Monday, March 12, 2012

As Seen Through Her Eyes part 2...

Meet Coral. She is the second born to Bryan and I. As the first biological daughter, Coral has faced many blessings and challenges that come along with adoption, especially adoption out of birth-order. Coral has had the most change of any of our biological kids as she has had to adapt to having two sisters her age come into our home. Coral is an amazing young lady and as her Mom, I am blessed to have her as a daughter and friend.

My hopes from these next few blogs are for you to be inspired and encouraged by real stories, real feelings, real struggles and real blessings about the journey of adoption. Adoption isn't some fairytale dream come true. There are ups and their are downs, however we shouldn't be surprised by any of it. The Bible tells us we will struggle. But in our obedience to Christ struggles are not the only thing we face. There are blessings beyond the hardships and a peace beyond the storms. The story you will read below are Corals thoughts about adoption. I hope you are blessed.

“What do you guys think of adoption?” I remember my dad’s question just hanging in the air. My family was an average sized family. It consisted of 2 boys and 2 girls. I was the oldest girl, the second oldest out of all the kids. I was 10 when my parents went on a date night to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. They returned with a small pamphlet, on the front was a little Asian girl, she had one of the biggest grins I’ve seen. My parents sat the four of us down in the living room for a “family meeting” as they like to call it. Usually family meetings are far from fun, they usually consist of new rules or explaining how we don’t need every light on in the house. But this one, this one was completely different. “What do you guys think of adoption?” Adoption? The unfamiliar word played in my mind. Sure I heard of adoption, I knew what it was, I was just a little confused on the whole process. Do we just waltz into China and take a kid? If that was the case, I loved adoption! But little did I know what I was claiming to love so much and exclaiming was an amazing idea, was a lot more work than just grabbing some kid and telling them you loved them.

The adoption process begun. The months we took raising money, filling out paper work, having home studies, and so on and so forth, seemed endless to me. As a 10 year old I didn’t fully get this process, I was completely annoyed with hearing we are waiting for the courts or getting asked questions by a strange lady about my parent’s ways of discipline. Then one morning me and my younger brother Christopher Ash decided we were going to call the adoption agency office ourselves and see if the documents of our future sibling came in. We had the phone on speaker, everyone crowded around as me and Christopher innocently asked about our sibling. Sure enough the mail just came in with a picture and paperwork for a little girl from China. My heart jumped! The same day we drove 30 minutes to the office to retrieve the documents. A huge step closer! I thought to myself. With total excitement I continuously prayed about my new little sister, Jia Bao.

More months passed, the dates were set for my parent’s trip to retrieve our little girl from China. It was 8 weeks before they were planning to leave, when my mom got a call from our adoption agency. “How do you guys feel about adopting a little girl from Russia?” asked the lady on the other end of the phone. My mom just laughed, little did she know it was a completely serious question. Natasha was a 11 year old Russian girl that was adopted by a family in America. The family decided that it was God’s will to give her to another family, a family that would love her and be her forever family. Her story completely touched my heart and right away I called her my sister and knew she would be forever a part of my family. And she was! 5 weeks before my parent’s left to China I met Natasha (now known as Cailee), we adopted her 5 days after our first meeting, the day before Easter. That day I promised her we would never abandon her and we will always love her.

This insane adventure started to begin. Cailee who is born almost exactly two months before me moved into my room. This was nothing new to me, I shared a room with my little sister Chloe until we moved into our two story house (which was about 8 years) and even then we ended up sleeping in each others beds. Cailee and me hit it off for awhile. We decided to share clothes, music, hair products, just about everything! Only after Cyilea (Formally known as Jia Boa) came home, our sharing began to shift.

(Me and my sisters and friends)

Some people think adoption is a complete walk in the park, it’s the most fantastic thing you can do and you’ll be so happy with it. It is true that it is one of the most fantastic things you can ever do and it is true that you are really blessed and happy. But there are some hardships, there are somethings that you have to fight through. As a 11 year old girl mine was fighting through sharing friends. I liked my friends, I liked having my own people. Selfishly, I didn’t want her to be apart of it. She talked to the people I talked to, she texted the people I texted, she liked the boys I liked. It was really hard for me to learn to love her through it. When I got to the age of 13 I began to pray about my heart and my selfishness. And my heart suddenly started to change. Now don’t get me wrong, there were still some times when I lost it and truthfully there still is. But God bonded us in a special way, gave me crazy love for this amazing girl from Russia.

You may think that God would be done with our family and adoption. I mean, a girl from China, a surprise Russian sister. But no, he was just getting started. I guess a family with 6 kids just wasn’t big enough for Him. Because He brought 3 more along.

