Monday, February 18, 2013

My Story Monday: The Cole Family

We began our journey to Zoe with AAC about 12 months ago.  But our adoption journey started long before that.  While my husband Robert and I were dating 12 years ago we sat down at a restaurant and chatted about our future hopes of what our family would look like someday.  We both expressed the desire to have children biologically and through adoption.  As the years went by in our marriage we were blessed with 2 beautiful boys that are now 10 and 8 years old. 
About three years ago The Lord put adoption strongly on both of our hearts.  Through much prayer and tons of research we both felt lead to adopt from China.  We came to realize there was a lot involved in adopting a child from China and it was going to be very expensive.  We had no clue where the funds were going to come from but we knew The Lord called us to adopt, so we knew that He would provide us all we needed.  After our application to adopt from China was approved by AAC we sent out fundraising letters to family and friends and we were so blessed and blown away by the support we received! We knew we wanted to adopt a girl as Robert and I have both always wanted a daughter and the boys wanted a sister.  The next big decision was to research and decide what special needs we thought we could handle.  On the special needs checklist AAC provided to us, we circled many we were willing to consider. 
On July 17, 2012 at 6pm we got out referral call.  As soon as we saw Zoe's picture I started bawling.  Robert and I both knew she was our daughter.  Zoe was born on Jan. 2, 2011 with a heart defect and had open heart surgery at 7 months old.  We were told she hadn't had any complications since surgery and was doing well. 
We left for our trip to China on January 4, 2013.  Our trip was good but challenging and exhausting at times. My mom accompanied me as my husband Robert stayed behind to work and care for our boys. 

 On January 7, 2012 was gotcha day.  As the nannies arrived at the Galactic Peace hotel, Zoe walked into the lobby dressed in a pink outfit with Garfield snow boots.  Her skin was so dry it was scabbed over and she had a horrible cold.  I was so thankful for the honey elixir cold medicine and lotion I had brought for her!  Her cold and dry skin was due to the fact that there was no heat in the foster home she was in.  As I took her upstairs to our room to bathe her and change her she just stared at me.  I'm sure she was so confused but I think she knew she was safe with me as we started bonding day one.  Although she wouldn't let me feed her a bottle during that first hectic day, by 7 pm that night she took a bottle from me! 
My favorite time with Zoe was in Guangzhou as her personality really started to shine through!  She's such a ham and total Girly girl.  She would dance in the hotel room when we would put music on, sing in Chinese, loved her baths, loved to eat and pack any sort of bag with all her toys.  She would wave bye-bye and say "bye" to all the hotel staff and she loved going up and down the escalators with mommy at the Garden Hotel.  This hotel was my favorite.  We could actually walk to shops and restaurants around the hotel!  Lily was our guide in Guangzhou and she was lovely and so helpful to us.
Today Zoe has been with us for almost a month and she is 25 months old.  We have faced some challenges coming home with Zoe learning to sleep on her own and what the word No means but we are making progress and she is sleeping through the nights most nights now.  She is learning what it means to be part of a family, to wait her turn for things as now there are 5 of us. As I look at her today while she's currently packing her Hello Kitty Backpack that her daddy got her, it's so amazing to me that God gave us the perfect child for our family.  Her brothers adore her as she does them.  She loves to go places and see all sorts of new things.  Adoption has been the biggest blessing in our lives and Zoe has filled our hearts with love and joy.  While the journey of adoption seemed long and tiring before bringing Zoe home, I now look at her and see the miracle she is and all that exhausting stuff fades away.
Children are a precious gift from God as they belong to him first before he places them in our care and I'm so blessed that God picked me to be Zoe's Mommy forever!

Alisa Cole

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