Zai Sheng, Goodbye

In two days we leave China, heading home to Montana. Without a doubt, what we will miss most from our time here will be the other families that we have journeyed alongside, to our children.

Most of the families here are adopting child number 2, 3, or 4 (even numbers 6 or 7!)… young, busy families already enjoying a season of child-rearing, choosing simply to expand their families by way of adoption. This warms my heart, and I am moved to witness such families stepping up to answer the cry of the orphan. It’s logical, you’re already in the throes of parenting precious babes– any chance you have room for another?

What has moved and inspired me further, however, is the empty-nester couple with two already grown children who- after a life already lived incredibly and sacrificially for the Lord- are humbly opening their hearts and home to a sweet baby girl with Down’s Syndrome. When they could, instead, rightfully settle into a comfortable season of self-indulgence: golf, lunches, shopping and perhaps travel, they are also taking literal the Bible’s command to look after orphans in their distress.

We have seen hard things, as well. Two children arrived to their new families from an orphanage notoriously reputed for severe malnourishment and neglect. One four year old is no bigger than our 20 month old. The other almost-two-year-old had inexplicably lost five pounds (30% of her body weight) since December, was listless and could hardly stand on her own feet.

Another family went home without their child. It was devastating to witness. They felt their child’s condition, relative to their special need, was not accurately disclosed and more than they could take on. I can’t even imagine.

We have bonded through our arrival in China, eager anticipation of our long-awaited children, unforgettable Gotchas, meltdowns/tantrums, attaching, hallway playdates, late nights, early mornings, lack of sleep, sharing of toddler snacks, adventurous meals, upset tummies, plane rides, train rides, bus rides, crazy taxi rides, and more.

I’ll never forget these families.

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