“I have a baby sister. Her name is Ava. She lives in an orphanage in China.”
Three of the greatest sentences of my life. This quote above, uttered countless times by our two very young biological children while we were in the process of adopting from China, was sweet music to my ears. Nothing prepared them better for the sudden addition of a 2-year-old to our family than just simply talking about it. Every day. All the time.
We picked out a name for our sweet baby girl long before we were matched. For over a year, we talked about Ava, daydreamed with our kids what Ava would look like, prayed for Ava together, spoke aloud about our wishes for her, celebrated her birthday with a cake and candles, and practiced “wo ai ni” with them. (Chinese for “I love you”.) We read adoption books with titles like “Is That Your Sister?” and “At Home in This World.” We watched Chinese adoption slideshows and orphanage tours on YouTube. Our kids were 4 and 6 years old, yet they could comfortably tell you details about their baby sister, Ava, before we had even been matched! “She lives in China. She is in an orphanage. We will go to China and bring her back here to live with us.” The open conversation, the normalcy of it, the frequency of it… These things made our transition from a biological family of four to an adoptive family of five flow smoothly, and made our children feel excited, proud, and confident in this huge life-change.
Our sweet Ava joined our family in April 2018 in southern China, and this girl was born to be part of a family of five. She is happy, she is enthusiastic, she is silly, she is scrappy, she is friendly, she is tough, and above all, she has so much love pouring out of her heart. She was waiting patiently for over two years for a family of her own that she could shower with her hugs, kisses, smiles, and “I love you’s.” I try not to let my mind wander too deep into the “what ifs”, because I truly shudder at the thought of us not following our hearts and finding our daughter halfway across the world, waiting for us.
Hilary Ableser | Adoptive Mom