Proverbs 16:9A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Read that Bible verse one more time.
I'm going to start with the facts.
Remi Adria formerly Li Hong Cai AKA Jenny
Abigail AKA Misty
1. In 2009 China assigned a large group of orphan children to Madison Adoption Associates, located in Delaware, to find the children adoptive homes.
2. At the time I had no interest in adopting and I had never even heard of Madison. My friend Robin was wanting to adopt though, and she sent me Madison's videos of their new kids. I thought I would look at the videos just for fun, but mostly because Robin wanted me to. I looked at several videos of children. The videos were made so prospective parents could get a better idea what the children were like. It was TOTALLY a new way for China to be finding homes for the orphans and a huge success! I think most all the children found homes.
3. Only one video really touched me. But you might even say that one video spoke to me. Madison called the little girl Jenny and she looked to be around 10 years old. The reason "Jenny" touched me was because it was very clear to me Jenny was desperate, and fighting "for a life."
I DID NOT tell Robin my thoughts about Jenny, because I had no interest in adopting at the time. None whatsoever. Robin was interested in Misti. Misti, like Jenny was just the name Madison put on the web. Robin had seen the referral papers for both Jenny and Misti and told me they said Jenny and Misti were best friends.
It was maybe a day or two after I first saw Jenny's video that Robin said to me, "Hey you adopt Jenny and I'll adopt Misti." I'm sure it sounded strange to Robin when I immediately said, "OK!" I've never once adopted a child someone else because someone talked me into it, and this time wasn't any different. But, despite how little interest I had in adopting, that is how strongly Jenny's video had touched me. All it took was Robin saying that to get me to say yes.
This is"Jenny" at the adoption camp where Madison made her video. One thing that touched me was how hard she was trying. I knew Remi was smart right away because it was obvious she knew this video was an "audition" and maybe her last shot at getting a family. I also sensed from the video Remi was desperate and boy did that turn out to be the case. After Remi was home and learned English she told me her foster parents called her "dog shit" daily. They used it as if it was really her name. She also said to me, "My foster mom was mean and Abigail's was meaner." They both have some scars to prove it.
4. That evening Mike came home from work, and I asked him if we could adopt Jenny. It was late, he was tired and didn't say much, but to my big surprise he pretty much agreed on the spot. Again, I was really surprised! This was not normal for him at all. It usually took months of begging him, since adoption is such a long, drawn out and expensive process.
5. After Mike said yes, I didn't want to waste any time. I called Madison right away and got the ball rolling to adopt Jenny who would soon be named Remi Adria.
6. About two or three days later, Robin called and said she felt God was not leading her to adopt Misty. I thought... "dang we were going to adopt best friends." But I had already committed to Remi, and that didn't change, even if her best friend wouldn't be coming to Indianapolis with her.
7. Another couple days went by and Robin told me excitedly that Misty's file had been taken! I immediately posted an email on Madison's Yahoo group explaining that I was adopting Misty's best friend and asking who was going to be Misty's new family. Up popped an email from a woman named Jan that said, "I'm Misty's new Mom." I responded, "Oh, I'm in Indiana. Where are you?" I about fell out of my chair when Jan's answer came back, "I'm in Indianapolis. Where are you?" I wrote back and told her exactly where. She responded, "You are going to love this! I am too!" So, Misty, soon to be Abi, would be living only 20 minutes away from us and Remi after all!
That is not the extraordinary part!!! Hang on!! While I didn't know Jan from the man on the moon, (she says she remembers talking to me one time at the grocery, but I don't remember it), but we have become very good friends. She, Teri (another friend) and I did our dossiers for our girls together. For those of you not familiar with adoption from China, a "dossier" is a collection of all the papers (birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal record checks, etc.) you have to send to China in order to get approved to adopt. Unfortunately, we didn't get to travel with Jan. She traveled and got Abigail about two weeks before Teri and I traveled to get Reagan (Teri's daughter) and Remi.
I need to back up a little though. Back when I was deciding to adopt Remi, Jan couldn't make up her mind to adopt Misti or another girl. This was before I knew Jan much less spoke to her. Jan told me this story shortly after we had met. Since Jan couldn't decide who she was supposed to adopt, she said she asked God to show her a sign. Jan was in the shower at the time and the word "mist" popped into her head. So she prayed that if God wanted her to adopt Misty, that he would show her a mist. Right after that, Jan's son, who knew nothing about her prayer, came running in from outside and told Jan she needed to come out and see "the weird sky." Jan went outside with her son and saw what she told me was the strangest sky she had ever seen . . . a strange mist. So that is how Jan chose Misty, and that is how Misty became Abigail.
About a year later, around July 2010, Abigail and Remi were with us and their new families in the U.S.
Abigail arrives in Indy with Jan, her new Mom. I didn't get to leave for China for another 2 weeks. Abigail and Remi both are VERY devoted daughters.
