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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Cried A Lot This Weekend

I cried a lot this past weekend... for many reasons. The most memorable time occurred during church on Sunday morning. You see, we attended the Fish Family's church up in Pennsylvania since we crashed their pad this weekend. And - because Mrs. Fish is cantankerous and ornery - she introduced us to the entire congregation during the service even though she knows I would rather sink through the floor than stand up and have everyone stare at me in a crowded room with no air conditioning.

Yes, y'all, I'm not an extrovert; I just play one on my blog.

But even the sheer embarrassment of that moment would not bring tears to my eyes. If I'm honest, that would more than likely bring about revenge at a later date rather than tears. (Yes. Ahem. Just so you know, I'm not proud of that or anything... just keeping it real.) No, the tears came because of WHAT Mrs. Fish said, not because she chose to say anything at all.

She called us family, y'all.

And we are. We became family in the Detroit Airport on February 24, 2005. And no, I didn't realize that fact at the time, although I did tell the husband, "I wanna be friends with THEM" as I pointed to OneFish and Mrs. Fish across a jam-packed transpacific flight. And I did... want to be friends with them.

Who knew we'd grow so close we'd become family?

It's one of the miracles of adoption. Yes, there are many hard, HARD things about adoption. There are also many, many surprise blessings. And one of those blessings is the connection you feel with strangers because your child is somehow connected to their child... because your child loved their child before she ever saw your face... because all of you lived through the difficult, amazing, life-changing experience of adoption... TOGETHER.

Adoption creates extended families, too.

The Tongginator often asks about her "Uncle" OneFish and "Auntie" Mrs. Fish. This weekend she wanted to know why we call them her aunt and uncle, especially since we reserve those terms exclusively for relatives and her godparents. Since the Fish family isn't really related to us, why do we claim them as our family? And I told her, "You and RedFish have known one another since you were newborns. You loved one another before you ever loved us. And you met your new parents on the same day, in the same room. The Fish Family is our family because you and RedFish make us family."

Oh, how the Tongginator beamed.

I also cried because I felt a tad sentimental. (I know! It shocked me, too!) You see, the Tongginator got her first tooth on her adoption day. Mrs. Fish, already an experienced parent, gave me teething advice as I cluelessly stumbled along. And this past weekend? That same tooth... the tooth that poked out during our first week together as a family... that same tooth became loose while visited with the Fish family.

The Tongginator's first loose tooth.

And no, it didn't fall out yet, despite the Tongginator's best efforts. (Oh, the absolute! grossness! of a wibbly, wobbly tooth.) And yes, Mrs. Fish gave me and the Tongginator expert tooth advice, just as she did a little over five years ago, in a small hotel room in Nanchang.

Because we? Are family.


Aus said...

Yeah - you are family - and that's oh so very cool.

We've been home long enough to share this now....while still in China, we discovered contact information for his foster parents concealed a couple different places in his possessions and clothing! We - of course being scofflaws who would break a silly rule about things like that - made contact with them....why bother to mention that? Chase's foster parents immediatly took to referring to Marie and I as their brother and sister - their son refers to us as aunt and uncle - and that Blessing touches me deeper than they will ever know!

Yeah - the Fish's are your brother and sister - always will be!

hugs - aus and co.

Kim K. said...

Beautifully written. How wonderful to have such a special connection with them.

Kerrie said...

I can't even look at the pictures in Moose's Loose Tooth. I gag.

pickel said...

that gives me chills

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

you are just lovely.


Dana@AdoptionJourney said...

So now I'm crying too.

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

Love this post.

Mia_h_n said...

That is so nice to be able to have extended family like that :) I do to.

And the tooth thing?! That IS so gross!! Not only to look at. I still remember the sensation of a tooth comming loose and just hanging on by the skin! YUK!!

epin said...

I feel the same way about our travelmates. My older daughter's orphanage cribmate lives 2 miles away from us, and they are the best of friends. And our families . . . well, we're one extended family. Last night, we had a wonderful evening together at the pool and I reflected on my good fortune to have my children and extended family members, all due to adoption.

autumnesf said...

You know that is the absolutely best kind of family right??? You (or Tongginator) actually got to pick them!

Wish we were as close to our travel mates as their story is the same...but distance has always been a problem. But oh how we enjoy them when we do get to see them.

And then there is another family, that walked by our sides during the adoption....and they are family. Big time. And it is good!

Briana's Mom said...

Just beautiful. It is amazing how adoption does bring people together. I have definitely met so many amazing people on this journey.

I will never survive Briana's tooth losing years. Yuck. Seriously.

Dawn said...

Sometimes the best family members are the ones we choose to make our family members. Of course, we don't really do the choosing as much as it is predestined for us. (Jer. 39:11)

Be blessed!

Football and Fried Rice said...

Now you've made ME cry! Which is really an ugly thing to do before I've had my coffee.

I am forever grateful for my "extended" family who sometimes loves me more than my "real" family ever could....

kitchu said...

it is so true, isn't it? those surprise blessings, the connections, the family outside of our family that is created. what a lovely post. goosebumps. (well, right up until the loose tooth. i don't deal well with those!).

Sarah said...

We spent this weekend with our "family" as well. Went to church and had a cookout with a family who's son lived with our daughter at her small orphanage in Taiwan. We were talking lifebooks, and his mother shared his beautiful livebook with me. I teared up while looking at photos taken at the orphanage before they were our children, crawling around on the floor together. Yes, we're all family because our children are family.

