I have dreamt and prayed about this day for twenty-one months. The day I would see sweet Annie girl with her forever family. For those that have not been following me for a while now let me recap you. In June 2015 just a couple of weeks prior to me traveling to New Hope to spend two months on what I thought would be working in the preschool class, taking the kids swimming and other task. I got an email....an email that said "we have a little girl that needs to go to surgery in HK. Would you be open to traveling with her during this time. We don't know for sure how long you would be there and you would leave less than 48 hours after arriving in country. "God blinded my eyes from seeing the part that said "heart surgery", see just 4.5 months prior a very sweet little boy that I loved dearly passed away from complications during his heart surgery just after being home for 2 months. Had I seen the whole thing that said heart surgery I think I would have hesitated on saying yes. I have always gone over with the open heart and mind that I would serve where New Hope needed me the most. After praying and running it all by my parents and wrote back and said of course and can I know which child and how old she is so I can gather some fun things for us for our time in the hospital. Then the email came back saying it would be Annie a 21 month old little girl who was extremely nervous around any strangers especially non Chinese. The first thing I did was went to the New Hope website and found her picture. I stared at that picture for so long and I prayed everyday that she would open to me coming in and just having a day to spend with her before wisking her off on a plane for the hospital. Still having no idea how much she would change my life and heart. I had seen other volunteers take kids for surgery to HK and chatted with a few about what the hospital is like and what to prepare for. I remember boarding the plane that July with so many emotions of saying goodbye to family for two months, heading out on a journey that was going to be all new and different then what I was imagining for that past year of planning for my trip. When I arrived the kiddos were getting ready for bed but I went into her nursery and spotted her immediately there she was...I tried to say hi and walk near her and started crying. I had all the feelings of oh no, this is going to be the longest flight and hospital stay ever...what if she hates me and we don't bond. The next morning I came down and found her outside by the playground and when I went near her the tears started coming back. They said she was scared and with the help of my translate app I was able to tell them I was taking her to HK the next day. At that moment her nanny placed her in my arms against sweet Annie's wishes and told me to go walk. So that is what we did...she cried and I just whispered in her ears that it was okay. As we got walking she settled down and almost went to sleep. We looked at flowers and I just held and talked to her. I was thanking God that we are starting to move in the right direction. After nap I brought the ergo into the nursery and we tried it out she wasn't a big fan but thankfully I had a back up plan! A sweet friend donated an amazing ring sling to my trip and the next morning she fell in love with it. That night I packed our suitcase and diaper bag and prepared for our early morning journey. There were only a few tiny tears on our way to the airport and after we got checked in and a good handle on how we were going to roll we got a chocolate muffin and let me tell you I think that is where our true bond started. She loved it!! Fast forward some time (you can go back and read my old blog post for more details)...we had lots of test, pre ops and then we're ready for surgery. By this point we had known each other for about 2 weeks now and the nurses and doctors all couldn't believe we had known each other for such a short time. We had a bond that I will never forget one that will always hold a special place. Surgery day was so hard to wave goodbye as she headed back and to sit and wait for 8 long hours for any word on updates. She started off with a bit of a rocky recovery but we pushed through it and I soaked up every minute of sitting and praying and loving on her. My biggest prayer was that her forever family would see her!! I had several different people write me during our time do you know if she has a file do you know this...I sent them all through the right lines of communication that we are allowed to share and just prayed. I knew God had the perfect family out there for her. Well guess what one of those families they had a fire and burn in their heart like no other. They were told it is impossible but that didn't stop them. Annie had stirred up something strong in their hearts. They began praying that she would be their daughter. This family adopted a little boy that I had in preschool back in 2013 and that is how we were connected on FB and she followed my trip. This all was happening in July/August 2015....for over a year they did everything they could to locate and get her file processed. We were all praying when I left in September 2015 I prayed so hard that she would have a family soon because it broke my heart to leave her. I arrived back at NH in March 2016 and even though I was happy to see her again and know I was going to have 2 months and this time of preschool life with her my heart was also sad...sad that there had not been a ton of progress in journey of becoming adoptable. And it wasn't because of the family, it was due to paperwork and all that craziness that is the not so fun side of adoption. This family from a year prior they were still praying and doing everything they could to make her their daughter. I loved my time and it was so sad again to leave her at the end of my trip. I prayed fiercely that the next time I saw her she would be with her forever family. I also prayed that if the family that had been fighting for her wasn't the family that I would have connect with whoever it was meant to be. October 2016 arrived and that amazing family guess what they received her file after all those "no's" and "it is going to be impossible" or "some serious miracles are going to need to happen". They immediately said yes and from there out their journey was rocket speed. They traveled in December 2016 and guess what that scared little girl of strangers and Americans especially had changed so much just in our time at the hospital but then that spring she would say hi to people and let them come near her. She got to meet her forever parents and she was open to them. They arrived home before Christmas where she got to meet her two big brothers and they became a family of 5. I guess I should back up just a little bit...right after they got her file and it was a go back in October I got a message that I will never forget. It asked me to be AnnieRae's Godmother. Just writing it brings back the tears in the emotions. God is amazing..all I had asked for was contact with her forever family so I could hopefully one day visit but at least follow them on FB and watch her grow up. God granted me with something so much more a place in her life forever. A place that I will cherish all the years to come. As I right this I am sitting on the plane headed to see her and meet her family. All the emotions and feelings are racing through my heart. How will she react, I can't wait to give her Momma a hug after all these years, I can't wait to see her brothers. To see her new life that in pictures she is just thriving in. I pray this is just the start to many meet ups in the future. I pray one day that my family will get to meet AnnieRae and her family. I pray Her story touches others. And I can't wait to share with her nannies when I head back this summer.
I will of course be posting pictures and sharing once I am home about my trip 🙂