Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet

When Monte B. was born, my mother swaddled him and gently rubbed lotion onto his forehead and cheeks. “May you always be as sweet as you smell,” she whispered into his ear. She taught me how to mother, how to love.

Today we met some of the women who helped mother our Mercy. We left downtown Urumqi, passing miles and miles of new construction and an hour later finally turned off the horns-blaring, crowded highway onto a rutted dirt road. Jolting past goat herds and outdoor billiard tables, we pulled up to the gates of a green campus with towering glass buildings. The orphanage, renovated just last year with support from the Half the Sky Foundation, was beautiful. We heard birds for the first time since arriving in China, and we were greeted by the dean, who personally led us on a guided tour.
We started with Mercy’s rehabilitation room, which was difficult for us all. We knew that her return there would likely bring myriad emotions for her…and it did. She cried just peeking through the door, but once surrounded by familiar faces crooning her name, she wanted nothing to do with us. What a gift for us though to watch her in a familiar space. She ran from child to child, giving kisses and puttered about the bright room with sweet contentment on her face. We were encouraged to leave her there for playtime and lunch, and although gut-wrenching to do so, we complied.
Our tour continued with viewing a room where children received acupuncture and neuromuscular re-education. We tasted treats baked by disabled children who were being trained in a skill. We toured “family homes” –apartments that housed a “mother” and five children who were being cared for in a family setting until the children aged out of the facility. We saw child-sized wheelchairs and walkers lined up along hallways. We were served a beautiful lunch with fresh fruit and vegetables grown by children on the orphanage grounds. Really, it was all so lovely…except that there were two hundred children within those walls. Two hundred…minus one.
 We returned to the rehab room to find one of the nannies wiping Mercy’s face and hands after her snack. Then she carefully rubbed lotion onto Mercy’s forehead and cheeks. “Why is she doing that?” I asked our translator, choking at that very familiar sight. She replied, “So she will smell sweet.”
The tears dried eventually, Mercy’s and mine, and she slept in my arms on the ride back to our hotel. She is playing a very cautious game of peek-a-boo with me now, holding fast to a lollipop that one of the nannies pressed into her hand as we left. Tonight, I am thanking God for the beautiful women who loved my daughter first, teaching her to love.

11 comments:

mama said...

can't get enough.

Auntie Erika said...

That post brought tears to my eyes (something that is not common for me). The sweetness of the situation mingled with sadness, and your words tying it all together. We love you all, and can't wait to see your sweet faces!

allison teal said...

wow. Another piece of the story that is woven by the Master. He knows what speaks to us.

mom and dad S. said...

Our hearts are full...thank you.
MyMy says "the face is so sweet"
Love you

Anonymous said...

What a gift God gave you witnessing that act of love and the response so similar to the actions of your own good momma! Riann, this is one of those moments that God uses saying, 'Well done child, you are listening to Me"! It is so reaffirming!! Alison is so correct, "He knows what speaks to us" and in this case, the nose knows! Love you guys! Thanks for the updates. They are a sweet way to start my day. :)
Love,
Deanna

Anonymous said...

Love following along with you all. Love that you got a glympse of where Mercy came from and encouraged that even though the orphanage has 200 children that they are doing their best to love the children and teach them trades. So different than in many other area of the world today. What a blessing. Sweet pictures of a lovely little girl. JAmmie

MD said...

My heart is full(:

Anonymous said...

God is So gracious. <3. Sue G

Lori said...

Tears of happiness after reading this. God is so good!

Ann said...

It is such joy to watch your journey. A family who travelled with us had a similar grief process with their daughter, but once they visited her orphanage, she started to attach to them as if she finally knew it was okay--her favorite nanny had watched her go and she was given permission to love a new family. I know that you know this, but sometimes it helps to be reminded that grief is good--it means she has been loved. Loving you all from afar.

Mark and Sarah said...

Oh Lord, it is so hard knowing how much sweet Mercy is losing as she learns to love her mama and papa. Lord, give her comfort beyond understanding. So much of this new life she's living is scary and unknown. We know she is safe, but she doesn't. Help her to abandon her fear and trust. We know that you call us to do that with you, even though we often have excuses for why it doesn't make sense and why our way is better based on history. Dear Mercy is only a babe, so Lord, have mercy on her and allow her to heal from all she's losing and be able to trust what she's gaining. Thank you that Riann and Alex are so sensitive and aware of this delicate dance we play as we adopt our children. It's not all roses. It's very very sad and hard for our babies. Jesus, thank you for the miracle of adoption--it's not easy, but it's good.