Jan and I had bonded after working together on the "best friends" adoptions. She told me she felt like she was giving me a gift since I was able to ask Abigail about my new daughter still waiting for me in China.
We hadn't been home very long when I took this one. I hadn't started questioning anything yet.
I still have not gotten to the extraordinary!!
Fast forward to 2011. The girls had been with us a year and it was July. Jan was in Africa adopting again (she's a speed demon). I was at our town's 4th of July celebration. There are always hundreds of people there, and my sister says, "there's Jan's kids sitting over there." I was thinking I would get to see Abigail. I turned around and there she was. Jan's kids were staying with Jan's friend while she was out of the country. We started talking to Jan's friend, and they all moved in close with us to watch the fireworks together. Of course I had my camera and took plenty of pictures.
These were taken at the 4th of July celebration one year after they had been home with their new families.
That night after we got home I downloaded my pictures, and for the very first time I saw it. It was clear as a bell. I hollered upstairs and told Remi to come down. I said matter of factly, "Abigail is your sister." Remi just looked and me. Remi is quiet (so is Abi BTW).
Remi didn't say anything and started going back up the stairs, but then she stopped in her tracks and said, "That is the other baby!!" She went on to tell me about memories of a baby's picture. She used to ask her birth Mom who the baby was. Her birth mom would tell Remi it was her. In broken English Remi said to me, "I know that not me." Later Remi found another baby picture. Remi told me how the babies in the pictures had identical bunny outfits on, but one was blue and one was yellow. Remi then said to the birth mom "See this me. Who is this baby?" Her birth mom told Remi, "That is the neighbor's baby." Remi said she always knew her birth mom was lying!
Remi had told me a long time before (the day I got her I had the guide translate and asked her questions) that she was five years old when she was abandoned, but the orphanage wrote she was only four on her papers. I knew when we adopted Remi that she looked older than the orphanage said she was, so I'm sure she was five years old when she was abandoned. The guide also told me Remi could write her "real" name before the abandonment. Later after Remi learned English she told me the story of her abandonment. Remi is a very smart girl and she was older, so it was all pretty vivid to her. When her Mom first disappeared she said she wasn't scared since she didn't realize what was happening to her-abandonment.
The EXTRAORDINARY PART is coming!!
Since 2011 after I saw the 4th of July pictures of Remi and Abigail, I had been telling Jan (and anyone else who would listen) that they were sisters. Well, Jan "finally": - )) ordered the DNA kits and we tested our daughters!!! YES THEY ARE BIOLOGICAL SISTERS!!! YES THEY ARE BIOLOGICAL SISTERS!!! YES THEY ARE BIOLOGICAL SISTERS!!!
Something that had always confused me was Remi said that after she was abandoned someone had called her birth mom and asked if she wanted Remi back, and her birth mom said no. Later I realized the reason the girls had been living next to one another (Remi and Abigail's foster moms were great friends) was because the orphanage knew all along they were sisters.
Remi has memories of her abandonment, but Abi doesn't because she was only about a year and a half old when she was abandoned. I have always believed Remi's birth mom gave up Abi when she gave birth to Remi. Remi also remembers a baby boy (about 2 years old), so Remi's birth mom probably gave up Remi when she had the boy.
Once again Read Proverbs 16:9
A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. (and that is exactly what happened).
My biggest question now is what is God's purpose for the girls? I believe all this has happened for a reason--His reason. The girls could have gone anywhere in the world, and even though both adopted by Americans, they could have ened up anywhere in the 50 states. Remember the agency that placed them is in Delaware! Yet, these two girls lived on the other side of the world right next to one another and ended up in Indianapolis right next to one another, and we had to figure out on our own they were sisters--not simply best friends. God put them close together so that they could continue to see one another, but also so we could figure out they are sisters. He also put them in "like" families with shared beliefs. I'm not saying I am close to as good a Christian as Ms. Jan, but I am a strong believer. I believe the Bible is 100% true--even the controversial stuff! : - )
Abigail and her real family. They are such a wonderful Jesus loving people. She is one lucky little girl, and she knows it.
I took these pics around Christmas time this year.
Remi's siblings (not counting Whitney and Brady who are both married!)
Both girls are very close to their "own" Dads.
Robin who God obviously used to introduce me to Remi!
Our long, long L.A. layover. And, yes we picked up an extra kid (our son Shepard) while we were in China getting Remi. : - )
Abigail met us at the airport. Abigail had had two weeks to get over her jet lag, but Remi was a mess here. Not only that, but they both still had to deal with the life they had just lived in their foster homes. So really, the fact of seeing one another here was only a reminder of their pasts.
There is Shepard, "the other kid" we brought home on this trip. He is a really good boy.
Tonight I asked Remi how she felt about Abigail being her sister. She said, "I felt like sisters before you even told me."