One of the nice things about having an open adoption here in the U.S. is that Casey gets to know his birth family. He has an aunt and an uncle, a couple cousins, and a brother and sister in Ohio (by the way, Uncle Jason-- sorry about the Buckeyes!). We are so grateful for this. It means Casey will always have a strong sense of his roots-- he'll know people who can tell him all about his birthmother. And he'll have a relationship with his siblings. One of the things that initially worried me about adopting from China is that Marcie would miss out on those similar relationships. We'll never know the details of her birth, what her "first family" was like-- and we won't be able to provide her ready access to people from her infant past.
But one thing I didn't anticipate was the wonderful relationships we'd forge with other people who have children from the same orphanage. I don't know why I didn't consider this. I just didn't. But we were so lucky to meet some really cool people on our trip overseas. Emma's mom, Annette, for instance, thoughtfully sent Marcie a birthday card (and a Christmas card). We were just admiring the picture at dinner this evening, in fact (Marcie was eating Emma's picture). And our big, exciting news is that two of Marcie's "first sisters" are coming to visit in February!
I call them her "first sisters" because I think of the orphanage as her first family-- her home before she came home with us. It may not be an ideal environment for a child, but I have no doubt those nannies loved Marcie and took very good care of her. And she was very attached to them. When the nine girls in Marcie's group were referred for adoption, they were moved into their own section of Yunyang orphanage together. They lived together for a couple months before their new families could come get them. I thought this was wonderful-- it meant that when they were finally placed in our arms, in a strange environment (the Golden Resources Hotel in Chongqing), they would at least have the comfort of each other while they got to know these strange American faces. I really believed this was a tremendous comfort to Marcie-- because the last day we were in Guanzhou-- the day we were the only remaining family from our travel group, Marcie was definitely different. I think she missed all her little sisters from the orphanage.
So when one of the families let us know they'd be in San Diego for work, of course we wanted to visit with them! And then when another said they thought it might be nice to get out of the Colorado snow for some sunshine (though I make no promises about the sun) for a February weekend, we told them to come on over! And they are! They're all coming the same weekend! I can hardly wait to see how big Ava and Cassidy have grown. And I'm looking forward to meeting Ava's older and younger brother's too.
They tell me they've booked their flights-- which means it's really happening! Our house will be loud and chaotic and nutty and maybe a bit cramped. But, boy won't it be fun!?! I can hardly wait!