a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Red Thread.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.

 --An ancient Chinese Proverb

This coming April it will be 9 years since we adopted my little sister, Gracie, from China. About 99% of the time, I forget she's actually adopted and the beautiful story that goes behind it. One night when I was home this past weekend though I was up late and suddenly got an urge to look at our big box filled with everything to do with her adoption. I spent time looking through all of it and reliving those precious moments and it just had me in tears to see this incredible little girl who I love so deeply, how much such has grown up and changed. I wanted to just share with you all bits and pieces of her adoption story because it truly means a lot to me.

My little sister was given the name Han Wei Le in China by the doctor. Han being her last name, and Wei Le being her first. They called he 'Le-Le' for short, meaning happy-happy; I couldn't see anything more fitting. She was found at a police gate at what they believe to be two days old. They estimated her birthday to October 13th 2003; we will never know if this is the exact day or not. 

My parents filled out paper work and waited for three years until we were able to travel to China for two weeks. We didn't get to choose her, but she was randomly (fate in my opinion) chosen for us. We traveled when I was ten and a half and Gracie was just 18 months old. She had stayed in an orphanage for a short period of time, and the rest of her life she had a foster mother, which was very rare.

The day we first saw her I will never forget. She wore every single piece of clothing in the above pictures all at once. It wasn't cold in China, but Chinese people are very fearful of babies getting colds, and these were also the only clothes she had. The butt and crotch of all the pants were cut out because in China the children merely squat down on the ground and go to the bathroom. She screamed and cried when my mother and I tried to hold her at first, and for most of the trip she wouldn't let us hold her. She only liked men; we were never quite sure why this was (but obviously she eventually grew out of it). I will never forget the sadness in her eyes the day we first met her--those eyes still haunt me to this day.

She came with two toys; a guitar rattle and a blue telephone. The other was bought by us at a hotel. She came clutching the telephone when we first got her and wouldn't let it go all of the trip. If we tried to take it from her, she would cry. It played music when you pushed the buttons and talked in Chinese; she played it over and over and over again until everyone was sick of hearing it. But it comforted her and although the toy's batteries are dead now, I can still remember every song it played.

We spent two weeks in China exploring and getting to know our new little family member. A few months prior we had just been given two pictures of her and a typed report on her. We waited three years just for those things. Her report had said she was active, outgoing, and happy; ironically everything I would use to describe her today. It's funny, because as I read through the report a few nights ago...everything clicked.  Even as a baby Gracie was Gracie. She still has the same mannerisms, same way to express her emotions as she did when she was a baby. It made me angry to read the document though because I missed out on a year and a half of her life. I wish I could have been there, seen her and taken care of her as a baby.

My mother had a blast buying clothing for my little sister in China. These shoes are called 'squeaky shoes' and are popular among babies in China. They have little squeakers in them so when a child walks, they squeak along.

Right before we left to come back to the United States, all the adoptive families were given these real Barbie dolls by Mattel. They're special Chinese Adoptions ones, with Barbie holding a little Chinese baby.

My mother wanted to bring home special gifts for Gracie so that as she grew up, she would always remember her Chinese heritage. We bought her traditional Chinese dresses in varying sizes for her to wear as she got older...She's so tiny though that she's probably only been through 3 or 4 of the dresses even though she's ten and a half. That girl is tiny! 

As an older sister, no words will ever be able to explain the love I have for her. It's overwhelming, such a pure, self-less love. What I assume the love of a parent to feel like. To realize you would do anything for another person because you just love them so much...is incredible and something I never really felt before she entered my life. I believe in fate, and I believe in miracles. And I certainly believe my little sister is and will be the best one to ever happen to me.

With much love, Lauren.


Lauren | Chic Éthique said...

Precious! It's a dream of mine to adopt one day, and stories of adoption always make me tear up. Thanks for sharing. :)

Unknown said...

Such a wonderful combination of prose and photos. So happy to hear how your lives came together so beautifully and also a powerful nudge to remember all the others still needing loving families like yours, in every corner of the world. This is the sort of strong writing that has the potential to move people's hearts to helping. A greater gift you could never give your sister.

Kezzie said...

I love your account of Gracie coming to you. She's such a sweetie! Can I ask, what made your family first think to adopt from China? How difficult was it to? You mention the 3years but I just wondered what you had to do during that in time for it to happen? Adoption in the UK is incredibly hard and takes a very long time and ALL sorts of hoops have to be jumped through.

I've missed being able to comment. Seriously, please tell me, did I offend you, I've been worrying over it! X

Emmy said...

I'm glad you turned the commenting back on. It seemed like your outfits just kept getting better and I was dying to comment!

This is so sweet. It's great that Gracie has a family of her own, and that you have her. :)

Mary said...

Such a beautiful story about sisterhood, Lauren! I just had to comment-- I LOVE that proverb you quoted at the beginning!

SB said...

I found this so interesting I was never sure about international adoption mainly as the only times I heard about it was in negative news stories, I had never experienced it personally if you know what I mean. I am aware I still haven't really experienced it personally but hearing about Gracies adoption and the love your family has for her I find so comforting and reassuring. Thank you for helping to educate me and re-think my original views.

The little facts like how they wrap their children up to keep out the cold and cut out the crotch of trousers I found really interesting.

PS yay for the comments :)

Camille said...

You and your sister's story is so amazingly beautiful! I'm so happy that you too found each other. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my sister.

Also, I'm glad to see that the comments are back!


Kezzie said...

Actually I quite liked the dorm background, it was suitably nautical but your still got comments off so I couldn't answer your question in there. Hope you are well.

Rachel said...

Oh wow. What a story. Even at this point, if my parents decided to adopt, I'd be so happy to gain another sibling. She sounds like a treasure to you.

Anonymous said...

Blessed you nd ur sister.. xoxoxx love u both .u never fail to amuse me with such beautiful writings. I really think ull be a Editor at some great MAG.. dear, laur I think u should let people comment on ur posts now cuz u have more wonderful followers who support u more then any of doz haters!!! BtW u look great in your new post; red is AwsoME!! .thanks to u, finding dis new obession wid Mac's Lady - Danger lipstick lolz saving pennys wonder how I'll look??? !!!! Totally freakd:/!!! #love #love #write me soon: ) :) :) :-* :-* gracie is d most happy child ieva have seen; cutest sister....
Byebye gal! -- Ella.D

Kay said...

Thank you for sharing this, Lauren. Wiping away tears. As an adoptee, it's beautiful to read this. I always thought your sister was a lucky little lady to have you, and that sure is true. Posts like this really exemplify what a talent you have. Keep it up, woman, the world needs to see you flourish.

Dus of Cuddly Cacti said...

what a beautiful post! It's rare to see such an emotional, heartfelt post on style blogs, and i absolutely loved hearing this. how sweet your mom bought her the dresses in so many different sizes and i loved how hearing the different things you remembered as a little 10 year old.

Unknown said...

Beautiful remembrance! I have friends that adopted there Emily from China - this is like reading about another chapter of such a story ...

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