Monday, January 13, 2014

We've Got Esty!!!!

It's 4 am.

I'm in sweatpants with dark circles under my eyes, sitting in the hotel lobby so I can have access to the internet.

Workers are sculpting away at Chinese New Year decorations.

And my little one sleeps upstairs in our room.

How incredible.

Yesterday our day began early, at 6:30 am we met our guide down here to head over to her orphanage.

After a 30 min drive on easy roads, we arrived in the dark.

Our hearts were full of anticipation.

I could see a little ponytailed girl silhouetted in a 4th floor window looking down. What was she thinking? Did she know Lang Han Han was getting adopted today?

We were taken into a large conference room and the heat was turned up.

We spent a good hour signing paperwork and attempting to calm our nerves.

"They are going to bring her now," they said.

We waited for what felt like the entire 10 months of this adoption for her to come through those doors.

Oliver was ready with the video, Brian with the camera.

Then, the doors finally opened.

And in rolled our Esty.

She had a pink knit hat on and desperately reminded me of a little grandmother.

I went to her and said just what I did in a dream I'd had months before, "Ni hao, wo shi mama." ("Hello, I am your mother.")

She smiled.

I took her hands. They were soft and warm. We grinned at each other. I probably said more silly stuff to her in Chinese but I can't remember now.

She then looked for her Daddy. "This is your Daddy, Han Han," I said. 

And then Oliver came over.

They shook hands and a kind smile filled her face.

Immediately then the orphanage director who was so very kind and filled with smiles and kindness herself, began presenting Esty with gifts.

"She has taken the tea service class, and done well," she said. "We are giving her these gifts so she can go to America and open a tea house. Tea service is very lucrative for someone with her differences."

I didn't know how to break it to them that she's going to be a doctor. ;)

The gifts came. And came. And came. (We are going to need an extra suitcase for her tea business!!)

We asked our guide once we left if this is common for an orphanage to lay gifts before a child like this on Gotcha day. "Not too popular," she said. I can't imagine they could do this often!!

So, I surmised that our sweet Esty is WELL LOVED.

Multiple nannies described her as "a big girl" before we met, which confused me because her measurements were so small...but they clarified for me, "She has such a big heart."

Oh yes. My Esty.

After some pictures, we loaded into the van. I held Esty on my lap just in awe that we are together! 

She began calling out ot the orphange women, "Bye bye! Bye bye!" (in English!) and waving and grinning. She did not seem at all to be nervous about leaving with us.

{I just have to pause and say what you are probably thinking too---how is this een possible? How can a 10 year old orphan be so pleasant, kind and wave bye bye to her life and snuggle down into my lap? I  have no answer for you. Only that this is because of prayer.}

We began a long drive then through Beijing. Stop and go. Stop and go. Horns honking. Smog rising. 

We were began by looking through the photo album we'd sent and working on all her siblings' names. But then I began to feel car sick, so I stopped.

She went very quiet and I noticed sweat forming on the bridge of her nose. Then, she began looking more and more white.

"Wo yao tu!" (this is a sentence that caused much alarm as we all began dumping tea service items out of a bag so we didn't have vomit all over the van!)

Eventually, she did. Poor thing. But I held her close, rubbed her back, cleaned her up.

Oh how many times has she had to do that without a mother to care for her?

Eventually we made it to the photo studio. We took a picture of Brian, me and Han Han for the adoption registry.

Then onto the Civil Affairs office where we were quite late for our appointment.

This took another hour perhaps, all the while she was happy to just sit with us and wait. Oliver was a rock star during all of this too. I have even heard him begin to repeat Mandarin phrases and put things together and say, "Oh I know how to say __________!" It's so fun to see! Later in the day he spoke to a father and child, "Ni hao!" I was literally beaming.

We answered the woman's questions for the official paperwork. Why had we come to China  to adopt? Would we promise to never hurt or abandon her? Did we fully understand the things wrong with her physical condition?

We signed our names with black ink, sealing it all with a red fingerprint atop our signatures. (Americans should really start doing this. It's so cool.)

Then, it was Esty's turn. I didn't realize, but after age 10, the child being adopted needs to write a sentence in characters that says, "I want to be adopted." It took her about 3 full minutes to copy our guide's example sentence. (Esty has never been to school because China is not wheelchair accessible.)

Then came her name in characters and her own little red fingerprint.

She was sitting in her new daddy's lap and looked up at me with a smile that melted me. 

She wants this. How totally incredible.

Then it was time for some lunch. Our guide asks her what she would like to eat. She can have ANYTHING at all...and what does she ask for????

KFC. Seriously.

I was dumbfounded.

