Poppy: day 6

Poppy continues to struggle.

And, here on day 6, I found myself struggling as well.

I know it’s only been 5 days.

I know this too shall pass.

And yet, I struggle.

So grateful for Zach being here. He’s been a rock.

And a most welcome comic relief.

Because it’s so very hard to see all Poppy is going through.

To feel less like a mother and more like a bystander – unable to help her through her grief.

Today we ended up skipping the shopping and the Starbucks and came back to the hotel after the medical exam

Although that didn’t seem to make things better.

Poppy cried, fell asleep on my chest, and woke up crying.

But tomorrow?

Is a new day.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24



  1. Awww poor little thing <3 Hope things get better throughout the day!

    In our sea of love

    • You’ll be home soon and that will make a difference for both of you. She will have sisters that look like her. You will have your family to strengthen you.


  2. Poor Poppy I can’t even imagine to begin what she is going through. I’m praying for the best for all of you!

  3. Keep singing that old song or just repeat the words “trust and never doubt Jesus will surely bring you out He’s never failed me yet!”

  4. Oh, I hope you can feel the prayers! I think it was around Day 5 I just broke down and cried as well…a good, long cry. Then I picked up and kept on. But it is HARD. It makes everytime she calls me mommy now so much more precious, a miracle to us. As I was thinking about you all for the hundreth time yesterday I remembered how I would just carry those little oranges around everywhere we went, break them into little peices and continually offer them, sometimes to be eaten until that became something she would eat while in China and sort of became our little food we shared…without any eye contact. To do it again, I would do just what you are doing and not push doing all the outings. Even with crying it is probably better for that to be between you three for now. Just thoughts…”His mercies are new every morning…”

  5. That blessed little child…how my heart breaks for all of you!

    Trust in the Lord and tomorrow will be a better day.

    Still praying …

  6. Hang in there, Mama, and you are her mama! You were Chosen for her and she for you. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know–just saying it out loud one more time. We are praying for all of you!

  7. Poor Poppy. Poor Mama.

    Prayers for each day to be better than the last.

  8. My heart aches for you both……… It is so hard to be the bystander, but right now, you are doing all you can for your sweet baby girl. Lots of prayers being said for your family…..and I hope each day will bring a little change for the better.



  9. oh sweet baby…and precious mama…praying, praying, praying for you.

  10. Stefanie-my heart breaks for you and Poppy! Praying for you both as she grieves and as you support her through that process. I’m sure she is already feeling your love and that is what is helping her feel safe enough to grieve. Lots and lots of prayers are going up for you guys!

  11. oh stefanie,
    i so know! it’s so hard.
    i am in tears remembering
    i can’t wait to watch her change occur.
    step by step
    how blessed to come home and see her sibs beautiful little chinese faces.
    what an encouragement you can be to a whole new group of moms and dads that will experience this same thing
    press on! press on.
    asking for grace, mercy, strength, peace.
    looking forward to each and every update.
    James – the whole book!

  12. I hope today brings a break through. It is so hard when a child is grieving and we are just there waiting and watching, wanting to help, but can’t. Praying for a new day with hope and some happiness!!!

    Holly Arnold:)

  13. Kirsten says:

    Stephanie, Been there, done that…hang in there! It took our Liberty days to smile, or cry, and then she had to go through the whole thing again once she got home and was inundated with more new faces. Your Poppy will eventually move through this and trust you. I know you know that, but you start to get a little crazy feeling when you’re so far from home and your normal support system. Lean hard on the Lord! 1 Pet. 5:7
    Praying you feel His presence in a very real way today! And that you get a smile from that precious girlie!
    BTW, Poppy is gorgeous!

  14. Praying!

  15. I can see subtle signs of the beginnings of her relaxing in her face. Not quite so stressed or tense!

    Hang in there! You’ll be home soon!

