Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meeting the Foster Parents!!

This has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been through... I am so thankful to God for allowing all of this to happen.
I really can't believe we met the foster family!
I can't believe we were in the home that our daughters lived in for the last 3.5 years.

I just can't believe that the woman we saw in pictures with our daughter is now in pictures with us, with our family. It is truly a blessing!

Here are pictures of all her foster children throughout the years! Ladies, if you think it doesn't make any difference whether or not you send an update on your child to the foster family - you are wrong! Send them! The marvel over the children! It is what they do, it's their job and they love to see the children thriving! (If possible send directly to the foster parents so they are sure to get them!)

Most of the foster families live in these complexes near the orphanage and the school.

They invited us into their home and had fruit and water for us! She also had a few things cooking in the kitchen that she sent with us for the girls.

The relationship between our girls and the foster family was not lovey dovey. Their was love there but not much hugging and kissing. The foster Dad worked a lot and the girls were mostly with the foster Mom.

Here is the school the girls attended. It was nice and close to home.

We asked many questions and got straight forward answers. I would have preferred that the girls not be there during that time but we did not have any options.

Anna made herself right at home!

It saddened me that she did not have many good things to say about Emma. I think she did say that Emma like to clean up and be helpful... but that was all.
Once Emma found out she was going to be adopted she she frequently misbehaved. She was kicked out of school 5 times in the last 2 months.

At that point she decided that no one was going to control her. We have had to be very strict with her while in China. At first I think some of the people think we are excessively firm but once they see how she acts- I think we have gained their respect. Either way - it doesn't matter... Emma is our daughter, she is part of our family and she needs to fit into our family... we don't need to fit into what she desires. She WILL learn, it will just take some time.

Their is the foster Dad having a cigarette. To me this picture is so thought provoking. It is so simple and yet there is so much depth in it...

This is the bedroom the girls shared. They slept in the same bed. We asked them if the wanted to sleep together in the hotel and at home. Ellie was a definite NO!

Here is her kitchen. It is so simple but the truth is I am sure she is a much better cook than I am and I have a large kitchen...
My girls are going to be disappointed in their new mothers cooking...

Thank You for caring for our daughters for the last 3.5 years!

With the way Emma acted we wondered what the foster family was really like... We were thankful to know they were nice people. We liked them right away, there was an unspoken bond between us... They have 2 birth children in their 20's. A daughter who is married and has their grandson. Their bio son is in college.

She has fostered for many years but will no longer be fostering. Emma and Ellie were her last foster children. We so appreciate the care they gave our daughters but sometimes people do "burn out". It was evident that our Emma was not the favored daughter. She is a "hurt" child. She is need of love, guidance and she will need time to heal.

This is the parents bedroom.

Another pic of the school.

We new of a couple children that were adopted from this orphanage and were our daughters friends. They new Meiying!! Everyone loved her- she was a good girl!!

They also new Sha Sha! The girls were so excited to see her!!

She will be getting her forever family in September (about)!

I know that Ellie had many friends but it was nice to know that Sha Sha was also Emma's friend.

Adorable!! PTL- they all have or will have forever families!

The experience was surreal! We almost backed out- we just weren't sure how it was going to affect the girls. It turned out to the the best thing for all of us! We have never had this opportunity before- I am so thankful for it!

We did not get to visit the orphanage. We were okay with that, especially since our girls were only there for a short time.

I love this Grandma!! She was thrilled to see the girls! She was all smiles and very few teeth!!

While we were there one of the families got an update on one of the previous foster kids! Everyone was so happy to see the pics! They marveled over how good the child looked and how much she had grown!!

Everyone crowded around!

I was surprised that the girls stuck close to us and did not cuddle up to the foster Mom. They loved going back and visiting and eating her food but they did not hug, kiss or cling to her.

Maybe she prepared them well for their adoption or maybe it just wasn't a super close relationship.

It is time to leave, they are all walking us back to our bus.

You can see in the window Emma on the left, Ellie in the middle and Sarah on the right.

I felt very sad leaving. I got teary along with the foster Mom. I know the girls felt sad inside but they did not cry or cling to them. As a child I know that I would have been clinging and whaling.

There is Ellie waving at her foster Dad and absorbing the moment.

They asked that the girls never forget where they are from and someday come back to visit.

