inspired such a beautiful post! I love the ornaments -- we have the identical panda eating bamboo.

Best wishes for a merry Christmas this year, and an even merrier one next!

Rhonda said...

Beautiful post!