  16. Stef, I agree with so many of those comments already – I see her body language changing, I see her orphanhood fading, I see her hope rethreading…sweet, sweet girl…her heart is being broken in order to be reset correctly. Good Mama for sitting by her hospital bed while she recovers. Love to you 3, Way Over There. *Praying*

  17. Stefanie,

    I know I don’t comment often, but I wanted to let you know that all of you are in my prayers. You’re in an emotionally draining stage right now, but the Lord will continue to lift you up and His grace WILL be sufficient. Even if that’s the only thing carrying you and Poppy onto the next minute. :)


  18. LorisaSmith says:

    Praying here daily for you.

    I know it’s rare for it to happen, Stefanie, is there any chance of taking Poppy for a visit at
    her orphanage? On our 3rd adoption, our 2 year old daughter also grieved a lot. We visited her orphanage 3 days after she was placed in our arms (arranged by our guide). When our 2 yr old got there, she was thrilled. She ran around and chatted and ate. We spent almost 2 hours there. It was sobbing and heartbreaking to leave. But I am so thankful she got to see that the people who had cared for her were still alive and well. I do believe it helped with building trust and feeling more secure. I’ve read that an older child struggles with “why should I trust you” since what I knew in my past has gone away forever. When our little one was at the orphanage for the last time, we took a million pictures of her and the nannies with us in the pics too. We got the pictures developed the next day and put them in a book that day. She carried that around the rest of our trip. She was constantly pointing out nannies and kids, herself, and us too. It was a link to her past that helped her trust us.

    praying for you!

  19. Things will get better at home! Kids can bring other kids out of their shell like no one else. And of course, you’ll be HOME, surrounded by family and familiarity and it just makes everything so, so much easier. It’s still a lot to process for the little one because it doesn’t feel like home to them yet, but it will soon. Living out of a hotel is not easy in any situation, but it’s so hard to have that in addition to everything else going on with an adoption. Hang in there. There have GOT to be smiles in there!

  20. Praying my friend. Still praying. The kids keep asking me how she is doing, and I keep telling them to keep praying, too. Many hugs are being “winged your way” – May the God of all Hope and Peace shower you all with His comfort and mercy.

  21. Keep meditating on that verse Stephanie. The Lord is good and He will nourish your soul.

    Praying for your sweet Poppy.

  22. Praying, praying and praying. Love and hugs to you all – and Zach, you are there for such a time and purpose as this!! You are a blessing to your mom and Poppy, keep up the great work!!!!

  23. Poor baby – prayers for you and her. Mscreamed so much the first two days that the officials at the Dept. of Justice asked if we did not want a different child? We have a VERY special adoption photo – I had finally calmed her down and she didn’t start crying immediately on seeing the camera, but as soon as the guy tried to make her smile it was all over. It was a long hard road, but it still got better and now she is able to express her grief in words and understand that what happened, though tragic, was necessary to allow her to have a full life with a family. Each day will get better, maybe ups and downs, but its still the right thing to do for this precious child. She is so pretty – when she finally smiles, it will be something. Also, remember that she was not smiling in her referral photos either. It may be a long sadness that will take more time to heal that it does with others.

  24. Poor Poppy :( My heart aches over how much she is grieving. I just have to tell you, and I know you know this, it is the healthiest thing she can be doing right now. She will be so well adjusted when she comes around. When we got Paige, she cried all day, everyday, for 14 days straight. We called home and were seeking advice and reassurance from others, but we weren’t listening to God. He kept telling us to be patient. Why is it that He is the one voice we sometimes can’t hear the clearest? I am praying for Poppy, for you and Zach, and for your sweet family at home. She will come around and when she does, her little heart will be ready and hopefully healed and can embrace her new family. Praying!

  25. PS. M did not play with anything much – threw a ball directly at me on adoption day – does that count? Once she was home a week or so, she did play with food toys.

  26. Saying prayers for both of you! It is so hard to see your little one having so much grief. And being away from all your supports- thank goodness you have Zach!

    You are doing a great job! Keep trusting HIM- this will pass!


