• Hi! My name is Jasmine!

    Date: 2013.06.29 | Category: Jasmine (Shuang Shuang) | Tags:

    Jasmine went to Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week and had a wonderful time.  I worried about her going because she doesn’t know a ton of conversational English yet, but Jasmine loves music and VBS has a tons of singing and dancing.  I wondered if she would feel out of place in the 1st to 3rd grade class with Gracie, but I wanted her to be with someone she knew.   Hope, who is also 14, is a helper this year because she is too old to attend VBS.  I wanted Jasmine to be able to enjoy VBS, even though she was technically too old to go.  I thought it was an important right of passage for her first summer in America.  Our church is very small and very accommodating, so Pastor agreed to let her be in Gracie’s class.

    All week long people would come up to her and say, “Hi, my name is ______ and Shuang Shuang would respond, “Hi! My name is Jasmine.”  She always has that big old smile plastered across her face and everyone falls in love with her and her sweet, gentle spirit. I have been asked over and over again if she always smiles and I have to admit most of the time Jasmine is smiling.  I told her that she could use the name Shuang and she said, “Mama, I like Jasmine.  It is pretty!”  I told her that is why we picked it because it means beautiful flower and she is just so pretty.  (Which got me another one of those 100 watt smiles.)

    vbs box

    She went all week with Grace, Hope and Cassie (who is 21 and is the music director).  They sang, laughed, danced, did crafts and had a wonderful time.  We took the bus a couple of times and that in itself is a grand adventure!


    The gentlemen who runs the rec part of VBS is an older, retired gentlemen, named Tom, who is just as sweet as can be.  One of my favorite moments of VBS happened during rec time.  They had mowed a giant square with a little “X” in the middle for base.  All of the children were set to play tag.  Cassie took Jasmine to the side so she could watch, but Tom grabbed her wheelchair and said “No way, we get to play too!” and proceeded to wheel her all over the place while she giggled and giggled.  I love that our church has been so wonderful about opening their hearts to our children and including them.


    One night after she came home and told me all about her fun, I started thinking about how different her life is now.  Thinking about where she would be if we hadn’t gone and got her.  When we first asked about what happened to children who turned 14, we were told that she would have been put out on the street.  After having met Jasmine, we knew that couldn’t have been possible.  She isn’t able to sit up by herself, roll herself over, or even dress herself.  If she falls over, she is not able to move.   There is no way she could have lived on her own.  We later learned from a reliable source  –  “I believe she (Shuang) definitely would have ended up in an adult institution –and they are just heartbreaking.  I have only been to two on my trips – and the conditions just haunt me.”

    That is heartbreaking.  Heartbreaking because she really is the most beautiful soul. How she has managed to keep this beautiful soul intact after all she’s been through just amazes me.  Imagine what your personality would be like after having been abandoned right before your 8th birthday.  She must have been loved and then as she started to lose her mobility, they decided to abandon her.  I look at little Gracie, who is also 8, and I can’t imagine what that would take and I can’t imagine what that would do to her heart.  I can’t even wrap my head around it.  Not only that but Jasmine has some really, really nasty scars.  She has what looks like burn marks about the size of 50 cent pieces on her legs.  She has one that goes from ear to ear under her chin, possibly from a nasty fall.  Plus, a few others.  I know what her leg ones look like and I pray that they truly weren’t intentional burns, but the reality is they are too perfectly shaped to be a splatter burn and they are too deep to be a small burn.

    But through all of that and six years in an orphanage, this little soul didn’t lose her sweetness.  What a blessing it is to be her mother.  I hate, absolutely detest, that it took us so long to find her.  Love Without Boundaries had advocated for her for years.  There were other sweet families that wanted to adopt her and weren’t able to, through no fault of their own.  She has been loved.  She has been prayed for, by so many, for so many years.  I can’t wait to tell her those things.  I can’t wait until I can be sure that Google Translate is saying it right.  She has always been loved.  Her sweet spirit has shined through for so many years.  Dan and I believe that she was a blessing as a big sister to the others in the orphanage and we find some comfort in the fact that there was a purpose to her being there.  We got some very sweet pictures and videos from her time in the orphanage from Love Without Boundaries.  She was showing the other kids crafts and she is just so patient with them.   She is so wonderful with the “littles” in our house.   She is so kind and gentle.  She takes them on her wheelchair.  She reads them books and sings with them.  She feeds them and is just so patient with them.

    I can’t adequately give words to just how overwhelming it is to think of what her life might have been and what it currently is.  Not because I want to toot my own horn about “saving” her.  It’s not that at all.  Truth be told, we never intended to adopt an older child.  We never even opened our hearts to the idea until her picture appeared before us through LWB and our hearts were forever hers.  It’s just the miraculous ability of God to make families.  God did not leave her in the orphanage – man did. I believe that God did not intend to bring her harm.  But in the end, all the bad that happened, has turned to good.  She has impacted so many people.  She has changed my life for the better and the rest of our family too.   She is such a blessing.  Such a joy.  Yes, there will be many sad days in the future with her diagnosis, but the good news is we will all be by her side.  She will not be alone through any more of her suffering.  She will never, ever be alone again.  She has a family.

    Jasmine is happy.  Jasmine is loved.  Jasmine is funny.  Jasmine is patience.  Jasmine is LOVE!  Jasmine is silly. Jasmine is joy!  Jasmine has brightened all of our lives. What has happened in her life, may not make any sense in our minds, but I for one am happy that I get to be blessed with being her mother, no matter how that came to be and no matter how many years we may be granted.

    If God has placed an older child upon your heart, don’t automatically rule it out.  We had heard horror stories of what it meant to adopt an older child.  For that reason, we had decided long ago that it wouldn’t be a good fit for our family.  Yes, her diagnosis was worse than we had expected, but Jasmine is so much more than we could have ever imagined.  Get all the information that you can, pray and then proceed.  My prayer is more and more older children will find homes.  My heart just breaks for those that don’t.  May God guide you and bless you and may your heart be opened to all that could be.