Me and my mom had a dream the same night about 3 kids from Africa. My dream was helping them get home using bikes. There was 2 boys and 1 girl. Soon enough a lady sent us a video of these kids from Ethiopia that needed parents. 2 boys and 1 girl. God is amazing, huh? These kids were all siblings, the girl (Meske) was the oldest. Both of their parents died and their older siblings didn’t have the money to provide for them anymore. The littlest boy (Sami) was sent to an orphanage away from Meske and Eyob (The older boy), were he was going to be adopted by a family, away from his siblings. This sent my mom in a panic, she didn’t want them to be separated. After talking with my father and us kids, and praying, she called the lady and explained to them we will adopt all the 3 together.

Another process started. A lot of garage sales, more paper work, but this time I understood more fully what we were in for. The “Little” girl Meske wasn’t so little, outside of size that is. Meske is about 6 months older than me. Another girl older then me? I thought to myself. I hated loosing my role as the oldest female, which I seemed to keep the title even with Cailee. Why not? I thought to myself. I did it once, I can do it again. My confidence was high. The process didn’t seem as long as Cyilea’s, mostly because I’ve been through it before. And soon enough in January of 2010 I traveled with my parent’s and older brother (Cadenn) to Ethiopia. The culture shock was major. To think of my great luxuries at home compared to my 3 new sibling’s home, broke my heart.

The day I met Meske, Eyob, and Sami was the most nerve racking day, I think of my entire life. I remember arriving at the church, kids everywhere singing and clapping. And then, the 3 kids come to us with flowers. Tears streamed down my face when my new sister approached me and gave me flowers and a hug. That day we ate at an Ethiopian restaurant, were a taught Meske how to work the camera (great bonding might I add) a few days later we said our good-byes and made our way home. Me and Meske sat alone on the plane ride to America, we tried talking (even with our language barrier) and amazingly, like a couple of teen boys, bonded over a little video game. I automatically had this insane love for Meske, she had this gentle spirit, she prayed before she ate, and just was all around a great girl.

When we arrived home things began to get hard. The friendship between me and Cailee lessened as we tried to adapted to a threesome instead of a twosome. The language barrier almost seemed to become larger to me. I constantly had to explain everything to Meske. If it was what someone said, or a movie, or anything else, I was Coral Thiele the interpreter. I liked the job at first, I enjoyed explaining things and talking with Meske constantly. But soon I started to loath it, I got this horrible attitude when ever she asked a question or even wanted to talk to me. Not only was I an interpreter, but I was the peace maker between my sisters. The job was heavy, I was in tears about the whole situation multiple times. I started to always want time alone, if it was locking myself in my bathroom for an hour or hiding under my covers. I wanted to be rescued.

I remember one night, sitting in my bathroom reading the bible. I was so tired of language barriers, calming fights, and helping my sisters understand one another. In tears I began to pray. I remember calling out to the Lord, telling Him how I didn’t understand why everything was so hard. I told Him I wanted to give up. No sooner did I say those words the verse 1 Corinthians 13:13 flash through my mind. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love.. That was it, the patient, kind, unfailing thing, I needed. Adoption isn’t just saying you love them, but showing it as well. I knew I needed a heart change. And it had to start right away.

We learned to adapt to this threesome. We also learned to love it! Let me just say, Chinese food and movies are a lot better when there are three crazy girls who all have different accents. I learned a lot from these beautiful ladies, not just in the sense of Crocheting or a Russian dance move. But I learned the pain of these orphans. I’ve never been abandoned, I never had parents who couldn’t take care of me, nor have my parent’s ever died. I am completely blessed, in every way. And they really opened my eyes to that.

In all honesty, my siblings from various countries is one of the best things that has happened to be (Besides my salvation in Christ). I love sharing my room with those two amazing girls, I love going throughout my house and listening to the various accents, I love when my Chinese sister talks about China, I love when Meske shares insane stories about her home land, I love getting “Russian Hugs” from Cailee, I love when I my family all goes somewhere in the 15 passenger van, I love my life, and all my siblings, everyone of them. Sure I still have times where I struggle, and maybe even lose my mind for a moment. But if I had to do it all over again, if I went back to the day my dad asked that question for the first time. I wouldn’t change a thing. I would have the same answer, “Sure! I love adoption!”

By Coral


BumbersBumblings said...

Wow! What a story of grace and love! I hung on every word!

Kelline said...

Well said Coral, well written. This story of your life will touch another young lady's heart somewhere in this world who is facing the same thing you did, guaranteed. Why? Because God never let's a testimony go to waste!! God bless you and your beautiful mixed family!!

Callie Denny said...

Oh don't mind me...I'm just weeping over here. I LOVE YOU ALL!!

jennifer anderson said...

you sound like a very loving young lady.

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