LSS: Gotcha.

We had not planned to have a party at our house Tuesday.

Until Monday afternoon.

When I realized there was no getting around it. Piper, our resident seven year-old (about to be eight, mind you), insisted.

Tuesday was Piper’s Gotcha Day, the seventh anniversary of the day we “got” her in a hotel lobby in Nanchang, China. The two-year plus wait to adopt our youngest family member was enough to wear us down. But, since the first moment she came into our lives, we have embraced each other with an unquestioning love deep and pure.

She is a joy to behold.

She believes in any cause for celebration – if she happens to be the reason for celebrating, all the better. We made the cupcakes, ordered the Chinese food and invited friends.

Presto, a party.

Piper’s ease in the world and the way she pulls people into her magic occasionally gets old for her 12-year-old sister.

But even her sister agreed that the anniversary of seven years of “getting” Piper was cause for celebration.

Piper has taught us all a lot. She’s a truth-teller and has the rare combination of charm, wisdom and impeccable timing that allows her to say what needs to be said to most anyone – leaving them facing the truth without resentment toward the messenger.

That’s a gift.

One that, on occasion, she makes me wish I had.

Sometimes her insight causes her grief. She works hard to understand how a little girl from China came to be surrounded by so many people who love her in Louisiana. Every few months, she needs to cry about the woman she calls her “Chinese mom.” I’m grateful Piper knows she’s loved enough to be able to discuss the depths of her sadness with me. I attempt to give her the right amount of information.

“China has a one-child-per-family policy.”

“Your Chinese mom wanted you to have the best life possible.”

“She loved you.”

“The Chinese government limits families to one child because there are too many people. They had to figure out a way to control the number of people so they would have enough food.”

Try explaining international politics to a seven-year-old.

For a little girl so full of love and joy, the concepts are impossible to grasp.

There is no way for us to know the circumstances of how Piper and her birth mother went their separate ways. In my heart, I believe she was a woman who loved her baby enough to sacrifice her own love and take a difficult path she believed would best serve her daughter.

There is no question to Piper’s happiness. I often tell people, without hesitation, Piper is the most well adjusted member of our family. Yet, loss exists for her — and an anonymous woman in China who must wonder how that little girl’s life has fared.

Oh, for a powerful potion to resolve their losses.

In the meantime, we do the best we can. The joy far outweighs the grief.

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One thought on “LSS: Gotcha.”

  1. Jan-

    Loved your column. The story of how you guys got Piper – how excited Greer was – how long your wait wound up being – how wonderous (and exhausting!) the experience was – all of it was such a joy and inspiration to me and continues to make me so happy.

    5 years ago I was eagerly awaiting my 30th birthday so we could also begin *THE PAPERCHASE*. I’ve always felt that International adoption was something I was meant to do. When we couldn’t seem to have another child, I was almost joyful; here was my chance to persue my dream.

    You may remember me from a church picnic; I’m from a sister church in New Iberia and went to a fundraiser bingo you guys had. I MAY have assaulted you and asked you ALL about adoption (okay – maybe is a falsehood!) I was so psyched to find someone else that had done what I yearned to do.

    As soon as I had everyone on board with the idea, POOF, I got pregnant. I was almost disappointed! Now, tomorrow, Emily will be 5. I’m so grateful for her and her big brother, but I STILL wish adoption was in the cards for us and pray that someday it WILL be; for now, with my two rambunctious kids, a husband who fears he’ll NEVER be able to afford to retire and a recent diagnosis of MS, it’s not looking probable… but I can still hope.

    Thank you for sharing such TRUE moments with your readers. I love hearing about your girls! I am sorry that Piper has a hard time understanding how someone could give her up – and I’m sure there’s NO answer that will quell all the hard feelings – but in MY mind, I take such comfort in the “Red Thread”. I’d tell Piper (if you haven’t already) that there’s a magical, invisible red thread that connects EVERYONE who’s supposed to be together, live together, and love each other. It happens before they’re even born and connects them to the people that are supposed to be their FOREVER family. Often it’s between those that give birth to a child, but other times – on special occasions – when it’s best for a child to be somewhere else – that magical thread pulls together the people it connects so that they can love each other and be TOGETHER. We don’t always understand the magic, but it’s there…

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