  27. Lynn Kiefer says:

    I know you know this but sometimes we need reminding…This is a very healthy, natural response and you both will get through it. Patience and love are all she needs right now. She is grieving her losses, and will be celebrating her gains soon enough. Little girls are so resilient, as you know. Some grieve over time, she’s getting hers over with all at once, I’m guessing, so she can move on. Keeping you both in my prayers. You are a strong, amazing woman…let Zach be your rock…it’s good for him too.

  28. :( Sweet Poppy! I’ve been thinking about you guys and reading your other adoption stories. My heart breaks for both of you but I know that everything worth while is hard to achieve, just the way it is. Honestly I think if she wasn’t grieving that would be MORE worrisome! “Growth requires a temporary surrender of security” Words to live by!

    Saying my prayers for “y’all” :)

  29. Awww…I am so sorry to hear that she is still struggling. Such a sweet girl. I know how hard this must be for you. I will continue to keep you both in my prayers. So happy you have Zach there to help you through all of this. I just received some updates on our little one to find out that she too is very serious and frightened of strangers, so I’m taking all of this in and may be emailing you when I’m in China for some help. Such a hard thing, but we know it is for a greater purpose and that God is working this together for His good. Great is His faithfulness! Love and blessings!

  30. Don’t be hard on yourself.It’s so very hard no to wiggle our noses or wave a magic wand to fastforward to a comfort zone. It’s all part of the process that not only rocked Poppy’s world but you & Zach as well. You’re getting closer to THAT day. Big hugs and prayers for y’all.

  31. Having been the ‘dad’ on all of our adoptions – I very much understand the feeling of being the ‘bystander’ – it’s really hard to feel like you are just ‘watching’ – but she will turn the corner – just keep praying and loving – and letting her sleep in your chest for the closeness – it will come!

    hugs – aus and co.

  32. Thank you for being so honest… after about day 3 I’m sure it’s not easy to still see that sad (but beautiful!!) face still grieving. I remember our 2nd time to China it was a rough go for our little mister and the bonding. I had so looked forward to the fun posts, fun pics, and celebration of becoming a family. We did get there, but some of the early posts were a bit of a stretch. Just know you are covered in prayer and you are most definitely not alone. YOU are drawing near to the Lord, so He WILL draw near to you. Praying for renewed energy and fresh starts for each of you. You are a blessing!

  33. We had the same kind of “bonding” time with our daughter in China- she was velcro baby in the extreme- screamed and cried whenever we put her down. Somewhere around day 8 she turned a corner and began to show her true, sunny personality. We spent a lot of time in our room just holding our little girl and letting her adjust to us. Please know we are praying for you and for Poppy and this, too, SHALL pass. Lean not on your own understanding.. God is holding you in the midst of all the pain and frustration and He will fill you up in your emptiest moments. Blessings!

  34. She is such a sweetie pie and Zach, has the bluest eyes…makes me think of what my now 4 year old might look like in about 10 years or so

  35. Oh Stefanie, such shell shocked little eyes on your precious Poppy, but I see her body language in your photographs relaxing into her mama. I wonder if she is just scared that the best thing that ever happened to her, that being you, will disappear too? I imagine she loves you so much already but is so fearful that this will change too? Once she trusts that you will be there always she will let the fear go? Time and patience, never easy is it? but oh so worth it! Praying each day dawns brighter for you both! Happy to hear your Zach can be your rock and comic relief, way to go big Brother!

  36. It’s heart-wrenching to view from just a few photos posted from across the world; it’s must really be difficult to be there, in it, with her. But, In that first photo, taken in the same location as the photos taken on previous days, I definitely see more light in her face, a more open expression, and more curious (and less frightened) eyes. Hang in! You’re the best! It’s going to get easier. I know that is so much easier said than done, but this is all work she needs to do….and as heart- breaking as it is, she’s working through it and it takes a lot of time. You are doing a fabulous job and she is fortunate to have such a patient, experienced, thoughtful, loving mom. The emotions over her losses and struggles and emotions of your very own transition are nearly impossible to truly prepare for in advance. It’s a work in progress and it will get easier, even if it some days things feel like they are moving forward in baby steps. Thinking of you!

