Sunday, April 26, 2015

VALOR Defined

I know an adoptive mom who calls her child a tiny hero.  She sees her daughter as a warrior and she is a warrior mom.  I really never grasped the concept or understanding of the soldier references until recently.  Her daughter has a heart special need and has been fighting for her life since the day they brought her home.  The fight I understood, but the rest of it I could not understand the reference or relate to it.  I have both grandfathers, uncles, and cousins that were in the military and friends, but my dad was never a soldier.  I thought maybe I was too far removed to understand the reference.

As we have gone through months of doctor appointments and evaluations,  I have wondered if it will ever end.  With each appointment I have learned more about my kids and how amazing they are and most importantly I have learned that they are survivors.  They have fought to survive.  I always referred to Flo as a survivor because she was so malnourished when she arrived at the orphanage.  She fought hard to live not just in that box on a cold September morning, but for 22 months she fought to be seen and heard.  She was the one up front, the one in every photo taken, if she was able to photo bomb she would.  She knew that the ones in all the pictures got to leave.  At 22 months she had skills and cuteness and used it all to be heard and seen.  I have video of her taking down two kids so she could be the center of attention while a parent was video taping for those of us waiting to travel.  I wanted to track these parents down later and apologize for my camera hog.  I am sure they knew as I knew she was fighting for a family.  Skills that she had acquired over time got her to us.
Both of my boys have different stories.  The fact that J is with us at all is amazing.  He too is an amazing survivor and each day I am reminded of how amazing he is.  And L is just as amazing.  No one could imagine what he has lived with his whole life.  I am sure as the months go by he will share with us in his own words what survival looked like for him.  He has behaviors that tell me life was hard for him.  There are wounds we have yet to see. 

A soldier is a skilled warrior.  A warrior is a fighter.  They have skills and at the end of the battle they have wounds.  These wounds leave scars.  But their wounds also bring about valor.  Valor defined as courage or bravery.  All of my kids have courage and go into every part of their being with bravery.  Sometimes I envy how brave they are and wish that I had an ounce of their courage.  On those first days in our family they show what they are truly made of and have more courage than anyone I have ever known. 

My children are my heroes and they are survivors and they are amazing! My children are valor defined!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Surviving China Part I: Nanchang

When we arrived in China we realized quickly that our VPN was sketchy at best. We got to Beijing then traveled on to Guangzhou.  We realized in Guangzhou that we were missing luggage. Making a report about missing luggage is not the easiest thing to do, but when you speak English and the person in charge speaks Chinese it is near impossible.  We did our best and then had our Guangzhou guide call and try to figure out if we did everything we were supposed to do.  I am so glad we remembered to put our guides name and numbers down for point of contact.  We probably would have never seen our luggage again. 

We arrived in Nanchang with one less suitcase.  Mark and I had the funky clothes on our backs we had been wearing for 24 plus hours and a spare in each of our carry-ons.  Thank you LORD for the insight to put a spare in our carry-on along with pajamas.  The girls clothes made it safe and sound as wells as the boys. I was grateful for that.  The first night we had a driver pick us up and we went straight to the hotel.  We did not even eat dinner.  We went straight to our room, took showers, and went to bed.  We were all exhausted.  I remember inquiring about the buffet at the front desk and then we went to our room.  The next morning we ate breakfast and requested our guide take us to Wal-mart to buy some essentials to get us through until our luggage was possibly found.

Our guide met us and took us on a walking adventure.  We went to a central square that had a water show and a monument dedicated to the revolutionaries that fought the communists unsuccessfully.  It was a really neat place and so historical until you see the Wal-mart sign in the background.  Awesome Wal-mart. Kill the historical moment with your capitalist ideals and goofy sign.  Crazy because in reality the revolutionaries did not know it at the time but they were fighting for modern capitalism. As we crossed the pedestrian bridge we saw all types of people selling items.  Some unusual and one man singing with a Karaoke machine for money.  It was a miniature flea market of sorts.  One lady was selling candy and others were selling puppies.  It was strange. 

Once on the other side we watched the water show.  It was like a fountain that shot our water with music.  We were told by our guide, Alecia, that it was really pretty at night.  When it was over we ventured to Wal-mart.  My thermals were in the missing suitcase so I was hoping to find something to wear under my sweater in my carry-on.  We also were going to see if there was anything else in the store that might fit us overweight Americans.  I also needed formula and rice cereal for our boy.  We got to Wal-mart and it was all decked out for Christmas.  We then headed to other sections of the store.  My favorite part was the Seafood section.  Everything was still alive.  Always cool for me.  We also found some great snacks and of course food for our boy.  We stayed there for a while.  Mark was so hoping to find some undergarments in his size.  He found some, but we aren't sure they were indeed his size.  He wore them for the next few days.

We left there and walked about a block.  Once Mark finished hanging out with his college friends we hailed a cab and went back to the hotel.  We found several good places to go for dinner on our walk to Wal-mart.  We only had 24 hours before we would get our John.  I could hardly wait. 

One thing we did notice about Nanchang was the pollution and the construction.  Sidewalks were ripped up and people just walked across them. We saw men working in the hole on the sidewalk one day and the next day the entire block was dug up and filled in with dirt.  The businesses had put tarps down over the dirt aka construction zone for customers to walk over.  It was nuts.  Some places you had to figure out how to get to them due to the construction menagerie.  It was crazy.  AG was done with the pollution.  She was using her inhaler a lot.  I figured she would.  We purchased her two new ones before we left just in case.

We figured out how to get around and Mark picked up dinner for us and brought it back to the hotel that night.  I was beside myself waiting for our boy.  I did not sleep as great as I thought I would.  The next morning at breakfast a family was there with a baby.  I thought that will be me in the morning and I will need that high chair.  We all ate well and decided to venture out on our own.  I could not sit in the room all day and wait.  I would be crazy.