A - For me, I think that I gave pieces of my heart during each part of the adoption process. First, as a single mom, I had to put part of my heart and faith out there when I first decided to adopt. Then when the paperwork was sent to China, that was a big moment. I felt like I put a little piece of my heart out there, because I wasn't sure if my daughter was born yet, and if she was, I wanted to lift up prayers for her. Then, when my paperwork was logged in, I felt the same way (albeit, was only 2 weeks later than when it was sent, but it was a landmark date, as everything relied on that date). This didn't change during the wait, because I prayerfully considered her "name"... that was a HUGE decision for me. I didn't realize what it would feel like to name another human being.
When I received my referral, I definitely gave another piece of my heart to this child that would be mine. Same for when we traveled. I think that the rest of my heart has been given to my daughter over the year (plus) we've been home together. The day we arrived home, was pretty monumental, emotionally, for me. To realize it was really official. She is an American Citizen, my Daughter, and will always be with me. But I felt more fear at that time, that I would mess something up... so, it took me a little while to be able to relax and really open my heart all the way... not too long, of course. She's amazing. She didn't always want to be held, which was tough for me, but most of the time she is very willing. When she yells Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!! Or wants to give Mommy kisses *just because*, it just melts my heart... and that's when I realize that at some point she got ALL of my heart, not just the parts I thought I had put out there. :) Kind of sneaky that way!! LOL