Blessings Beyond Borders

Most, who adopt internationally, realize that the chances of being reunited with birth parents is extremely unlikely.  For us, we adopted our first daughter Juliese from China in July 2008.  Though she spent a great deal of time in an orphanage, she also spent an entire year with her foster family who deeply loved her.  How do I know this?  Well, in May 2012, the Lord called us back to China to adopt our second daughter Joelle.  While spending time in Guangzhou, our oldest daughter’s foster family agreed to meet us; it was such a blessing to visit their home and learn more about our daughter’s past.  Just recently, my daughter received a blessing in the mail from her foster family: two cross-stitched pillows with very pink ruffles.

Four years ago, we met another family who lived only thirty minutes away from us.    Thankfully, we were able to all travel together during the Beijing Olympics to adopt our daughters: Emily and Juliese.  Since then, our families have become very close, and these girls have developed a sister-like relationship.  This relationship is so crucial to their emotional development.  And years from now, these two girls will be able to lean on each other if and when they do struggle with an aspect concerning their personal identities. Getting together monthly and spending special days together (i.e. Gotcha Day, Chinese New Year, holidays) have become vital in preserving this friendship.  Somehow, along the way, our entire family became part of their family–a true, yet, unexpected blessing!

Because of this close relationship, I have often worried about our youngest daughter Joelle who we adopted from China in 2011.  She was not in a foster home and spent her first three years in an orphanage.  How were we going to provide clues from her past?  After all, like her older sister, she, too, needed some stability and a friend who had shared a similar adoption journey.  However, the Lord continues to amaze us with His blessings for our daughters.  While in China the second time, I received an email from a lady named Lydie.  She, too, had adopted from the Jining SWI orphanage.  Later, I found out that Lydie had set up an exclusive Facebook page, filled with newspaper articles and never-seen-before pictures, for families that had adopted from this orphanage.  At the end of May, I joined this Facebook page.   Amazingly, I have been able to connect with many families whose children were in the same orphanage with Joelle–some were even there with Joelle!  Next year, several families in this group will be traveling to our home state of Maine and see these children reunited.  Not too long after connecting with this group, a family found us on our website; this site shared both our fundraising endeavors and our love for adoption.  On Sunday, June 19, 2011, I received the following email:

My name is Jennifer, and I, too, have adopted a little girl from the Shandong province
(the Jining Orphanage).  I saw that you had adopted back on Mother’s Day-what a
great day you must have had! 

Anyway, as I was looking at your pictures, I noticed that your daughter looked like my daughter’s close friend in the orphanage.  I quickly looked at my pictures that I had, and there is no doubt that your daughter is Samantha’s close friend Qi Qi!

So, when we were in China last summer adopting our daughter Samantha (Chinese name of Zhen), the caretakers told our guide Lillian that Qi Qi, your Joelle, and my Zhen were very
close friends.  They had been in the hospital together and were friends in the orphanage-they even slept side-by-side.  I have a pic of their bed.

We were so sad to leave and really wished we could have brought Qi Qi home with us!  You have no idea how happy that we found QiQi, and she is in a forever family!  The orphanage had told us that she was not up for adoption yet. 

Well, I would really love to hear from you and hope that one day we can get the
girls together.  I would wonder if they would remember each other?

Our Final Blessing

On August 1, 2012, Joelle (Qi Qi) and Samanatha (Zhen) met for the very first time.  Though they could not articulate the words, “Hey, I remember you!”, there was an indescribable, affection between the two girls.  All of us were completely mesmerized by the girls’ level of comfort with each other.  Our families spent three days together; the girls enjoyed exploring the ocean by a lighthouse, giggling at a playground, and watching the big moose at a local animal park.  The last night, we met up with our oldest daughter’s friend Emily and her family.  All four of the Chinese beauties laughed and giggled all night long.  Relaxing in lawn chairs watching the girls swim and play, like they had known each other for years, was a picture that I will have forever etched in my mind and heart forever.

Though many of us may not find our child’s crib mate, we should still fervently search and strive to locate any pieces of his or her past, continuing to develop relationships with other adoptive families.  Even though we may never be able to answer their questions about their biological family, we can still bless them with others who have similar stories.  For us, we will continue to foster these relationships and look forward in experiencing more blessings in the years to come.  Truly, our girls and the families we’ve connected with have been blessed way beyond the borders of this world.

Note: This article was first published in the January 2013 Adoption TODAY. To read more educational articles about adoption, please consider purchasing this online magazine.

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