13 things on her 13th month…
1. Today our Little One turns 13 months old. There is no one there with a fun sticker on her onesie, or a blanket to lay her next to, or a headband to put on her little head. She is just going through her day at the orphanage, no fanfare, no pictures. Nothing.
2. Her birthday is an estimate. We do not know the day that she was born. Officials estimated the day. Regardless, we will ALWAYS celebrate her on April 26th. It will be her birthday and we will celebrate her beautiful life every year for the rest of her life.
3. Little One’s orphanage has a one to one partnership with our adoption agency, which meant that we got the very first look at her file once the Chinese government released it. She was ours from that very first look.
4. Because our agency partners with her orphanage, they have been able to come in and make some changes and help support the orphanage in very vital ways.
5. I read on an adoption blog of a family that adopted a little 2 ½ year old girl from our daughter’s very orphanage five years ago and the conditions were heartbreaking. There was a 35+ kid to 2 helper ratio. One of the nannies would cook and clean while the other would take care of the kids. 35+ kids for one single lady. No one can love and nurture 35+ kids in the way that they need in a day. It is not humanly possible.
6. The same family estimated that the kids were out of their cribs for one hour in the morning and one hour at night. That means these kids lived in their cribs for 22 hrs a day, including when eating their meals.
7. We are SO thankful that our agency has since gone into that orphanage and brought color, toys and training to the nannies. They also do regular visits and work very closely with them. We will pay an orphanage donation fee of around $6,000 (a standard procedure for all Hague country adoptions) and I will gladly give them every penny. These kids need to have those funds to help care for them, give them toys and areas to play. They also took care of my daughter for the first 13 months of her life and for that, we are eternally grateful.
8. We have no idea what our daughter eats or how often, but we have read of one family that adopted their 22 month from China last year and she was only formula fed. 22 months old and had never had solid food, only 3 bottles a day.
9. Our daughter was given a Chinese name with a very generic last name. Most of the kids in that orphanage are given the same last name. We are SO excited to give her our last name!
10. We will change her first name and her last name, but we are keeping her Chinese name as her middle name. If one day, she would like to go back to her Chinese heritage and be called by her Chinese name, she will be able to do that without having any legal issues to change it.
11. We have pictures and two videos of her and we look at those every day! We will not be sharing those pictures on any social media until we get home, or have permission from our agency. We want to respect our agency's ties to China and do not want to cause any problems by posting things before we finalize everything in China. However, if you see me, I have those beautiful pictures on my phone and would love to gush over them with you!
12. We are fortunate to have a few newborn pictures of her. Fortunate because many families do not have pictures of those first few weeks. However, they are very difficult to look at, as she is in the nicu with cords and wires and she is screaming. It is heart wrenching. That sweet newborn baby was by herself in that nicu, and I hate that. I am so thankful for the medical staff that worked on her and kept her safe, but those pictures are just one more reminder of why she needs a family and why we need to bring her home.
13. UNICEF estimates that there are 132 million children in the world that have lost one or both parents, the true definition of an orphan. This is a staggering number. We are choosing to make that number one less. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How can change the orphan crisis? One child at a time.
In celebration of our Little Lady’s 13 months on this planet, we are asking that you join us and give to her orphanage donation. Help us provide for the other children that are still waiting for their forever family.
Click HERE to partner with us.