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There’s Even a BFF Waiting for You

Before we decided to adopt, we didn’t personally know anyone else who already had. We met several families in our Parents in Process class and were able to share in each other’s general pre-adoption experiences. But we were all first-timers, essentially in the same boat but with very different destinations. The process for each country is surprisingly vastly different. The wait times, costs, requirements, living conditions, government structures, and travel stipulations are as diverse as the cultures themselves. Not to be completely picky here, but we still hoped to find a family whose story more closely resembled our own. And if we could be a tad greedy, a family just a few steps ahead of us would be helpful too.

Unbeknownst to us and only a block and a half away, a sweet couple was making final preparations to travel to China in March to meet their daughter for the first time and bring her home. How I wish now that we had met them earlier in their process so we could have provided even half the support they have given us! Between sharing informational resources and travel tips, erasing any concerns we had about cleft lip and palate (one of the possible medical conditions we can expect in our referral), and letting their process be an open book to us, they have helped us more than we could possibly ever thank them for.

We were connected via email with Leslie and Shawn by a mutual friend just one week before their trip to China actually. We didn’t yet know them personally, but already they were on our hearts and minds constantly given how close they were to the culmination of all the waiting!

Leslie and I finally met in person back in May – a few short weeks after their return – but it truly feels like we have been friends for a lifetime. Adoption as our initial common bond was only the start really. Leslie is an absolute gem, and someone I’m sure I would have been friends with had we met under any other circumstance. I mean, we have even braved – correct that, completely dominated! – a couple of baby consignment sales together, which was new and uncomfortable territory for both of us. We found that four elbows is way better than two at those crazy things.

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Kevin has really enjoyed getting to know Shawn too. Maybe guys don’t talk about parenting as much as girls, but having a fellow Dad up the street that shares such a similar adoption experience is pretty cool for him. Not to mention, the various bands and interests the boys share in common.

On my long-way-around walks with Leslie to the post office several times a week to drop off Two Blue Peas packages, we talk nonstop about our brand new roles in life. We cover our fears and insecurities about being mothers to these vulnerable children. We marvel at the blessing of one day being fully let in and trusted by them. We try and prepare for the big questions to come. We collaborate on how we plan to instill confidence in our daughters. How we will try our best to help them embrace their stories. How we feel truly honored to be a part of those stories. Knowing that I will have such a kindred spirit to share in the highs and lows ahead means the world to me. And the thought that perhaps our daughters will lean on each other in the same way fills my heart to the brim.

Speaking of filled to the brim… Leslie and Shawn’s little two year old girl is un-be-lievable. She is so strong. And resilient. And curious. And smart. And brave. And funny (oh man is that girl funny!). And so very theirs. She lifted right into their family like she had been there from day one, and they have taken it all in stride together beautifully. It has been a privilege to watch her grow in trust and love to both of them.

Leslie and Shawn are our first official friends in the adoption community, and together we have already made several more. They are part of a group called “Families with Children from China” (FCC), which is just as it sounds and much larger than we would have figured. Leslie and Shawn’s daughter is among the youngest children in the group, and the oldest started college in the fall. Just today they took us along to an FCC picnic even though we’re not technically “in the club” yet. Already these families have welcomed us with open arms and we look forward to getting to know them better in the years to come.

We haven’t gone so far as buying our girls BFF necklaces yet (just kidding girls, no pressure!), but Leslie and I do secretly envision them skipping down the street to play together with their matching shiny black hair and paths to family in East Nashville, Tennessee.

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"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”