Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reality is Love

For about 60 hours now I have been a father. My world has changed for sure. We first heard about our daughter in late November and on Monday morning we got to meet her, hold her, and make her ours forever.

We left Atlanta for China on Wednesday morning of last week, arriving in China on Thursday. We spent Friday and Saturday touring in Beijing seeing Tianemin Square, The Forbidden Palace and I got to climb the Great Wall of China. Once in a lifetime opportunities for most people.

On Sunday we flew from Beijing to Zhoungzhou (pronounced Jung Jo) the capital of the Henan province. I slept surprisingly well Sunday night knowing that at 9am on Monday we would meet and receive our LynnMarie.

The entire experience has been wonderful. God placed a perfect baby in our family. She was born with special medical needs, but the care she received in her forst 12 months has done wonders already and her prognosis for a normal life is excellent.

LynnMarie was assigned to a specific orphanage in ths province, but with her medical conditions, she was allowed to go to the care of an American woman who is here to teach nursing but has starated a foster home for special needs orphans. This afternoon we met this lady and visited the two apartments she uses for the babies/children. It was an awesome experience seeing the heart of a woman and dthe hand of God working through her. Her kids have needs including heart defects, missing limbs, spina bifida, deafness and even an albino litle boy who will be going to a forever family in the USA pretty soon.

The greatest thing is these kids are cared for and are truly LOVED. Several nannies are emplyed full-time to care for the children and there is an American college student working as an intern at this time. It was a great hope for us that we would be able to meet our Angel in the flesh and see the environment in which LynnMarie was cared for and loved. The nanny's faces lit up as soon as they saw LynnMarie with us and though parting once again had to be bittersweet, they know the love they gave her will be continued forever.

I have a minor issue with downloading pictures from my camera to our laptop, but as soon as it is resolved, photos will be coming!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lifechange

I did not realize that it has been 11 days since I last took the time to write anything here. It is roughly 6pm on Saturday March 14, 2009 and I am less than a day and a half from becoming a father.

I am sitting in a hotel room in Beijing, China. Somewhere to the Northeast of here, in another province I guestimate to be 500 miles away there is a baby girl in a state-run orphanage who has had a major change to her life this week and is about to have an even bigger one.

Two and a half years ago Amy and I began a journey of days that has now become a journey of hours and miles. Yesterday was the first birthday of Lu Chun Ai, whose parents abandoned her for multiple reasons ranging from the fact she is a girl to her badly mis-shapen feet. She was placed in an orphanage with man other children left to the care of the Chinese government.

An angel came in to her life and removed her from that orphanage and placed her in a small foster home where she would be loved on by multiple nannies every day and where arrangements were made to heal her sweet feet and her tiny fingers.

I knew nothing of this precious child before late November. Two days before Thanksgiving I learned that she existed. One day before Thanksgiving I saw her face and was able to read about her life. Five days later I decided with Amy that we wanted this little girl to have parents again and that we wanted the job.

A whirlwind of anticipation has ensued. there were lots of initials for events in the adoption process that came on certain days and each one brought us a step closer and closer to holding this baby.

Two days before Christmas we received a pre-approval (PA) from China. About three weeks later we got our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from China which means they agreed that we would become Lu Chun Ai's parents. Next came the Travel Approval (TA) which was the final hurdle to clear and the point at which we could start making travel arrangements.

The reality of the past 30 months and the energy of the past 15 weeks is really hitting home. I am about to achieve one of the biggest things any man can do in his life, become a daddy. I will be responsible (as part of a two-person team) for the care and guidance of another human being. I will have my heart melt when I hear a tiny voice say "Daddy." I will have my heart break when she tests me with her actions and words. I will rejoice over the milestones of her life. I will cherish the Cinderella moments that Steven Curtis Chapman sings about with his daughters.

The past two days have been a vacation. My lifechange is looming. Like any other lifechange it is entirely voluntary, but it is powerful how huge an event this is. For me it ranks only with two others in my life, giving my heart to Jesus and sharing my heart and life in marriage with Amy.

There is so much about what I am about to do that I know nothing about. For these things I ask for your prayers and guidance and support. I will make mistakes. I will need help, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not. Ultimately I know the correct outcome will happen. God's hand will guarantee it, but it is still a scary prospect, but it is one I have chosen to create for my life and to face in every minute of every day.

Lu Chun Ai, prepare to experience lifechange like none you have known. Prepare to feel love in a way you have never known. Prepare to become LynnMarie ChunAi Christopher Atlanta, GA.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Great Adventure

I haven't written or posted much here in the past month or so. I haven't been too inspired to write, but I've had a lot on my mind. It's almost 11:30pm right now and that means I am 175 hours away from rolling down a runway at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, heading to Newark and then onward to Beijing.

In about 10 days the actual reality that I will be a dad will become true. I always knew this day would come. I never planned or expected that my first child would be adopted or that the child would be from China or that the child would be a girl. I always expected I would be the father of boys. The men in my family have a tendency to father boys, ,about 70% going back 3 generations. I will have a princess to call me daddy. I will be worried about her growing up, protective of her when she begins dating, encouraging of her as she learns and grows and becomes a woman I will be proud of.

I know I have a lot to learn in this process, but it is the greatest adventure I will ever do.