All posts tagged love

The Day That Changed My Life

Published March 25, 2013 by megchristo

Today was my first day back to work.  The time to bond with the girls seemed to fly by!  Last night I could hardly sleep.  I was tossing and turning worried…panicked even on how the girls would do with me leaving for work everyday.  How would this effect them?  I was worried the most about Elle.  How would my work life interfere with the progress we have made on her abandonment fears?  Would we take 10 huge steps backwards the moment I walked out that door?  When I left the house, I pulled alongside the curb a few blocks down the street and balled.  I mean ugly cried.  I allowed myself to do that for about 5 minutes. I then fixed the makeup, and was off to the races.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I really like my job.  I love my customers, and I feel like a truly make a difference.  But have you ever had one of those scotch tape kind of days?  You are fairly put together on the outside, but if anyone looked close enough they would see you were being held together by scotch tape at the seams.  At any moment the scotch tape might give, and your heart may come popping out.  Today was one of those days for me.  Luckily I made it through with my heart still pumping in my chest!;)

On days like this I remember so clearly the day that changed my life and my perspective.

This happened to me on May 31st, 2006 at 10:30 am.  Matt was sitting on the left hand side of my hospital bed at the University of Missouri.  Carsten was just a little over 10 hours old, and we couldn’t stop staring at our perfect baby.  Then I heard a knock on my door, and 8 doctors that I had never seen before came filing in.  They lined up in an “L” shape around my room.  From my days as a hospital sales rep, I knew that 2 of them were attending physicians, 4 were residents, and 2 were med students by the length of their white coats or lack there of.  I also knew they weren’t there to say “Good morning.”  The first NICU attending physician opened by saying, “Has anyone expressed the concerns we have about your baby?”

I quickly answered, “No.” 

She followed by saying, “Your baby has several characteristics of Down syndrome.”  Her eyes then filled with tears.

Time stopped for a moment.  I then glanced down the line of doctors till I got to the next attending.  I asked her, “What does this mean?”

She said, “Well, if your baby does have Down syndrome he will have mental retardation.”  The rest of the scary medical things she rattled off I couldn’t even keep up with.

I remember saying with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, “Can we fix it?”

I don’t remember how they responded to this illogical question because I then looked down at Carsten curled up in my arms.  At that moment he looked up at me with those beautiful, almond shaped eyes, and for the first time I heard his “voice.”  His heart spoke to my heart and he said, “Mommy they aren’t here to fix me.  I am here to fix you.”

For six…almost seven years…Carsten has gone through the difficult job of fixing me.  He is my beacon of truth, honesty, love, and all things good in this world.  Everyday he shows me how much the human spirit can endure and triumph if one just puts their mind to it.  I am not sure of the person or mother I would be today if Carsten hadn’t been born with an extra chromosome.  I don’t think the person I am today would approve of her though.  I am so thankful to be exactly where I am today.  I am thankful for all of my children!  They all have helped shape the person I am, and only will help push to make me a better person tomorrow.  Their job will never be done!  So when I think that my scotch tape may blow, or that the girls will retreat into the depths of their despair while they were waiting for Matt and I to find them, I remember how silly I must be being.  

After all how could all of the love, security, and safety of our family be erased by a working day?  When I returned home and saw the pure joy of my return on Elle, Mae, Griffin, Carsten, and Gabe’s faces, I knew it couldn’t be erased.  Somehow my love surely lingers around them like protective cloaks even when I am not physically next to them.  Besides nothing beats all of the hugs, kisses, and exuberant “MOM!” screams I hear when I walk through the door.  

Hopefully tomorrow when I leave for work, I will feel like I am held together with a substance more sturdy than scotch tape….perhaps duct tape will do! 🙂


Wow! What a crazy three days!

