Monday, January 30, 2012

A Moment in Time: Sometimes I Forget…

…that Hannah doesn’t remember the day we became a family as I do. 
Now, that may seem like a funny thing to say as she was only 8 months at the time but a little background will help explain what I mean.  (Please bear with me…this post wanders a bit.)
Right now one of Hannah’s favourite games to play is ‘Baby.’  She will suddenly pretend to cry like a baby, want cuddles, to be picked up, snuggled and comforted with, ‘Shhh…it’s okay baby, Mommy’s here.’  She’ll do her pretend cry a little longer, all the while with a big smile on her face and stifling a giggle while I hold her close and rock her.  (Any opportunity to snuggle and cuddle my independent little sweetie is a good one!)
Something else Hannah loves to do is ‘Pway.’  We say her bedtime prayers each night and now she adds her own personal requests.  Often she’ll say, ‘Mommy, pway for me when I was a baby in China.’ and I’ll pray something like, ‘Lord, thank you so much that you knew before the beginning of time that Hannah and I would be a family.  Thank you for creating us to be a family and for brining us together in China to be together forever.’  I use this sweet time of prayer to reassure her that God designed our family and that we will always be together. 
Each nigh after our prayers we cuddle for a few minutes before I go downstairs.  She’ll normally grab hold of my arm and say, ‘I keep you!’ and try to hold me, all the while with her with a huge smile on her face!  We giggle together with our faces mere inches from one another and I say, ‘Yes sweetie, you can keep me forever!’  Eventually I wiggle away with the reassurance that I’ll be back very soon.  We end our little time of night-time fun with me placing a kiss on her forehead and her placing one on mine.  (Any attempt to kiss her sweet rosebud lips right now is met with that kiss being thrown away as she laughs!  I still do it and oh how she giggles and she announces, ‘I frow it away! Smile)  
I’ve often heard and read on other people’s blogs that ‘big’ conversations often seem to happen in the car.  Sometimes planned by parents that way, other times it’s just spontaneous conversation.
Yesterday as we were driving home from one of her little friend’s birthday parties we were praying for safe travels for those at the party as the roads were snowy and some families had a distance to travel.  After that prayer she said, ‘Mommy, let’s pway for Baby Anna in China.’  I asked if she meant Baby Ellie and she said yes.  Baby Ellie is the sweet daughter of friends who are traveling to China this week to meet their daughter!!  Although Pam and I have never met in person and only met via our blogs, the friendship is a dear, precious one and we know that someday we will meet.  Cannot wait!!
And now, to get to the reason for the title of today’s post.  As we were driving down the road and ‘pwaying’ for a variety of things and people Hannah wanted to pray about she said,
‘Mommy, pway for me when I was a baby in your tummy in China.’
It suddenly struck me that even though I know we didn’t meet until she was 8 months, 6 days old and we’ve often talked about that day and looked at videos and pictures, she doesn’t understand (nor have the ability to understand that) quite yet.  
I was surprised by her innocent request and all at the same time my heart began to race and tears threatened my eyes while trying to sound as ‘normal’ and calm as I could as I responded to her sweet request. 
My response?  We prayed, ‘Lord, thank you so much that you knew before the beginning of time that Hannah and I would be a family. Thank you for creating us to be a family and for brining us together in China to be together forever.’  Someday I will want to delve further into this matter but for now, I responded in the way I believe her little 2yo mind could handle.
I know in time these questions and many, many more will come and I am already praying (oh boy if you could have heard the arrow prayers I shot up as we drove yesterday!!  Talk about multitasking!!) that when we have these discussions that Hannah will view her adoption as a positive thing.   That she would not be angry with her situation, God, her birth parents, China or I’ll be honest, me.  I’m not in denial that some/all of these feelings may come but if/when they do I pray they do not last.  I pray that Hannah will see and believe that God brought us together to be a family.  A family designed by Him.  The perfect family for us.
Together, forever.


  1. What a moment! Talking about my daughter's birth family is very hard for me because I am fortunate enough to know how much they love her. As her first birthday with her rolls near, her birth parents are on my mind often and I'm always very near tears.

