Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ode to Aunt MoMo

As most of you know, my younger sister Morgan came along with us on our trip to China. Because Jonas couldn't say "Morgan" when he first came home, she became "MoMo," and it's kind of stuck. Anyway, we wanted to bring Jonas along with us to adopt his sister, but we knew there would be times it'd be better to have some help, especially if Johanna needed our full attention or we had boring adoption-related appointments to attend. In no particular order, here are the many, MANY ways Aunt MoMo helped us on this trip explained via the various roles she played (and I'm sure I'm forgetting some)...


She carried suitcases or kids or paperwork or backpacks or money or groceries or food or drinks or souvenirs or all of the above, all while carrying her own things too (and she somehow just packed carry-on luggage!).


Morgan captured all of the important (and difficult) pictures on Adoption Day, so we could focus solely on Johanna. She did the same thing when we visited the orphanage. She also took pictures of our family at various places we visited, even if it meant she wasn't in the picture.


Getting meals for two kids at a hotel buffet twice a day is an art. There's the arranging of the tables and chairs, getting the kids seated, gathering food and drinks for them and yourself, watching the kids, getting Jonas to stay at the table, and various other trips to the buffet to get forgotten silverware, napkins, fruit, etc. Morgan helped us each time and would get Jonas's food started, so we could get Johanna's and ours and have a more enjoyable meal.


While we were off at Johanna's adoption appointments, Morgan would watch Jonas. They went swimming for hours, played at the park, ate snacks, watched videos, and had a ton of fun. It was so helpful to not have to worry about watching him at consulates and notary offices and medical appointments and such, and I always knew he was safe. She'd also help get Jonas dressed and ready on busy mornings and take him to the bathroom when we were out and about. He also went over to her hotel room to play sometimes, so we got a little break from his constant energy!


Morgan knows our expectations for Jonas's behavior, and she wasn't afraid to enforce our rules in the same manner we would have. She demanded he speak respectfully, use good manners, act appropriately, etc. When we were dealing with Johanna, or adoption paperwork, or whatever else came up, it was nice having someone else deal with Jonas, especially when he was being difficult.


Picture ringing a bell and having your butler show up immediately to do whatever you want. That's kind of how Morgan was. I'd WeChat her at any hour, and she would respond immediately with whatever was needed. I know that sometimes that meant she got up early to shower and get dressed so she could be ready the minute I messaged her saying we were headed to breakfast (with basically no warning!). She'd go buy tickets, go look for our guide, go exchange money, wait for us to get back from somewhere, etc. Basically I'd ask for something (anything), and she'd do it.


Morgan used various apps to make sure we were headed the right direction in taxis or on trains or subways. She directed us to the tea market, shopping, the park, and various other places, and we didn't have to think about it at all. She knew which subway stops to go to and even what exits to go out. She knew how to find the darn elevators and lobby every time at our hotel in Guangzhou, something I couldn't master for the life of me. I'm terrible at directions, so having her take care of all that for me was life-saving.

There was a lot of traveling involved on our trip...planes, trains, subways, taxis, vans, long walks, long lines, etc. Morgan often sat by Jonas and kept him entertained. She'd also walk with him, carry him, chase him around (his favorite), or dance with him. He always had a good time with her!


I had a lot on my mind on this trip, obviously. Morgan served as my extra brain several times, whether it was reminding me about something I had totally forgotten (adoption paperwork under the van seat-yikes!), coming up with ideas for activities (Baiyun Mountain was awesome!), or just being a sounding board as I brainstormed or thought through things.

Flexible Adapter

Morgan was up for anything. Wherever (and whenever) we wanted to eat, wherever we wanted to go, whatever we wanted to do, she was game. I know that probably meant she missed out on some things she wished she had gotten to see or do and had to do things she wasn't interested in doing. I know that probably meant she was hungry at times we didn't go eat and not hungry at times we did. Since she is a vegetarian, I know she struggled to find things to eat at certain meals. I know she was probably really bored at times and really exhausted at other times, but she lived by our schedule no matter what.

Adoption Ally

Morgan understood and respected the challenges of adoption and building attachment. She never tried to "cross the line" with Johanna, and she didn't question our parenting choices. She was our cheerleader throughout the coat drama, and she held Jonas or gave him extra attention when we had to focus on Johanna. She knew her role on the trip and didn't try to insert herself into Johanna's confusing world at this point.


I know Morgan worked lots of extra hours at her job and used up lots of vacation time to go on this trip. She also used her Christmas money from our grandpa to help pay for her hotel rooms and travel within country. While she could have used that vacation time and money to go somewhere of her own choosing and do what she wanted with her days, she instead chose to come with us to China.

All-Around Allstar

Basically, having Morgan on this trip with us rocked. It was a lot to ask of someone to do all we wanted and needed her to do, but she really stepped up. It'll probably be years before Jonas and Johanna realize how important her role was in this adoption trip, but Zack and I know how incredibly helpful it was. Having Jonas come to China was very important to us and special for our family, and I'm not sure it would have been possible without Morgan there to help out.

So Morgan, you are awesome! Thank you SO SO SO much for everything you did for us. We appreciate it more than you will ever know. We will never forget it, and we owe you big time! There might be a little something coming in the mail for you soon. :) We love Aunt MoMo!


  1. Thank you Morgan for all you did. Your being there helped Mimi and Papa not worry as much!

  2. What a lovely tribute to Morgan! We all need a "Morgan" in our lives to get us through challenges.