We wisely decided to return to the hotel and have it delivered to avoid more motion sickness. Brian and I had baozis off the street while Esty and Olly sat there dipping their nuggets into sauce. The irony was not lost on me.

The rest of the day was spent getting to know one another. We went for a long walk, bought her a pair of boots and eventually snuggled her and endured multiple episodes of Xiao Lan (a popular cartoon about a sheep.)

She and Oliver played iPad games together.

After noodles and a bath, we were snuggling down in the bed covers and I began to read to her from the Jesus Storybook Bible.

{Get this Bible for your kids. So amazing.}

I had an arm around her and read in English. I'd already asked her if she knew who Jesus was or God and she said "Wo bu zhi dao," (I don't know.)


I started at the beginning. Before the story of creation, the book gives an overview of what the Bible is about.

As I read the words to her about being loved by a God who rescues, I was in awe. Then I read the words aloud, "The Bible is most of all a Story. A story about a young Hero who leaves his far country to win back His lost treasure."

And I lost it.

What was I doing but just what Jesus has done for me? I left my own far away country and was now snuggled down with a former orphan who was so precious to Jesus that He sent me to be His hands and feet to her.

What a priviledge.

What an honor.

What pressure to get it right!! {But there is grace. Abundant grace. We who parent know we do NOT get it right, but forgiveness and love and new starts are the language we speak.}

We held her in our arms and prayed for her. We nestled her down in the white down comforter and made sure she had all she needed. 

She immediately slept.

And so, was day one with our Esty.


Special notes: 

She was at one point running a fever of 102. Please pray for her. I gave her Tylenol and checked on her during the night and it seems to be gone, but we want to obviously be careful.

Oliver was running and pushing her in the wheelchair/stroller and she was giggling for the first time. It was a glorious sound!!

Her physical condition is both encouraging and alarming to me at the same time. Her back is very contorted, which is not noticeable as long as she is seated. I had her up on her legs and I am guessing she has a very serious case of scoliosis. The good news is that she has a LOT of movement in her legs. She can cross and uncross them while seated! She has feeling down to both knees. Below her knees her legs are icy cold and like rubber. She has no strength in her ankles whatsoever and cannot stand on her feet in the usual way. I fully believe she will walk, but there will be AFO's, arm crutches and possible back surgery in her future. Please pray for all of this that is coming. By the way, I asked her if she'd like to walk and her face lit up and she nodded! 

Once again, I am saying THANK YOU to everyone who partnered with us to pay the crazy costs of adoption. We did not have $30,000 extra sitting around, (especially on the heels of Toby's adoption!) but through fundraising, love gifts and grants, we are here and she is ours. Her future is open wide before her. YOU did this. Please know that we are so deeply grateful for the chance to become her parents and love her to Jesus because YOU helped make this possible.


  1. This post makes me cry with such thankfulness to our Father and gratefulness for yours and Brian's "yes" to Esty. What an amazing story you, your children and she will have to tell !!

  2. There are just no words to express how sweet this post is! Etsy is beautiful and both she and you guys are so very blessed to be together. I have always loved your determination to do what you know the Lord wants you to do -- pure passionate persistence! I am so very happy for all of you. Love you!

  3. You are doing what Jesus did, and you found your treasure! What a beautiful Story! Thank you for sharing your world!

  4. I teared up so many times in this post. Such beauty and happiness! Esty has no idea the joyful life that is in store for her!

  5. This blesses me so deep. As a mama who has her own sweet girl waiting for her in China. As a mama who reads often the honey words of the Jesus Storybook Bible to her Smalls. As a mama who is hanging on the words of every mama who I paving the way and simultaneously giving me my China fix and making my heart ache harder for my girl. Thank you. She is beautiful, as are you. And, most importantly, so is this crazy adoption journey that gives a beautiful picture of what Father has already done. I'm just blessed to my toes to have stumbled here and been given fresh hope that our day is coming. You are a gift, sweet Esty. And this mama from Ada, michigan is praying you home.

  6. Se's beautiful! She will do amazing things!!

  7. This is the best post ever! I am so excited for you and am just sobbing as I read this. You did a great job writing this up and it all just brings Glory to God. Missy

  8. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with all of us! The world needs to hear more amazing stories like this! Also, just adopted and in Guangzhou on the second half of the journey.

  9. Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful post.

  10. This is now my second comment; I may now be your stalker. I figured I should tell you that I have read this a hundred times since 6am this morning. I am praying for you guys! Post lots more!!! Missy

  11. This is SO beautiful! My friend Missy sent me here, and I'm glad she did. We're praying a little girl from India over to Kentucky, to my son's family. In fact, we're waiting with bated breath for a referral... Blessings to all of you!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...