Story of Shayla Yu PingKelly | November 13, 2009
In August of 2007, one of my greatest fears had come true. My mom was very ill and would only live for a few months. I made the decision to take FMLA leave from my job so that I could be with my mom every single day from morning till the late evening. I am an only child and I wanted to spend every single moment with her that I could. I wanted to be there so that I could advocate for her with various doctors and other personnel. This was now my job.
On September 12, as I sat in my mother’s hospital room I got a call from Lindsay at Great Wall. She said that she had a Waiting Child’s file and would like to know if I was interested in hearing more. I told Lindsay that I absolutely wanted to hear everything she had to say. She proceeded to tell me that there was a little girl from Shanxi Province. She was a little over two years old and had a repaired Cleft Palate. I was so excited.
Lindsay said she would email me the information and we got off the phone. I turned to my mom and said to her “I think that may have been the call we have been waiting for, but I am not sure.” Whenever I have seen videos of people getting “The Call,” they are at home in front of the computer or sitting at a table with their family. They are not sitting in a hospital room! I proceeded to tell my mom the details, but she was so uncomfortable, I am not sure it truly registered. I called my husband to tell him the news and we both agreed that waiting until we got home to see the file was going to be difficult.
Once home, I raced to the computer while my husband started dinner. I opened up the first picture and squealed with delight. I told my husband to drop everything and come and see what I was looking at. My heart literally soared up to the sky. She was beautiful. The picture had to be of her under the age of one and now she was over two, but you could tell she was a beautiful child. I proceeded to read over everything and then I immediately uploaded everything to a adoption medical site so that I could make sure she was healthy. She had a repaired Cleft Palate, but she also had something called Mild Chonechondrosternon. That concerned me. My understanding was that it had to do with the chest possibly caving in towards her heart. I wanted to make sure her lungs and heart were not in any danger.
The next day, the medical center called me to tell me that they thought she was just perfect. I remember vividly that they called me while I was driving. I pulled over to the side of the road, just to make sure I wouldn’t lose the connection. I immediately hung up from them and called my husband.
I then called Lindsay and told her that we were absolutely honored and delighted to be saying yes to this little girl. I never thought in a million years that this would happen. I was beyond excited, but so nervous as well. I was concerned about my daughter being ready for me as my mom was leaving me. I couldn’t leave my mother and I couldn’t leave my daughter in China. I spoke to Lindsay we agreed that we would do whatever we needed to do in order for me to get to China to get my child, even if it meant delaying travel. Something I didn’t want to do. I was in a really tough place.
During our wait, I was able to join the Yahoo group for our soon to be daughter’s Province. The first time I was able to post, I told the members that I was desperately trying to find out any information I could because I had not had any time to do research due to my mother being ill. A wonderful woman who worked for an organization that helps children in China, stepped forward and said that if Dang, Yu Ping with the birth date of 7/15/05 was the child in which I was speaking about, she knew her well. She proceeded to provide me with 185 pictures of my child to be. These pictures were of her from a few months into her life till her latest birthday. This had to be the most wonderful gift anyone could have ever given me during this time.
I printed out a few of the pictures and brought them to my mother the next day. She thought our daughter to be was absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful I was able to share those pictures with my mom. I have never been very religious or believed in fate, but my mother passed away on November 21st, just a few days after seeing those photos. Mom turned 70 two days before her death. I lost my father 10 years ago on my mother’s sixtieth birthday. To say that this was one of the worst times in my life, was an understatement. These photos reached me in time to share them with my mother. I gave them to her to share with my dad.
My FMLA ran out on the same day as my mother passed. We decided that I would not go back to work. I wanted to be a full time mother to my child. I needed to grieve my mother and prepare for our daughter. We needed to paint her room and decorate it for her. The time passed both quickly and slowly.
In February 2008, we travelled to Beijing for two days where we met 3 other couples adopting as well. We travelled onto Shanxi alone with our guide.
We were not able to meet our daughter when we had planned too because there was a terrible amount of snow and they could not get her safely to us. We had to wait until the afternoon. We finally were led into a large room with our guide and the adoption officer. We waited and waited. Finally she was here. They brought in our daughter, Shayla Yu Ping and she was just beautiful. My husband immediately started telling her in Chinese that he loved her. He got down on the floor and played with her. I held back. I didn’t want to overwhelm her. She immediately took to my husband. We signed the necessary paperwork and then I started to cry. To see the women who brought her to us crying was so upsetting. I was so happy for us, but so sad for them. They truly seemed to love her.
Once back at the hotel, my husband left me with our daughter while he went for juice. I started to peel off her five layers because we were told to give her a bath since she had an accident on the way too us. Shayla, who we called Ping Ping lost it. She urinated and defecated all over the floor. I just sat there not knowing what to do. When my husband got back, we were able to get her clothes off and get her into a bath with him. She was too afraid to go by herself. Now I had prepared for crying and grief. What I hadn’t prepared for was anger. She was really angry. I think she saw me as someone who was taking her away from her foster mother and yet my husband wasn’t taking her away from her foster father. While trying to hold her and dry her off, she tried to scratch me. She was so upset. We all went to bed in tears that night. You have to be prepared for anything. You just have to keep telling yourself that in two weeks, a month, 6 months, things will be vastly different. The following days were difficult, but they got better and better. Ping was still not accepting of me, but I clung on to the fact that it would probably change once we got home.
We moved onto Guanzhou and the White Swan. We loved the weather there. There was no snow and we could get out and walk and shop. We bought a lot of things for Ping to have over the years. I could see where each day was getting better and better for the three of us.
Once home, daddy went back to work and it was just us two. It took only a few weeks for us to be best buddies. I adored spending all of my time with her. I took her everywhere I could possibly bring her. I had Early Childhood Intervention come in once a week to help her with her English. I took her to Early Childhood Intervention playgroups once a week. I took her to the playground and to indoor play places.
It has now been nearly two years since our Ping has been home. Ping attended preschool last year every day and she attends preschool every day this year. Her English is phenomenal. She is extremely bright. She is beautiful. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She is truly the light of our lives.
Looking back, I truly believe the pictures of Ping came through at the exact time they did so my mother could see pictures of her. My mom lived with us and had been waiting on our child as long as we had. I also truly believe that Ping was brought to us at this exact time so that she could lessen my heartache over the loss of my mother. I think this little girl was sent to save my life. I never realized how lonely I was until Ping came into our lives. Instead of an empty house, we had a burst of energy blazing through.
All of our friends say that they have never seen a child transition like she has. She truly was the missing puzzle piece we needed to become a forever family. She makes me laugh daily with her sense of humor. I live a fuller life now because of her. They say that the right child for you comes at the right time. I thought that was a nice concept, but I also thought that everyone said that to make us who were waiting feel better. I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, that we could not have hand picked a better daughter for our family. I tell her many times a day that I adore her and am so blessed to have the most beautiful daughter in the world. We thank China for allowing us this precious child.
Every child deserves a home. I urge everyone to look at the Waiting Child list. See if you can open your heart to a child with special needs. I can promise you that you will never regret that decision.
–Jill Cummings, Proud Mom of Shayla Yu Ping
I wrote this while I was really sick over a week ago. I didn't get to reread or edit due to a rushed deadline. There are definitely spelling/grammatical errors here, but wanted to share regardless.