When Cooper was in China, he had a foster brother, Ming Ming (or Ning Ning, as Cooper calls him) for a long while whom he loved.
About 6 months before we traveled to bring Cooper home, Ning Ning (Adrian, Ming Ming....we call him three different things here....) was adopted by a family in Alabama.
That was a difficult loss for Cooper. The picture below breaks my heart- it's them telling Cooper that Ning Ning is leaving. Of course no one knew at the time when (if) Cooper would ever see Ning Ning again. Cooper looks so sad, and I hate that I wasn't there.
Cooper asked about "Ning Ning" every day after he left. At the time, I was not Cooper's mom. I was the volunteer who edited Cooper's sponsorship update that went out every month to the people who sponsored him while he was at New Day. I clearly remember editing the update in March 2010 that said this:
Evan’s little brother, Adrian, was recently adopted by an American family. Evan is missing him a lot, and tells us often how much he misses him. He tells everyone that Adrian went to the United States and he wants to visit him there!That's when I started praying for Cooper to be matched with a family. My heart broke when I read it (at that time I hadn't seen the picture.- just the words broke my heart). And, of course, I had no idea that in just 4 short months I would be looking at his picture, knowing his file was on the shared list, and realizing that we could be the answer to my prayers.
BUT....that's a different story! :)
Shortly after we were matched with Cooper, I connected with Adrian's mom, Shawna. (You can read that post to get the whole story.) We became fast friends.
And, while we were in China, Cooper's foster mom told me how very much she was longing to see Cooper and Adrian reunited in the United States.
I think we all were.
So.....It didn't take long after Cooper was home for us to try to make plans for a reunion between Cooper and Adrian. But, life being what it is for two families of five made coordination kind of tricky.
However, on December 3, Cooper and Adrian were finally reunited to the great joy of three mamas who love these boys.
It was a little awkward for them at first (not for us Mamas....we hit it off right away!). And, we had to get past the really sad and hard moment when we realized that Cooper's ambivalence to Adrian's arrival was because he thought they were coming to take him with them. Once we ALL clarified in no uncertain terms that Cooper was staying here and they were going home and taking Adrian with them, Cooper was able to enjoy all sorts of fun with Ning Ning:
taking a tubby (which is apparently a New England term, I found out)
watching movies and eating ice cream
And just hanging out
The whole lot of us had a blast during our three-day sleep over.
The dads watched football and talked politics. The moms talked long through the afternoon into the early evening sitting half-freezing on the front porch.
All while the kids had endless amounts of fun:
playing (more) Wii
exploring the stream
And (what else?) building a tornado shelter.
I dare say it's the only one of it's kind in our town.
A gift from our extended family in the south.
(Note: Shelter only rated for tornadoes rated F -10 or lower.)
And, there was lots of sleepy-headed DS playing as well.
(How else to keep 5 kids quiet when one decides to sleep in?)
The kids even had fun posing for a group picture thanks to Scot:
"Pretend like you are on a roller coaster!"
Did I mention that all three of our kids are the same ages as their three kids? Sawyer made fast-friends with MaiLin. They were inseparable all weekend long!
Chloe had a great time with AnnaLi as well.
Truth be told though.....AnnaLi was maybe second most excited to see Cooper. She had bonded with him while they were in China to pick up Adrian, and she was so sad to leave him behind. She asked about going back to adopt Cooper, and she prayed for him to find a family. It was a sweet reunion for her too, I think.
After a short three days, we said a very tearful good-bye.
When Cooper spontaneously said, "Bye, Ning Ning. I love you. I miss you." we all had to take a moment to regroup. I had held it together pretty well up till that moment.
Thankfully, we know we'll see them again even if we don't quite know when. I'm sure it will be too long though.
Who knew that when we adopted Cooper that our family would grow by more than one?
How blessed are we?
And, PS- we did send many, many pictures to Cooper and Adrian's China mama so that she too could share the joy!