Baby Carolina Comes Home, by Teesa

Special thanks to Teesa Klear, for sharing her adoption story with us!

In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness month, I want to share a bit about our own adoption. I realize that the National Adoption Awareness month’s purpose is to raise awareness of adopting children and youth from foster care, but our story might actually serve to inspire someone else to take the plunge to adopt as well.

As a mother who has recently adopted a little girl, I am especially interested in raising awareness of adoption of any kind. We previously posted on highcountrymomsquad when we were trying to raise money in order to complete our international adoption. Thanks to everyone in the community’s help, especially our church, we are debt-free regarding our daughter’s adoption.

My husband and I were able to travel to China in early June to finally pick up our little girl after a five-year process. I arrived in Guangdong late one Sunday evening and met my husband, Bill, who was already there working with Samaritan’s Purse. On Monday at noon, we were headed over to the Adoption Center of Guangzhou Province to pick up our new daughter.

I cannot tell you how nervous we were! It was like going to your first day of school. I kept wondering if she would like me – all these nerves for a 20 month-old!

Since we passed our health test (normal temperatures), we were allowed in to this large waiting area with couches lining a large window, where a few other families were also waiting. One by one the officials from each orphanage brought our children out to us. Some were older, some had special needs, but all of them had one thing in common: parents who were sweating bullets with nerves at meeting our children for the first time and love that filled our hearts.Carolina with Mommy

When the director of Carolina’s orphanage brought Carolina out, I could not believe my eyes. This tiny little creature in a blue corduroy jumper with a pixie haircut was clinging to her like a baby monkey. I immediately began crying, realizing that this was the moment I had waited for for so many years. I reached out to Carolina and she shrank into the director, who immediately pried her hands and legs off of her and handed her to me, while saying, “Go to your new mama.”

Carolina had two pieces of hard candy in one hand and one in the other. She gripped them for dear life and literally did not let them go for five straight hours. It was the only thing she owned, besides the clothes on her back and the size 6 diaper that hung from her tiny size 2 bones.

Sleeping CarolinaThe moment I held her, we belonged to each other. I held her close, while talking to her workers, and showed her pictures of her new big brother, Sam. She immediately said, “Gege” the word for big brother in Chinese. It was the only word she said for two weeks, and only when she looked at his photo. She still calls him Gege today.

After an hour of holding her, I needed to use the restroom and I finally let Bill have a chance to hold her. She screamed out for me and cried for the first time as I walked out of the room.

Carolina didn’t fit the mold – everything we read about institutionalized children not being able to attach or having difficulties with physical touch just wasn’t true for her. She immediately held eye contact, wanted to be held, Carolina with Daddyenjoyed massages and slept in our arms. But, other areas were very different. Once everyone left we realized we would have to feed her, something we were completely unprepared for. We thought a 20 month-old would eat regular food, but she only wanted baby food. A quick trip to the Western store later, we realized she couldn’t drink from anything but a bottle. Another trip to the Western store later and we seemed to be set for a couple days. Over the next two weeks, while we waited for more paperwork to go through, we got to know our daughter for the first time.

Come back tomorrow, to read the rest of the story, as Carolina and the Klear family travel back to the States and settles in.