I am so thankful that Katie captured these moments...
Hands touching hands through the glass window. It is such a tender moment...

It takes courage to do what these foster families do and it takes incredible courage to do what the these children have to do...

Our wordless Wednesday picture...

Still talking! Woman are so alike where ever they are from!

Everyone's Grandma saying good bye to the girls!

Sarah taking it all in...

The girls came up to the front of the bus for their last good byes.

They were sad but the held up just fine- they did not cry.

I think it was hard for the foster family to say goodbye.

The orphanage- Guilin SWI

We did not get to go inside. Our daughters were only there for 9 months.

Today is such a turning point in the lives of our daughters. We are so thankful for this opportunity to love and raise our girls.

Thank You Jesus!


Stefanie said...

WOW!! What a day!! You did a fabulous job of retelling the events of the day, what a blessing it and all those wonderful pictures will be to your girls one day!
Thank you so much for sharing!!! Sounds like God's fingerprints were all over this day!!

Angie said...

Wow...what an amazing opportunity to gather and understand more pieces of your daughters' history. What a blessing! One picture of of the first in this post...her eyes. They're searching. Your family will be wonderful for her!

ronvic7 said...

You are doing just what you need to, don't worry about what anyone else thinks. We had to get tough with Chance in China but now he is home he has settled down and is doing great. Children know you love them when you care enough to correct them:) You are so blessed to have this day, meeting the foster family and giving the girls closure.
Praying for you and your girls:)
Min sibs momma

ronvic7 said...

You are doing just what you need to, don't worry about what anyone else thinks. We had to get tough with Chance in China but now he is home he has settled down and is doing great. Children know you love them when you care enough to correct them:) You are so blessed to have this day, meeting the foster family and giving the girls closure.
Praying for you and your girls:)
Min sibs momma

Mama Fish said...

What an opportunity to learn a little more of what they experienced and to have met first hand the people who fostered them for 3.5 years!

Janet and Kevin said...

Wow! This was such a touching post. Those pictures of Ellie saying goodbye to her foster dad were incredible and told so much without any words! So beautiful.

Thanks for sharing. We are very glad you all got this opportunity to experience this.

Janet and gang

Mary Kate said...

I am so grateful for your journaling and pictures...It is so happy, yet so sad...I believe these adoptive kids we all have are so strong and it is amazing what they have been through. I am so happy you have such a great attitude about Emma...Things will be fine, I know that for sure!


Mary Kate
Proud Mom to Emma and Ellie's friend, Shasha!

Shonni said...

I really have no words, but wow!!!
What an amazing journey for you all!

Sally-Girl! said...

What a great experience for all of you!!!! I can't believe you got to spend so much time in their home. What a blessing for you and for the girls!!!

You are almost home!!!

Dawn said...

I am so happy you got this opportunity.. God is equipping you to know your new daughters and to mother them. I think you are doing great...blessings

Craig and Phyllis said...

What treasured pictures for the girls to have!!! I agress that Kate did a fantastic job in photographing the event.

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Wow, what an incredible opportunity. So far we have met with (some many many many times) all of our children's bio families and it has always blessed our hearts!

It is great to have a piece of their past to connect to. For them and for you.

Still lifting you up in prayer as you guide your 2 new daughters into your family.

From the Erben Gang..... said...

everyone else said my exact thoughts! I do not think Kaja was the favored child in her foster family either, but what a gift she is to us. I love ALL your girls that much more after the visit. Especially wonder what is going through sarahs mind. I think maybe she is (more) thankful......xo

quilt-n-mama said...

THank you so much for sharing this amazing post! We were able to meet Abigayl's foster mom and sister 4_ years ago in CHina and get pictures of us together. How thankful I am for that experience as well. To know they loved her and cared deeply for her. I agree about sending them updates, we hear from them yearly and they will often send a gift. I'm so thankful for what they did for our daughter!
What a treasure these memories will be!

Wright Family said...

What an incredible blessing to know more of the truth about your daughters! Catherine

a Tonggu Momma said...

As a mom whose daughter was also in foster care, I feel so blessed by this post. Thank you so much for sharing this. We were not given the opportunity to learn anything about our daughter's foster family, not even their names, so this post really soothed my heart. Blessings to you during this time of bonding!

Laura L. said...

