Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jen's Reflection

Well, I just put Tya down for a second time tonight. It is quiet in the house so it felt like a good time to reflect on the past three weeks... and five years. I have been so grateful that Jeff has blogged for me while we were in China.... but, I missed it. He tells me that he loved blogging and I could tell. He is a wonderful story teller and has such humour and description in his writing. I was able to hold and feed Tya while he blogged and the other two girls were sleeping or watching movies. It made the most sense and I really felt like I needed every second to hold Tya, feed her, and be there with her. We have been so blessed to have her home with us at the age of 6 months and before Christmas, I cannot say enough good things about our agency FOI. They really go above and beyond for families and babies. Bob and Yulin are so simply amazing!

So, what a journey! A five year journey that began with a pull on my heart string, or red thread should I say. When a co-worker and friend brought home her darling Chloe from China. Holding her in my arms and hearing her story just touched me so emotionally there was no doubt I needed to go to China, that a very special baby was there for me. I looked over at another dear friend and co-worker, Carolyn, and I think we read each other's minds before we said anything, we were feeling the same thing. And so began the emotional rollercoaster. Carolyn and I both went home to tell our husbands what we both felt we were destined to do. Carolyn and I had big plans, we would go together and be there for each other if we started the process at the same time. Jeff was reluctant at first though. He wanted to adopt aboriginal babies before we had ever had any children...before he had met me. This was what he felt called to do and so he really could not see this as the path for us. I was so disappointed, he was so adament and I understood his need as an aboriginal person to give a good home to an aboriginal child especially as he was raised on the reserve by his grandmother until he was 13. I still think he longs to adopt an aboriginal baby... so time will tell. I was reflecting on this because the years we have waited have not been easy and the surreal component of this amazing journey to bring home a daughter was even more difficult for Jeff along the way... whereas it was more surreal and difficult to me in the days and moments just before we held her. As Jeff said while we were in China, for him he just could not envision it until we were actually there. There were many times over the last five years we both had to create coping mechanisms...I had to not talk to Jeff about the adoption at all..it drove him crazy and he thought I was obsessed. I had to stop going to china-adopt functions because it made me too sad. There were times I had to fight for us to continue in the process and not change our course due to finances or life changes. I think it is important to know that the wait was not easy... but that it was SO worth it. It is worth the fight, the frustration at times, and the worry at others. It is no different than any other important moment in your life.

So... the years went by and then it felt like all of a sudden we were next to go to China. It was a whirlwind... Jeff was worried about money and could not believe I had done this to him, which he quickly got over after dinner with some of his good friends to whom I will always be grateful for calming him down and reassuring him. When I got home he had noodles and chopsticks waiting for me for supper and a hug telling me he was ok now, it is just that I think with my heart and he with his head and he is constantly worried about finances (largely because I don't and because he grew up with so little). Then it was crazy... finishing up work, mountains of paperwork, getting expired passports done, phone calls with everyone that works at FOI for travel, paperwork, visas, you name it. We had to get needles done at the travel clinic and we had packing to do. On top of that, Christmas was coming and we would return Christmas Eve day... so there were a few things I needed to do before I went... and the rest Bob assured me could be done in China.

Travelling with a three and a half year old can be challenging, but we really felt that as we might not get home for Christmas we would rather her with us, although my mom really wanted us to leave her with her. Mom was so worried and I can appreciate that fear. We also felt that it was important for the girls to all bond together right away, if Kennah was any younger we may not have been so brave, but there was no doubt in Savannah's mind she was coming. She gave up going to France for financial reasons...and she turned 16 in China ... a world away from her friends to be there for Tya.

I am going to skip a lot of the details of the trip as I could never do as well as Jeff so aptly described... the people, the place, the flight, the food, the journey. I think you also get a pretty god idea of how much Jeff immersed himself in the process. He was a proud daddy from the minute he saw her. I love to watch Jeff walk around holding Tya in his arms, chest swelled out or carrying Kennah on his shoulders for hours, even climbing the Great Wall. In these moments I love him more deeply than ever. He loves his girls of this there is no doubt. I know that he now understands why we had to do this... he feels, as I do, that Tya was meant to be part of our lives and part of our family. I am so grateful for this.

