It truly was a
I didn't know it at the time,
but I know it now...
So, on with the story-
Our journey home...
started out very slowly...
We weren't even off the island and this guy in the yellow tractor pulled in front...
Do you know how incredibly slow those machines are...
Oh my goodness gracious...
Well, we began to feel like we were in the movie
Bike riders were passing us!
People walking... were passing us...
And I even had a great conversation with this man
out my car window
as we were
Thankfully, the big yellow tractor did a U turn and we were free to go!
The children were all in their carseats and buckled in - ready for the long trip home!
You know you have a big car when the children use walkie talkies to talk!
Sarah is back there but she's ducking down on the left!
Mia is hiding behind the teddy bear!
Everything seemed to be going well...
Day 2 at 9:00 on I-75
in the middle of Atlanta
on a Sunday morning...
When all of the sudden, the air pressure in our back right tire began rapidly falling...
(FYI, German cars actually tell you the tire pressure- as it's falling)
We were in the HOV lane and had to move across 4 lanes to get to the shoulder.
By then the tire was bellowing smoke.
We quickly got all of the children out of the van- single file- and stood on the side of the road.
I do have a fear of being unable to get everyone out if there should be a fire.
Once the smoke stopped we all filed back into the van and buckled up!
Triple A and Highway assistance arrived in 30 minutes!
So what does Ava do in the midst of a stressful moment...
she reads a book!
And then came the bad news...
that we needed to clear out the back in order to access the spare...
OH MY GOODNESS!
Thankfully, it was only a partial unpacking of the trunk!
We had bought a few toys but didn't have a chance to open them...
So the children were in heaven!
The whole process was such a learning experience!
A first for all of us!
The Atlanta Highway Assistance and Triple A were
This was their first time changing a tire on a vehicle like this!
They worked together using two jacks strategically placed on the bottom of our van!
They were pros!
We had to have ALL of the kids sit down and be still
because they were rocking the van trying to watch what was going on!
I love this picture of Sarah!
She is so interested in everything.
I told her she could watch if she stood very still...
So thankful to God that everything went well throughout this tire event!
These guys were amazing!
Thank you Atlanta Highway Helper!
And thank you Triple A!
And thank you for your prayers and support!
Looking good and ready to go!
When we left Southern Atlanta we had plans, a destination to go to-
We were supposed to meet in Chattanooga with a family that had a daughter from Mia's orphanage.
But as soon as I texted them that we were on the road and would be there in 2 hours...
we got a flat tire...
I had to text them that we couldn't meet as the planned...
They said, "No problem, they will go to church and if it worked they would meet us in Nashville, TN for lunch."
GOD does NOT make mistakes..
There are no coincidences...
HE has it perfectly planned!
All praise and glory go to HIM!
And so it was...
despite the opposition-
We met in Nashville, TN.
Pam and her family drove from their hometown to meet us!
YunYa (Victoria) was Mia's roommate and maybe even her bedmate.
There were 6-8 girls per room.
No heat, no air conditioning, no inner corridor.
Their orphanage was like an old fashioned motel with exterior hallways.
It got cold in her city - about 15 degrees at times.
The children all wore layers and layers of clothing all of the time.
And hot... very hot... in the summer.
It was dirty, very dirty...
These three girls were best friends!
They are all home now.
Each in different places of the USA.
California, Minnesota, Alabama.
This is Yunya's photo.
She brought it and I was able to take a picture of it.
Mia was looking forward to seeing her friend.
A little nervous but mostly excited!
After the initial nervousness wore off they could simply enjoy each other!
We met at buffalo wild wings and it turned out to be the perfect place!
Very casual, loud enough but not too loud. The big game of the day was over so a crowd had just left.
The other kids in our families were able to play a few video games which kept them entertained!
Something they NEVER get to do at home.
It allowed the adults to visit!
It was as wonderful for hubby and I, as it was for Mia and Yunya!
What a treat for us to visit with the parents of one of our daughter's BFF's!
Our Mia remembers nothing of China.
There are no stories, good or bad.
There is no past, good or bad.
There are no clues to the mystery of her past life in China, good or bad.
The other children from her orphanage seem to remember more.
Their stories have helped us to better understand our daughter.
It has shed some light on her past.
Mia is a smart girl.
While in China she used her "smarts" to survive.
Thankfully, at home she is moving beyond survival and
she is learning because she wants to,
behaving because she wants to,
enjoying her life because she wants to...
Something happened on Sunday, March 1st, 2015...
She shed her chains...
The walls came tumbling down...
Our daughter, who was completely unprepared to be adopted,
realized that it was okay for her to be happy.
Her friends were okay.
They were in families like hers...
They were happy...
She no longer had to worry about them...
Or worry that she was going to be sent back to China.
Mia has made wonderful progress all along
on this day something changed.
She was finally free to be HAPPY!
We waited to hook up with other families because we felt Mia needed more time to bond and learn.
We are happy for the time that we waited and we are thrilled for her to have had this opportunity!
IT WAS A BLESSING!
We also found out that Mia is not originally from this orphanage.
She came on a bus when she was 5 yrs old from another orphanage (sadly, even more poor than this one.)
We think she is from Funan, Anhui Province.
Yunya has told her parents the date she thinks she was born-
it's 2 months younger than her records state.
Mia has no idea when her birthday actually may be...
We are guessing she is probably about 2-6 months younger
but for now we will keep the date we were given.
Since March 1st, 2015
our daughter Mia has been a changed person.
She is free!
What a joy to have this opportunity!
God, you are soooo good!
Thank you Pam and family for meeting up with us!
Hoping to see you all next year!
And hoping there is another reunion- so we can go to it!
(The last one was on the same weekend as Matt and Caitlin's wedding.)