  37. Chrissie says:

    Sending prayers…hang in there :-)

  38. This must be SO diffucult for you…but, the difference in the pictures says SO much…we have followed you from your first day, and you can see how she was struggling with every fiber in her little being to not come in contact with you, but today’s picture she is actually holding you and looking, finally, at the camera, such better body language and eye contact. I know this must still be so hard, but you are making progress!!!!!! Hang in there, we are all rooting for you and your sweet sad child.

  39. Shelley says:

    Stefanie~You are doing such a great job! Hang in there. God’s plan is perfect. He created Poppy to be your child and He will show you exactly what she needs. Know you are being prayed for in Virginia!

  40. Melissa B says:

    Ugh! This time is so, so hard. (And living out of a hotel room in a foreign country doesn’t help, either!) Praying that He guides you as you learn to parent this little one. And lifts YOUR spirits, too.

    It gets better. It really does!!!

  41. I have tears in my eyes for you and Poppy. I will pray for her as she grieves and for you to know how to love her. She is so precious. So thankful His mercies are new every morning.

  42. This may be a silly comparison, and I don’t mean to compare my feelings to the heartbreak a little child goes through when they have been abandoned, orphaned, and then adopted, but it came to my mind when I was reading your post. I am intense and love deeply. When I went 14 hours away to college, (and I was 19!), I was so homesick that I could not eat anything for two weeks! I cried all the time!

    I know you must be tired, and it is most definitely heartbreaking watching her grieve, even from afar, but I’m thinking perhaps five days is not that long when it took me two weeks to stop feeling sick inside.

    We are all praying for all of you, and truth be told, crying with you too.

    May God keep you in His tender care.


  43. i’m crying for you, girl. remembering all of her referral photos…unsmiling…this little precious must have a deep, deep wound in her heart. i can;t imagine the difficulty of what you are going through, stef, but i praise God that, through your parenting, poppy will come to know the only One who can truly heal her wounded heart.

    as for you, my friend…ah, just like our good God to take us to new places of dependency on Him…to deeper intimacy…to places where all we can do is cling to His promises. may you come to an even deeper understanding of your Father’s love for YOU during this difficult time.

    tell zach he rocks!

  44. ps…i want to see those chinese jeans! pictures!! have zach do a fashion shoot!

  45. Oh my goodness… Hang on sweet friend!!! I know it is such a hard road to walk, but it will get better, and you are doing all of the right things. I know that you already know it is good for Poppy to cry and grieve,and that it is just so very hard to watch, and to feel so helpless. To think of her going to sleep crying and waking up crying again is heart breaking :( Just keep on holding her and loving her, and We’ll keep praying for you both and slowly it will change. Honestly, As I look at the photos of your sweet Poppy, I can already begin to see a change in her countenance. I think it is just harder to notice sometimes when you are in China right in the middle of it all.
    Take care!

  46. Praying for you all! I know its hard but you’ll be back.home soon and have lots of love and support. In the mean time we will pray and love on you the very best we can!

  47. She is looking less and less scared each day. I know this must be very hard but keep in there.. things will get better and she’ll give you that smile!

  48. Your poor, sweet girl… Still praying for you guys.

  49. Campbell says:

    Saying prayers of comfort for Poppy and for you all. She will open up to your love, she just needs some time. She’ll come through this and you will too!! God Bless!!!

  50. Praying for all of you.

  51. Oh Stefanie…..I am SO with you.

    I was there…..exact same place
    In the back of the beautiful Garden Hotel…..

    My sweet girl would not even look at me for days….
    I fed her in my lap …. facing outward!!!!

    It did not matter that The Garden Hotel was probably the nicest hotel I had ever stayed in.
    With the biggest breakfast bar I had ever seen.

    I could not enjoy it all until she came around.

    She FINALLY did.

    Hang in there.

    Zach tell lots of jokes!

    It just broke my heart to see her in pain.