The day we went to go to Nanchang where Tya was... in the province of Jiangxi... was a rainy wet day. We had just landed in Beijing the night before... were told we would be picked up early the next morning and taken back to the airport to fly to Nanchang. I have to say the surrealness of all this, having to focus on my other children and the feeling of just being on a trip or sightseeing tour was what I was feeling. I so wanted to be feeling the emotions I thought I would... Cara (one of the mom's I met)had tears in her eyes and she was there in the moment and so I gravitated toward her wanting to feel it too... we discovered we were both "blue" (emotionally driven people). When we landed in Nanchang, Mary our guide, told us we would be getting our babies right away, before we checked in... she gave us our room key, said we would get our babies, have an hour to feed them or less and to go across the road for paperwork. This threw me for a loop. I thought we would be getting settled and organized first and then going to get our babies across the road together. But, no our babies were there and waiting for us and our Tya had been there since the morning she said. Cara was shouting Wahoo, Randy was saying are we there yet (just a few times, right Randy? lol) and I was saying pinch me this feels like a dream... I have very little recollection of how we got to the room... thank goodness Savannah was on the video camera duty) ... and then she was there... I loved her... I loved her when she was just a dream and I loved her now in her realness and then she looked deep in my eyes and I held her and she continued to look deep in my eyes. She is amazing, she is beautiful, she is the one we have been waiting for... and she was so worth the wait and all the labour pains along the way. I cannot describe how I felt in that moment...she was so calm and sweet. She just connected with my soul the minute she looked in my eyes and she was ours. I cannot describe the emotions of that day or that moment... it is more than I ever thought possible and so very like the moments Savannah and Kennah came into the world.

She is the sweetest little doll... we got to know her over the two weeks there as a family. How she loves to be held, fed, loves to lick things (mostly my cheek and her blanket), how she crosses her fingers and sucks on them, how she is so serious and how sweet her little smile is with one little dimple below her mouth on her left side. How she chews on her bottom lip and makes the sweetest cooing noises. She is so tiny wearing either 3 months or 3-6 months clothing and she is so adorable I just want to kiss her, nuzzle her, cuddle her, hold her and touch her. We all work so hard to make her laugh and it is the sweetest sound. She likes her bottle warm and to feel you blow on her toes... she loves a massage with cream and even fell asleep one day while I was massaging her.

The day we left Nanchang was sunny... after a surprising 2 days snow storm, which prevented us from visiting the orphanage unfortunately. As we were driving to the airport... Jeff made the connection... that is was raining when we got there because we did not have her yet and sunny as we were leaving as she was now with us.

The next few days are all recorded in Jeff's writing, we continued to hold Tya and marvel at her. Marvel at how seemlessly she fit our family... marvel at the fact that like Savannah said on the plane ride home "it feels like we cannot imagine a time without her in our family"... marvel at this extraordinary part of our lives that seems dreamlike and yet so real. We feel so very blessed and I am amazed at the way it all turned out... I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I knew we were meant to follow this path, that we had to stay true to our course and that the heart that was pulling me on the other end of that red string... that very long five year but strong red thread was our little girl... and I am so grateful, I feel so blessed... I have no words to describe it, just overwhelming emotion.

I did want to add a special thank you to everyone who came to the airport... I was so very touched as it was Christmas eve morning and so I had no expectations for anyone but my family to be there... I know how busy it is on that day... so to see you there with tears in your eyes, memories of other journeys flooding other people's eyes, and the love we felt touched us deeply. It meant so very much and you are all such special people. Carolyn... words cannot express what a dear friend you have been for me throughout these five years and you know probably better than anyone what it was like and have been there for me through it all. A special thank you for my family that cleaned my house, decorated for Christmas (you have to see the special Chinese flair my sister thought to add to my tree), and welcomed us with our house totally ready for a new baby and Christmas... You are all amazing and I feel so lucky! Thank you to my Dad for sleeping at my house every night and fixing up the things that needed fixing... thank you Mom, Sherilee, Rodney, Tara, Dante, Aaron for all the work you did to make our home ready. We are so fortunate to have you as family.

Gan bei!


Sheri Lee said...

Amazing description of your Gotchya moment... and it is so true... anyone can see your connection with her. So proud of you for the long road you have taken and the brave and passionate way you have followed it! Love you all, Brant family! xo by 5 to you!

randy and cara said...

Well, we got there, got them, got through it, and both Cara and I soooo enjoyed our time with your family, they are a special crew. Hope the jet lag goes quick and precious Tya adapts and adjusts and attaches well.

I ended up on the 24th staying awake all night, and all the next day. But that seemed to adjust me back to Canada time.

Julia sleeps a bit rough, but not that bad. Been insane with doing holiday stuff,but glad to be home and excited to follow the Canada journey as our families grow up!

Alyssa Li said...

What a beautiful post, Jennifer! Going to China and adopting your baby definitely changes your life, your outlook on what's important and creates so many wonderful memories to cherish forever.

So glad you are home and that part of your journey is over. What an amazing life ahead of you all!

Take care,

Kennedy and Jaida's mom said...

Jen, you words are amazing, as always. For myself, it feels like another chapter in my own journey has ended/started because, as you said, we started out on this together and it never felt complete until your little Tya came home. Can't wait to spend time with you and get to know Tya Lihui Brant. Love you! xo

Jane said...

Jenn! I was so moved when I read this.. I had to read it 3 times because my eyes were so blurry:) She is one lucky little girl to have you as a mommy and to be part of your family! I can't wait to meet her!