  2. I'm sure there will be many more questions. Sometimes the questions are so hard to answer. I will never forget the look on Jazzie's face when she first realized (TRULY realized), that her birth parents decided not to keep her. For whatever reason it was. Jazzie was so sad :-( I think you handled this one perfectly, my friend.

  3. Any part of these sorts of conversations are hard for all of us but in time it does get a little easier. Jammer hasn't gotten too interested in any of his story yet but bit by bit he makes comments and we delve a little deeper. No matter what we will work hard at making out kids as comfortable as possible with who they are.

  4. What a beautiful message, Catherine. I see we share the same fears--I pray that the Lord prepares me and guides me through the questions that I know our beautiful little girl will have as she gets older.
    Charlotte loves to play "baby" as well--I love the opportunity to whisper in her ear and cuddle her close. While waiting in the hospital emergency room last Friday (Charlotte dislocated her elbow at gymnastics), I took the opportunity to whisper some of her story and how we became a family--she loved it and wanted more. Each time I retold the story, I added a few more details. It's hard to explain the joy I felt in my heart as I watched her little eyes light up with every word I said. I don't think she understood, but children like to be the centre of any story, and this one was Charlotte's.

  5. Hannah is such a sweet, tender heart. I just love to read your stories.

    You followed your heart in this difficult situation and it sounds like the perfect answer for Miss H. I will admit I worry about those conversations. Not so much about having them, but that I won't know what to say or how to say the right thing.
    I am so thankful to read how others handle this tender moment.

    Hugs to you both!!

  6. Catherine,
    Are you familiar with the book, The Motherbridge of Love? It's awesome and so beautifully illustrated. I cried the first time I read it. It might be a good starting point for the two of you. Thanks for sharing your experience as you navigate these waters!

  7. Thank you for the reminder Lacie! I do have that book and it's probably a good time to pull it out and begin to read it together!


  8. You are such a sweet mom with a sweet little girl. Xanthe is almost seven and a lot of her history is still incomprehensible and/or not interesting to her. I didn't realize it would be such a loooong discussion before Xanthe grasped what happened her first year. I guess it just takes time. I did tell Xanthe that her eye didn't work because she was born too early and she asked me why I had her so early. I had to say, "I wasn't there!" But it was a good discussion, one of many. You handle it all so well, epsecially by incorporating prayer. Can't go wrong there! :)

  9. My Abby is just a little bit younger than your Hannah (maybe a month? her bday is 3-7) and she is doing the same thing with wanting to pretend she is a baby and with throwing kisses away! She knows she's from China and that we came to get her (I've shown her the video of us getting her) and while her questions are more innocent (did I cry, was I hungry, what toy did you give me) I know that she is starting to process her story. I also "pway" for the right words to come to my heart so that as she learns her story she understand. I do expect some sadness to come, but, like you, I hope that the sadness is overshadowed by her understanding of our love for her and God's divine intervention in forming our family. - if you are on facebook, look me up, I'm Suzanne Ayres Schlotterback.- Fellow Marching Panda!

  10. As usual, you always say the right thing to help your daughter understand her life story. Continue to call on your faith, your friends and your gut instinct when navigating this parenting road. You are amazing, my friend.

  11. First, but late, happy graduation!

    Second, I really am open with Maylin about her story. She is happy to tell people. I thing it is great that they know. I also agree with you that you have to do it in the right time, right place and the right way. We were very careful and have added more info as time goes on!

  12. Hi, great post! My son who is 9 realized when he was 8 that he had birth parents, although he has always known his story. It's hard to say when they will grasp all the details! My daughter at 7 will still talk about when she was in my tummy in Kazakstan, I just keep giving the info as they ask. Thanks for sharing. Kathy

  13. You two do seem to be a perfect match.*
    If Hannah's birthparents could not raise her, what a miracle that you are mother and daughter now. There might be a few rough spots before she will comprehend, understand, and accept the beginning of her life story. You seem to be just the sort of sensitive, realistic, compassionate, and open-minded person who can handle it all, Catherine, all the while helping others to do the same.

    * Although I imagine that you and your wonderful family would have embraced any child chosen for you in the same loving, unconditional, and jubilant manner.


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