Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The day we had been waiting so long for arrived yesterday.

We crashed into bed after our long day of traveling and slept like three rocks through the night.  Our body clocks woke us early and we enjoyed a full breakfast buffet at our hotel.

Our guide Ting Ting picked us up at 9:30 a.m. and our private van drove us to the civil affairs office where our daughter to-be was to arrive shortly after us.

Our last update several months ago was that Megan had no interest in being adopted.  Who could blame her?  She had been placed with her foster family when she was nine months old and the world revolved around her in that home.  Fifteen months ago she endured a disrupted adoption when the family that came to China to adopt her changed their minds after spending 24 hours with her.

That would leave anyone skeptical about being adopted, much less a six year old.

Baba waiting
We only stood in the smoke filled office for about ten minutes, checking that both our documents and our cameras were ready for her arrival.  We prepped Andrew for the fact that Megan would not be happy about leaving everything she knows and loves in order to join our family.  The best example we could give our children is to try to imagine sending Lucas to live with a Chinese family if all he has ever known is to be with us.

Showing pictures of her other brothers and sister

Immediately obsessed with screens

The sillies

International language of bananas

Without notice or drama, she came walking into the office with the assistant director of her home orphanage.  She quickly pointed to each of us and recognized us by name "Mama" "Baba" and "Guh-Guh" (brother).  She was happy and affectionate and fully informed.

Andrew was an awesome helper and quickly engaged her in the international language of silliness.  We signed papers, took a picture, and we were out of there.  Ting Ting took us back to the hotel and on the way we learned that Megan has never been swimming before and we went over a few sign language signals so that she could communicate if she was hungry, thirsty, sleepy, or had to use the bathroom.

We got back to our room and got changed to go give the hotel pool a try.  She is bigger than I thought she would be.  She is definitely a 6/7 in size, and I brought a lot of size fives.  She is SOLID and weighs a few pounds shy of Andrew, who is nine years old.  Her hair is really thick and I can't wait for it to grow out from the summer shave she received last month.  There is no styling it or even keeping any bows or clips in it.

Her personality is as we expected.  She is active, talkative, and we can tell that she has rarely been told "no" to this point.  She told us that she brought some snacks for us, which was a small case of Kit-Kat type of candy bars.  She gave us a lecture in Mandarin when later on in the night she wanted more and more but we had put them up out of reach.

She is OBSESSED with screens.  Any time we take out our phone or iPad, her little hands are like magnets and it has been hard to reel her in to a normal level.  I'm ready to lock any and all screens into our safe when we get home.  Can you say detox?

As far as her adoption disruption, after a quick trip through Walmart to buy some pool floaties for her and some snacks, we can see how parents inexperienced with her age and adoption could quickly feel overwhelmed.  She was all over the place, bossing, touching, running all over the place and not listening to the amateur Mandarin we were spouting off at her.  "Firm and loving" is going to be our theme for this girl.

Many people have asked me about her medical need because it isn't obvious from her photos.  We suspect that she has Fibular Hemimelia, but will wait for an official diagnosis when we get her to the orthopedic specialists at our Children's Hospital when we get home.  She has a "lucky fin" of a left foot, and her left leg is shorter than her right.

She did great in the swimming pool for it being her first time and not knowing us or having any reason to trust us.  My man and I, however, had a new experience of seeing each other in required swim caps for 100RMB.  It was quite a sight.

We took a taxi to a noodle restaurant that other adoptive families had told us about and Megan chatted with the waiter about her preferences for dinner and we all enjoyed her choices.  Andrew was hit by the onslaught of jet lag and nearly fell asleep at the table.

Mom with chopsticks, daughter with fork
After a long and dramatic process of trying to get a cab home, we finally made it and got our pj's on (too small again), brushed teeth (spitting out the toothpaste was new to her), and got settled into bed after our big happy day.

And then came the tears.  With no notice, Megan just started sobbing and sobbing, harder and harder into her pillow and under her covers.  Our hearts broke and we tried to comfort her.  I planned to just stay and rub her back until she cried herself to sleep, but she suddenly turned over and (I thought she might hit me) gently pushed me with both hands and firmly told me in Mandarin that she wanted me to leave her alone.

I understood.  I climbed into my bed just a foot away from her and listened to her cry until she had no more tears to shed.

As I thought about it, I was glad to see some real and normal emotion out of her.  If she left her family of over six years and didn't look back, I would be more concerned and wonder about her attachment and grief.

We woke up on our first morning together to a happy girl that is always looking for guh-guh.  We signed official adoption documents (first 24 hours is simply guardianship) today and then she responded to our guide's question about her desire to visit China again someday, "When I am older like Mama I can drive the car back to visit China."

Kinda like that....

Random thoughts to close with:

  • She is super smart.  She immediately learned what floor we are staying on and could watch and tell which elevator would get to us first based on what floor and direction they reported.  She even remembered what floor the adoption office was on at the Civil Affairs building.  She can tell when we are blocks away from our hotel.

  • She knows her brothers and sister by name and right away wanted to know where her sister was.  They got to meet on FaceTime today and both seemed tickled to meet each other.

  • Yesterday afternoon my man and I both struggled with the very normal emotions of "what have we done to our family?" panic.  I have felt this way when every child has been added to our family.  I grieve for the stability of the status quo, but our wise adoption mentors warned us that this would happen and it is normal.  By day two, we already feel it disappearing.

  • Megan Mei Li has an absolutely contagious laugh.  It is unique and like nothing we have heard before.  When she laughs, we all laugh.

  • We are confident that we will have to get in touch with our "Inner Purvis" to help her adjust to her new family and life.

  • We are praying for a mild diagnosis on her leg and that school will help her thrive with more structure and stability in her life.

  • We don't know her fully yet, but we love her and are in awe of how God brought us to her.


  1. Beautifully said, Sweetie! I have every confidence that you and Kenyon will be able to handle this transition, both in China and back home, as Megan is integrated into your family and your life. You are amazing and I love you so very much!


About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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