Special K said...

Beautiful post. I'm so glad I've chosen to find my daughter through adoption. Because... although I didn't know it at the time... I've made my family even bigger with all the amazing connections I'm making along the path to her. :)

prechrswife said...

It really is true about your travel mates being family. Our group is so spread out all over the U.S. that we seldom see each other--in fact, we've only seen two of the families since we came home, but when we have, it is like being with family, and we just pick up right where we left off before.

Desiree' said...

Makes me wish we could have had travel mates any of our three times...

Wendy said...

This is so very, very true! That shared adoption experience is such a strong bond. I will never forget our travel-mates!

Gail said...

What a beautiful story TM...yes, there is nothing like family. I agree it's one of the miracles of adoption!

And I know you remember we have a family that is just as close as the Fish family is to you. In fact I just spoke to 'Aunt Michelle' on the phone a little while ago. :)

Sharie said...

And now I'm crying too...

I only wish we lived closer to Amelia's orphanage "cousins" the closest one is 8 hours away...we've only managed to see one of them since we've been back 5 years! Thank goodness for email, facebook and blogs!

Just yesterday I was walking out of Target and I saw a mom with an itty bitty little girl...I recognized the exhausted look on the mom's face and the distant look in the daughter's eyes immediately. I congratulated her on the adoption, but what I really wanted to say is, "I've been there, I know how you feel - you love her to pieces but you're so tired you're not sure how you're going to pick her up out of the cart and put her in the car. What can I do to help?" I was afraid if I said that to a woman who I've never met when my daughter wasn't along I might get picked up... So I got in my car and I started crying. Crying because that family had to wait so long - craying because there are so many more families waiting - and then crying because I realized that as hard as those first months home were I won't ever get to experience it again- at least not with a child from China.

How I'd love to have a son or daughter (especially one with the same background) so Amelia is not an only, but that's not going to be now.
Then I stopped crying because I realized how blessed I am to have had her in my life for 5 years already when so many people have been waiting nearly that long to see their son or daughter's face.

To all of you waiting - don't give up - the love, the tired days, the hugs, even the Polly Pockets all over the floor are SO worth it. It's ALL good!

Laurie said...

Fabulous post- because you are right- I have said a number of times that the surprise in this whole thing has been the network of 'family by choice' we have built...it is pure joy.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

What a wonderful post!! I know how much you care for this family and all the things you experienced with them while meeting your girls for the very fist time. That is an incredible bond to share with someone. It sounds like you had an extra special weekend. I am a tad disappointed that we didn't get to see each other during your PA visit, but hoping next time things will work out:)

Good luck with the loose tooth....they always gross me out too~

Have a great week~



harding swing said...

How lovely! I wish we lived closer to my DD's adoption-mates. They are 6 hours away (not *that* far, I guess).

Our DD also had her first loose tooth and I cried and cried. I am NOT READY for her to grow up, even though we have 18 yo and 14 yo sons. She said that she was, SOON, going to lose her teeth and wear one of those funny "gradulation" hats and gradulate from college. I told her I was having trouble with the tooth, let's just concentrate on getting through K this year, okay?

These girls keep us hopping.

Annie said...

Oh TM, now you got me tearing up!!!! Shame on you:) Hehe!! That was very sweet and I have "met" so many wonderful cyber friends like you through adoption. It has touched my heart in so many ways!!! BTW, my Charlie was able to knock another tooth loose by biting on a frozen king sized chocolate bar!!! What a way to go!!!

Colin and Jill Canada said...

How special. What lovely sentiments in this post.

We have a family like that too, we only got to travel with one family and they live about 20 minutes away from us, in the same city. Amazing, right?! And they were the perfect family for us to travel with and stay great friends - we don't like being crowded and they are so not like that, we have very similar values in life, yes we have a lot in common. And they were first time parents too and we got our daughter in the same room within seconds of each other. And she is a doctor, so I was totally like you, loving the tibits of information she would pass on, but not about teething, although now looking back, I could have used that advice too! I had never heard of mongolian spots and when we took Lilah's clothes off for the first time I seriously thought she was very bruised. Thank goodness for google and a doctor friend!

You are blessed, we are all blessed in this little community. God is good.


Kiy said...

I've been a bad blogger, and a worse blog commenter. Sorry, life (and the dreaded FB) got in the way. Once school is in full swing, I am promising myself I will jump back into blogging. I've said that before, so don't hold your breath. :)

I did want to comment, however, on this amazing post. My favorite people in the whole world are not blood relatives either. But they are family, and are called "aunt" and "uncle" by our little gal. I know exactly what you are saying. I do wish for the connection you have with the Fish family though, THAT is an amazing connection.

This gave me goose bumps: "The Fish Family is our family because you and RedFish make us family." Gosh gal, you have a way with words.

Kristi said...

I so "get" this family thing. In fact we were celebrating with four of Kylie's China sisters this weekend ourselves. People from across the country who became family in a hot room in Guangzhou back in February of '07. As one of the little girls had told her mama just that week. (After a girl had been mean to her for essentially no reason). "Mama, my China sisters would never treat me like that."

Cavatica said...

Oh rats, I got a little goose-bumply. Sweet.