Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gotcha Forever!

Two years! How they have zipped right on by.

Two years since the day I first looked into her deep, mysterious eyes.
Who is this child who is now my daughter? I remember gazing at each of
my newborn sons whom I had carried from their first heatbeat inside me
until I was searching their faces with my own eyes and thinking the same
thing. Who are you? How I long to know who this little person is and
what he loves and what he will someday become. But with Lily I wondered
in addition to that, How can I make up for all the time that we were not

Two years since I first felt her warm hand in my own, and my heart
nearly burst with love for her. The same joy I felt when I gave birth to
and held my sons coursed through me when I placed my new 2-year-old
daughter on my lap and promised to keep her safe and close to my heart
for the rest of my life, and beyond.

And I store those first sweet memories of her deep in my heart. Today
I've pulled them out one by one and relived them and cherished them so.

In two short months, Lily will have been my daughter longer than she was
an orphan. I will celebrate with her then, too!

Someday, after Jesus comes back and takes us from the only life we've
know into our real home, the home we were created for, there will come a
time when we will have lived in Heaven longer than we have lived on
earth. That will be a day for celebration as well!

Lily has been counting down the days to "Got You Day" as she says, and
then she always adds, "And it's Chinese New Year!" Very cute. We gave
her some little gifts that we had purchased in China for this very day,
and I also made her a toddler version of her lifebook, that tells her
all about her life in China--or what little we know of it--and how she
came to be a part of our family. It's no secret to her, but to put it in
writing and to discuss with her all we know about her birth parents and
her visible special need and her abandonment was very difficult for me.
Laced thoughout the story is God's plan and provision in a less than
perfect world. She really loves the book, even though she really doesn't
want to spend too much time looking at the picures of herself before her
lip repair or even talking about her birth parents and then foster
parents. She wants to get right to the pictures and the story of us
going to China "all the way across the big, blue ocean" to get her.
That's my favorite part, too, but I worry about her tender little heart
that has gone though more sorrow and loss than most of us will ever

Still, she is a strong and resilient little girl, braver than I am. I
couldn't be more proud of her, and I love her more than she'll ever
understand until her own children are placed in her arms.

Here are some pictures celebrating Lily!

This was taken in China when Lily was about 17 months old, about 9 months before we were allowed to travel. However, we weren't given this picture of her until after we traveled. I didn't have ANY pictures of her amazing smile the whole time we waited and waited and waited. I can't tell you how much I would have loved to have this picture during the wait, just so that I could know that she was not terribly unhappy. Wasn't she so, so cute and fun?

My first time holding my new daughter. She's not sure what to think!

Our first Gotcha Day, 2007. She was wearing the same sweater she wore in the very first picture I saw of her. I was thrilled that the orphanage sent her to us in it. What a keepsake! I've seen many pictures of children from Dongguan orphanage in these exact sweaters; they must have LOTS of them!

Sweet, spicy Lily on Gotcha Day 2008. She is such a precious little girl, and I'm humbled that God chose us to parent this amazing child of His.

Lily looking at her new lifebook, with help from Caleb and Gabriel. See the cute little Chinese doll? We bought it in China at a little shop as a set, a boy and a girl, clothed in traditional Chinese silks. She loves them! She loves anything Chinese and gets so excited when she hears about The Great Wall or when she sees another Chinese child at the grocery store. Last week, we saw an Hispanic family, and there were two little girls not much older than Lily. She exclaimed loudly (she does nothing quietly, by the way), "Mom, they're from China like me!" I told her, "No, honey. They're not from China." She literally said, "Huh?" Like, "Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" I was trying not to laugh, and trying to push the cart down a different aisle, but I'm sure her voice carried. Then she asked, "Where?" I said, "They're from Dowagiac." She again said, "Huh?" We're still working on the whole thing about America being a melting pot. For her, anyone with dark hair and eyes must be from China. I'm thrilled, however, that she is so proud of her heritage. It is definitely what we want for her.