It is done. Another one has graduated from the foster home into a loving family. Nina, now known as Flower Opal, left with her parents on Tuesday morning from Xian to Guangzhou and the famous White Swan Hotel. They will return to the USA on Feb 4. As with Laura Joan and Amanda it will continue be a bitter sweet experience for me. Saying good bye is always a hard thing to do, but I know that they have had something really good and now they are getting something even better. Seeing a new bond form and the dynamics of a family change is always a special experience for me. I was reminded this past week, that starfish have the special ability to regrow an appendage if it is cut off. I hope this is true for all my babies, that with a little bit of help they too can heal themselves. I guess rather than throw them into the ocean immediately I have a little nursery to tend to them first.
Nina was old enough to begin to understand the concept of mommy and daddy and so I tried everyday for two weeks to teach her from the pictures. Meeting her parents at the civil bureau was easier that I thought. She was not too excited at first but warmed up to them over a period of time. Our bonding time came after the hand off and we spend as much time as we could together. Angee and KG got sick one after the other so that was not too much fun for them. Nina is definitely a daddy's girl at the moment, mainly because Angee was so sick in the beginning.
I am so grateful for the chance I got to have Nina. I remember the first day she arrived and the workers from the Big O said don't break the "bag" because she will die and then they promptly left. I was so freaked out. I had no idea what was wrong with her, what I needed to do or just how fragile that "bag" was. So I had to learn about spina bifida. In less than a month and a half, I was put into contact with Dr Lazareff who did Nina's surgery. What a miracle that was! The Chinese doctors said that she would need to be in the hospital for a month and I did not know what to do. She almost did not go to Shanghai because the Big O was not sure about me and what my motives were. It was only on the day that she was to leave, that they gave permission for her to go. I was to stubborn to give up and did not even cancel the airplane tickets, so everything was still in place. What a help Li Hua was with that! Dr Lazareff did the surgery in 45 minutes and Nina was in the OR for an hour and a half in total. Three hours later she was sitting up in her bed playing with her toys and three days after that were on our way back to Xian. I was so in awe of her. She took the whole thing in stride and hardly cried at all. She charmed anyone who came near her. The nurses, the doctors and the people who met her all loved her and there was even a family who wanted to adopt her. Dr.Lazareff, well it turned out that he is one of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. Nina was blessed indeed.
Coming home, she just continued to be a happy child. She very seldom cried unlike JoJo (Jonas) who made it a hobby. She turned into the leader and the other babies copied everything she did. For a while Jonas crawled like her and so did Laura Joan. Antoinette's fist word was Nina. I loved watching her take care of the other babies. She has a very natural instinct for nurturing as you will see in the photos I am sending. These were taken in the last few days before she left and on her gotcha day when we were getting ready.
One interesting thing that has happened. On the day that we were at the Civil Bureau, the director of the Yun Ling Orphanage was also there. This is an orphanage is six hours drive away from Xian and is considered very poor. They have about 120 children there. I was playing with Nina who was getting restless because we had to wait so long. They found out about the spina bifida and could not believe it when they saw how little scarring she had and was surprised that she was even walking. Their experience with this, the surgery caused paralysis and bladder control problems in almost every instance. They have four spina bifida children now whom they have not taken to the hospital. The oldest three are between 5 and 8 and then they have a baby. I have agreed to take the baby and keep her with me until she is adopted. Another Nina is coming soon! We are making arrangements for all four of the children to have surgery. The surgeon: Dr Lazareff. He and his wife (an anesthesiologist) are coming back to China on a medical trip at the end of April. I am going to be really busy during that time since there is another medical trip with Gena and her team to do Sarah, Michael and Gabriel's palettes and Nathaniel's lip.
There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father loves these children. I am so amazed at how He provides for them through people who are wanting to share their talents, skills, money and time. It blesses the babies so much and I am so glad to be part of that and to be able to tell you the miracles that occur all around me. I love the ability to share stories of hope and of love.
So now the question is who is next? I would have to guess Jonas because I have not heard one solitary thing about Antoinette since I sent her papers back to the CCAA at the beginning of November. You will know when I know.
Love and laughter,
Starfish Momma with 13 little Starfishes in the nursery.