Published January 30, 2013 by megchristo

The last three days have been the most emotional days of my life. There has been the highest of high, and some pretty devastatingly, sad moments. We went to the registration office on Monday morning for “gotcha day”.  The orphanage directors were bringing the girls there to us. Mae was in Kaifeng orphanage. She was already there when we arrived. I recognized her instantly, and went running to her. She came to us very willingly. Mae is quite simply gorgeous!!  She also is quite fond of her daddy, which is adorable.  Luckily we were able to spend two hours with her holding, kissing, cuddling, etc. Elle was n Luoyang orphanage which is 2 1/2 hours away from Zhengzhou. Their bus got caught in traffic, which is horrible here. When Elle was walking up the stairs to the registration office I could barely hold myself back!  Her eyes are so beautiful, and she draws you in like a magnet. When she first saw me she smiled big and jumped up and down. That lasted about 10 seconds, and then she melted. She cried harder than any kid I have ever seen just in shear sadness and fear. We both collapsed onto the floor in the registration office, and there we cried together for 30 minutes. Finally I was  able to stand up, and hold her to finish the paperwork. All of the other adoptive families hearts were breaking for Elle too. No one wants to see a child that sad. You could literally see in her eyes her inner dilemma. Does she go back to the hell she knows, or does she go with these strangers that may or may not be better. It was heart wrenching. We then got back on the bus to head to the bank. On the way there our bus hit a van, or vice versa. We were fine, but caused a delay. When we got to the bank, Elle popped up.  She held my hand, gave me that million dollar smile, and we were off. Progress felt great!  I now has the only person in the world she trusted, but she still wasn’t sure how much she could yet trust me. We are still building it one drink, one meal, one hug, one smile, one kiss, one bath room trip at a time.   Matt and Elle are working on it too. They mostly like to share laughs together, and that is good enough for now. Mae is easy (dare I say that).  She just wants to be held…..all the time!  Either one of us can hold her with no problems. We saw her smile the first night, and it made our day complete!  That first night Elle would not take off any of her orphanage clothes to sleep, which included shoes. We just cuddled up together, and she held my hand throughout the night. I think she wanted to make sure I wasn’t going anywhere. That was heartbreaking and sweet all at the same time.

Tuesday was a long day. We had to go back to the registration office for our adoption certificates, and the the notary office in the morning. In the afternoon we  had to take the long bus ride to Luoyang to apply for Elle’s passport. The Chinese people there were very confused on why MJ and I had two Chinese daughters. One older lady was very concerned, and I had to find someone to translate what we were doing there. She then gave me a thumbs up, and walked on. We then went to the orphanage. I was so worried about how Elle would handle this trip. Actually I was petrified. On the way there I had our guide tell Elle in Chinese that we were only visiting.  That mommy and daddy were forever, and that she would leave with us. She nodded, and looked straight ahead. When we got to the orphanage I had the guide tell her we could stay on the bus together, or she and mommy could go in, and she could show me around. She wanted to go in. She ran to her school room to show me. She was smiling and laughing, and saying hi to her nannies. She then pulled me to her sleeping room, pointed to her crib and ran out.  After that she ran to the bus. Yay!  She understood. What a smart girl!

Let me tell you a little about her orphanage. There are over 600 children in the orphanage. The people working there do truly care about the children, but they can’t keep up. We saw two of the sleeping rooms. We were there around 5:00 pm, and all the children were already in their cribs. All of the cribs had at least two children, and most had three. The crib Elle was in had three. Let me remind you Elle is 4 and weighs around 37 lbs. When she sleeps, she doesn’t move….at all. In these rooms there was row after row after row of cribs. It was a sea of little faces staring at you, begging you to take them. It was heart shattering. MJ and I both wept in the hall. After seeing with your own eyes, it is impossible to do nothing. If you have considered adoption, please look into your heart, and find room for an orphaned child. The need is great. These children don’t need perfection. They need love, and a family that believes in them. If you haven’t considered adoption, please do. We are only three days into this lifelong journey, but the progress we have made with these two girls already is amazing. If you want to talk us, we are glad to. We will share everything we know.

anyway….Tuesday night Elle still wouldn’t take off her orphanage clothes or shoes. So that’s how we slept again. Oh….and with a bow that I gave her to wear in her hair.  She also met us wearing the jewelry I sent her in November. That never comes off either.

Wednesday morning we took a van to Miss Mae’s orphanage in Kaifeng. We weren’t worried about her reaction because her personality is quite easy going. When we walked into her room, her nannies wanted to hold her. We let them. They all started crying because they love her so much. She looked at them like, “what are you crying for?”  It was priceless. It was nice to see how much she was loved, and she came back to Matt and I very happily!  In Mae’s orphanage there were tiny little babies in incubators. I mean tiny…..maybe 4 pounds. It was so sad. Again all the little faces stared up at us wanting to be held, to be loved, to have a family. There are only 100-120 kids in Mae’s old orphanage, so their care seemed better. We did find out that Mae was found in a rural, farming village, so she is a farm kid like her mom and dad!:). She is such a good girl!  We didn’t know if she could walk or not till Wednesday afternoon, since she wouldn’t let us put her down. This afternoon we played in the hallway with some of the other adoptive families, and oh boy can she walk!  She is a pro!  We are calling her Mae Mae (little sister in Chinese), and she is responding to her name. Elle started responding to Elle just this afternoon too. She is already using some English words and phrases!  No one can believe what a big change they have seen already. She is a different girl from the one we all met on Monday. 🙂

So I will conclude by saying we are happy, happy, happy. Every hour we are making progress! They are both blooming like little lotus flowers. It is amazing to watch, and be apart of. We can’t wait to get home to the boys, and be our crazy, happy family of 7!  Thank you all for you sweet words of love and encouragement. All of your thoughts and prayers are felt, and they are appreciated. We love you all!