What a wonderful post. I was really touched by it, and it was so interesting too.
We are able to be in touch with our daughter's foster family and so love them for what they gave our child. This post makes me appreciate them more and makes me want to be more diligent with photos and info.

You will know what is best for your new daughters, and what kind of love and firmness each needs. They will learn that it's all about love and belonging to a family.
With her behavior, Emma is probably just wanting to be loved and needed. She'll push your buttons to see how much you love her I bet. :) Hang in there!
Sounds like she has a very independent personality too. Hang tough! You've had several teenagers, you can do this. Ha ha.

Difference2This1 said... does one absorb all that happened that day?

Please know I will always be ready to be a supportive voice if you need help with Emma. It seems from what you write she might share some of the same thoughts as Tessa and it hasn't been an easy road here with her; but I'll help any way I can. Blessings, Jennifer

Kim said...

What an amazing and blessed day! We met our daughter's foster family, but not at their home...what an amazing experience! Wow!
Beautiful pictures of your girls and Shasha. Mandy continues to pray for her...soon she will be home!
Thank you for sharing your very precious day.
Kim and Mandy

Blogging Friend said...

I think this was a wonderful opportunity for you to be able to meet the foster parents and see where the girls have spent the last few years of their life. Do you have any idea what happen to their bio parents and why they WERE in foster care?
It sounds to me like Emma was not the favored child but then again it sounds like she was also the most trouble. I honestly feel sorry for Emma. It sounds like she has so much anger and hurt built up in her for a lifetime. It is really sad for a child to have to feel that way.
I have no idea who thinks you are and why do they have any right to say anything. You are the one that is there with her and you know what is appropriate behavoir and what is not. I think being somewhat hard on them now is the best thing. Let them know they will not behave that way or there will be consequences to follow.
I also think once you get home that she most likely will be a better child. Hopefully she will figure out that she is not in control and that you are. Love can heal all wounds. She may never forget but she can heal from them. What better Mom to have to help her heal.
God bless you my blogging friend! I do not know you other than through this blog but I love you dearly for who you are.


mom2eliza-mom2ava said...

Jean, I feel like I'm constantly saying WOW! This was a great post. To see the pictures of the FP's, their house, the school. I'm kicking myself for not having sent you something (pictures or gifts) to deliver to Ava's FP. I didn't know you were to Guilin 'til it was too late. I was excited to read that they knew Meiying! Did she live in that building too? I'll show her the pictures later on. I thought she had told me that Emma and Ellie didn't live near her? So good to see ShaSha too. She is beautiful. Their was a very expressive picture of Emma in there too. My heart aches for her pain that is visible; and smiles along with Ellie who just seems so bubbly. Either way, I'm PTL too that they have you. I remember thinking how could Ava want to be so close to me so soon after her grief, but then I realized that these children are raised different from us; they didn't receive the expressive love. Clearly Ava was feeling that from me as Emma and Ellie are feeling that from your family. ...Loved the Grandma too. Cute! Your pictures all captured so much, so poignant, so much character. Wow. Thanks for sharing this.

Dinn Family said...

So happy for you guys. Oh I miss being in Guilin. What an experience! I know God has placed those babies in your family. You are great parents!!

Gayle said...

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!! And the memories your girls will have of those who loved them most to love on each other--incredible. I'm thrilled for you, Jean!

And on a more vain note--you look incredible in every photo--beautiful on the inside and outside!

rarejule said...

The girls did a fabulous job not crying... me, not so much. Reading along in your day's activities, what a blessed visit you all had together!! As usual, thanks for sharing these moments with all of us.

TanyaLea said...

WOW...what a priceless gift this day was to you (and your girls one day!) I am in awe! You did a beautiful job journaling it through your words and photos... thanks for sharing such a precious and personal journey with all of us! God is GOOD!!

Kathy said...

Wow! What a blessed opportunity!
God is so good!
Jean you are doing such an awesome
job with the girls! You are their momma
and you know what is best. Emma is going
to truly start to heal and understand the
love of a family as you keep loving
and teaching her.
Praying for all of you.

Chandra said...

What an experience to treasure! (it did make me cry) Such nice photos too. Thank you so much for sharing this day.
Thinking of that she knows you have heard the 'bad stuff', you have seen the 'bad' behavior, and yet you love her, you treat her the same as the other girls, it has to make a difference.
The photos of Sarah just make me wonder what she's thinking?