Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy One Year Gotcha Day to our Little Girl!

Wow...I pretty much dropped off the face of the planet on this blog about 4.5 months ago.  I had to come back today though to post about today- our one year gotcha day celebration of having Lena in our lives.  In some ways it feels like much longer and in other ways it feels like that year just flew by...time is funny like that.  

Rewind to one year ago today.  We were waiting in our hotel room in Fuzhou, Fujian province- China for 3 p.m. to arrive.  We were anxious, nervous, and excited.  Time seemed to stand still.   Just before 3 p.m. we took all the important things we needed and headed to the hotel conference center.  Lena was supposed to show up at 3:30 p.m.  To our surprise, we walked in to see her sitting in a chair drinking a little milk in a juice box like container.  The assistant director of her orphanage sat a few chairs over near our guide.  We were so not prepared for that and so our gotcha moment wasn't quite how I had envisioned it would be.  I had very little time to spend with her before having to start some paperwork and ask questions of the assistant director.  We received the outfit she was wearing when she was found and a list of around 10 questions with answers we probably would of liked to have known.   Rick and Evan entertained her and she was a little scared at times, but laughing and hiding and being her silly self at other times.  Our time in China was not easy.  We had some major emotions, melt-downs, and many highs and lows.   But we finally had our daughter!  

 Our first glimpse of her.

 With our guide, Penny.
 Giving some love to big brother, Evan.

 Mom trying to get a hug.
 Loving our little girl.

 Spending some time with dad and Evan while mom did some paperwork.

 Being loved on by mom in our room.
 Back in the hotel room.
Asleep in the crib in our room.

Fast-forward to today- one year later.  WOW!   This little girl still has her highs and lows.  She can be quite emotional and dramatic at times.  But she can be the happiest thing you have ever seen.  Her smile can beam and she can light up a room.  She can charm someone she doesn't even know in a heartbeat.  She has been pretty hard on her dad- the only person in her life she really just won't fully let in.  It has broken his heart over and over again.  Just recently she has started to come around a little more- that may have to do with the fact that she just had dad to take care of her while I was in China for 2 weeks.  She is very observant and is a bright little girl.  She learns very quickly and went from no language what-so-ever to probably around a few hundred signs.  She can get her point across to just about anyone and she is really starting to show that she understands more complex ideas like "wh" questions and is putting more and more signs together.   She is a bit of a picky eater when it comes to certain things- especially carbs.  She will forever remain a tiny little thing.  I wish I had that problem.  She is probably the slowest eater you will ever meet, unless it is a popsicle in her hands.   She has completed a half year of pre-school at the school for the deaf near our home and loves it there.  She has a wonderful teacher and many sweet classroom aides and is thriving with her peers who are like her.   We know we made the right choice in sending her there.  Hearing aides have proven not to be of much help for her.  We will continue to build her ASL vocabulary, as well as our own.  We want ASL to be her first language.   Adopting a deaf child has not been a piece of cake, but it sure has changed our lives for the better and has introduced us to a beautiful new language and many wonderful new friends.  This year has been quite rewarding.  This child has blossomed and we cannot wait to watch her continue to blossom in the next year.  God has blessed us with a daughter who has taught us so much and we are forever thankful.   We love you so very much little lady!   Happy one year gotcha day!  We look forward to many many more.