  52. I haven’t commented until now this trip because I was really hoping that one day ya’ll would just wake up and it would be a sunshiney happy day. That was NOT my experience on our most recent adoption trip to China for Elaina. We DID get some smiles and even some giggles but they were FEW and far between. She grieved hard. AT 2.5 years old she was still a baby but yet not. She wasn’t old enough to understand what was happening or why but old enough to really be upset and understand that something bad (in her world) happened and she did not like it ONE little bit! There wasn’t a SINGLE day that passed in China without grieving or crying. She never slept well, in fact it took 6 MONTHS home before she started sleeping through the night. I know you know well that each child is different and responds differently but it can sure be challenging when you’ve been so many times and never experienced one of your children struggling in this way, so obviously after this long.
    Hang in there! So glad you have your oldest son with you :) Mine would also be a comic relief, so I can imagine! I have often wondered if I would have taken Josiah to China with me (and hubby) if it would have distracted Elaina enough that she wouldn’t have grieved as hard for as long, but it would have been SO hard on him to see her like that. It was pretty hard on this Mama’s heart too. I actually blogged about that recently. Anyway, hold fast. You are being prayed over by many!

  53. Praying for Poppy and your family… it will get better.

  54. Karen Boyer says:

    I have followed your blog as Jennifer Klimchak is a dear college friend of mine. I have 3 bio kids and 1 from China.
    I am reminded that statistically the 5th day post partum is the toughest for moms of newborns. It made me think of your current post-adoption time period. It will get better and she will respond! Just like those screaming newborns do, this little one will get used to you and will come around.
    Praying for you!

  55. Nicole A. says:

    Poor sweet Poppy ~ of course, she will come around. But it must be so hard to see her struggle and to feel like you aren’t offering her enough comfort. You’re doing such a great job ~ hang in there! Praying that one of these mornings, you will all wake up and she will be much more content and comfortable, and you will begin to see that sparkle, that joy that you know is in her!

    Praying for you all, for baby steps in the right direction. So happy that you did not travel alone!

    All the best,
    Nicole A., now in LA

  56. Oh Stefanie, I know it is hard to see BUT you are helping her through her grief…….just the way she needs you to. She is in your arms most of the time because she feels safe with you….this is HUGE! Praying today is a better day and you all have a wonderful peacful and blessed day. When she sees her sibs at home the big thing will be when she sees how much your little ones love her momma, her trust will grow even stronger! Hang in there, your faith will carry you through! Prayers, prayers and many more prayers coming your way!

  57. Praying you through this tough time.

    Hugs from Indiana,
    janet, kevin, ted, philip, elijah, and soon to be home sophia yilin

  58. Praying for you both.

  59. chinazhoumom says:

    Thank you for sharing this window into your poppy world…so often people only show happy happy joy joy pics – and there are times that some kidddos take a little longer to warm up. You are doing a great job and holding her close is the best thing. I carried my daughter in a hip hammock the whole time 14 mths old (thank goodness it was December and chilly in Gzhou…) anyway, this too shall pass…just keep swimming!
    Carol in FL

  60. “He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:11

    I will be lifting up your little precious girl tonight… Praying for the walls she has up to come tumbling down soon!
    She is soooooo incredibly beautiful. I love her sweet passport photo!

    By the way excellent “Wild Olive” color matching all week!!! You too look beautiful sweet Mama!

    Hugs from MN!!

  61. Maureen says:

    You’re doing great….just keep doing what you feel she needs, even if it’s just sitting and holding her. She will begin to trust in time because you are trustworthy. Hang in there! We’re praying for you in Chicago. :)

  62. My heart breaks for her. Yes, it will pass. It won’t be long and she will be smiling and running around your house with all her siblings.

  63. I was wondering how the medical would go. The two of my kids who are scared of strangers hated anything like that, and that was without the massive changes Poppy is experiencing! I hope things are better now.

  64. I’m in tears reading all of your past days here. It’s so heart breaking knowing that her little heart hurts so much. She is the sweetest little thing…absolutely stunning.

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