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One Year Home

Today marks one year.

One year ago, today, I met the little girl that now calls me mama. That statement alone causes me to tear up and be at a loss for words. She spent two years in an orphanage. Two years without parents to comfort her. Two years with nannies, foster parents, and other kids that became her family. And then just like that, in an instant, life changed for her.

The first photo I took of her.

The first photo I ever took of her.

Last year we were just a couple of strangers to her. Strangers with food in our hands to entice her to not to cry when we held her.

Now we are her parents. And she is our daughter. One year later I can declare that WE ARE FAMILY.

Her gotcha day was glorious. It was a day that so many unknowns became clear. We are forever thankful for the smoothness of that day.

But the year was challenging. And rightfully so. Our weeks and months went by with high points and low moments. I vividly remember the first few weeks she was home saying, “I look forward to the day when being a family of five feels normal.” Because it did not feel normal in the beginning. There were a lot of rough edges and bumps along the way. And I am here to say to anyone doing this adoption thing, that its ok if it does not feel normal for a while. Expect it not to. Give yourself some grace!

But here we are, one year later and I am thrilled to say that we are THERE! Yes, we still experience some challenging days. But all FAMILIES have those days. I am overjoyed to proclaim that this feels normal. That life with Leia, our adopted daughter from China, feels normal and no longer foreign.

So to any of you in the beginnings of anything; a diet, an adoption, a career change, bringing a new baby home, or whatever it may be I must say this. Get cozy with being uncomfortable. Accept that new things often do not feel normal. Embrace that awkward ground and give yourself time to be all there. So much goodness grows from such places.

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Now let’s talk about growth! Here are some of the changes we have seen in Leia Joy:

-She did not cry when she hurt herself when we first met her. She could fall down or smack her head significantly and would not make a peep. Most likely because she was use to no one reacting or repsonding when she did cry. She now knows we will comfort her and cries (or fake cries) when she gets “hurt.” We are happy to give her all the attention she needs when she scrapes her knee or pinches her finger. Her tears show signs of trust and security.

-She knew one English word when we met her. Now she knows more than I can count~

-She use to hit her brother and sister when they cried. If they got hurt or were throwing a fit she would walk up to them and hit them. I have no idea why, but I am happy to say that she no longer does that.

-She loves water and baths. She absolutely hated them the first month she was with us.

-She is secure when it comes to food and will actually leave food on her plate. A big change for sure. In China she would not let one crumb be left in her bowl and would lose her mind if any of it fell on the floor. Not so much any more. She is now completely content with tossing a plate full of food on the floor during her two year old tantrum. Not ideal behavior, but I see the growth even in the tantrum.

-She has gained 13 pounds in one year!

Y’all, it has been a good year. A refining year that we would never trade for anything. We are so grateful to be a family of five. We are so blessed to have found our new normal with our sweet and spicy (Thai hot, actually) daughter, Leia.

Adoption is messy and beautiful. And we are honored to be apart of something so beautifully messy.

Happy Gotcha Day to our precious Leia Joy. You make this family complete!

october 2016_ljb_with dad-1



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