Dear Younger Me, Let Your Heart Be Broken

Andrea writes a letter to her younger self, before she became an adoptive mom to five children, including four children with complex heart disease. This post originally appeared on No Hands But Ours, a site that aims to encourage, equip and support families adopting children with special needs from China.

Hey there, shadow of myself! Yes, I’m talking to you, the woman who is spending countless hours picking out the perfect color for the walls of the nursery where, in a few months, you will rock your “healthy, as young as possible” baby girl from China. I’m smiling right now, thinking of the woman I once was over eleven years ago. You have no idea, absolutely no idea, how your world is about to be rocked. This tornado disguised as a little girl will turn your world upside down.

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You will be in the trenches, sometimes beaten down, wondering what happened to your life, trading in the time spent making sure her dresser drawers are neat and organized for time in the attachment therapist’s office. You’ll learn to let go of everything you thought you knew about parenting, of your preconceived idea of family, of “healthy.” You will be forced from selfishness to selflessness. You will stop thinking of adoption as finding the right child for you and learn to become the right parent for a child. It will be difficult. It will be ugly at times. It will leave you a sobbing heap in the closet. It will stretch you and twist you until you don’t recognize yourself anymore. Continue reading “Dear Younger Me, Let Your Heart Be Broken”

Rini’s Gift

Last December, Holt adoptive mom Andrea shared her family’s moving story about bringing home Rini — a little girl born in China with severe congenital heart disease — and the months-long struggle to save her life. One year later, Andrea shares an update about her daughter Rini and the incredible gift that she has given their family in their short time together as a family.

Rini and BunnyOn November 13, 2015, we celebrated the two-year anniversary of our youngest child’s heart transplant. And just a couple of weeks later, the day arrived when she had officially been living longer with her donor’s heart than with her birth heart.

It’s sacred and surreal to listen to your child’s heart beating and know that another mother heard that same heartbeat emanating from her body during her obstetrical appointments. We are the beneficiaries of another family’s selfless gift given during their time of deepest grief, and the parallels to adoption are not lost on us. Loss, gain, pain and joy coexist in a complex dance in this life. We appreciate that now more than ever.

Rini is doing beautifully and we are doing our utmost to drink in every moment! Sometimes, the darkness creeps in when we read statistics and ponder the reality of transplant and its long-term outlook. But then we take a deep breath and refocus on the here and now, and remember the days not too long ago when we would have been overjoyed to have just one more hour with Rini. Continue reading “Rini’s Gift”