One month ago we were handed a child who was scared, shut down, screaming and far too tiny for her age. She looked at us with deep eyes obviously trying to figure out who we were. She clung to me tightly not out of love but, out of fear. When she would wake she looked at me, screamed and stiffened her body in protection.
At the time we were too overwhelmed seeing her so scared to feel emotional. Looking back on these pictures of our daughter and remembering those first moments is absolultely heart breaking.
Her stiff little body breaks my heart. Bottle snuggles are now her favorite.
We spent 10 days in China dedicated solely to getting to know our new daughter and teaching her what it meant to be loved unconditionally. We watched her slowly let down her guard and we began to see her personality emerge.
It wasn't until we were home that our true joy filled daughter emerged. Our home is now filled with more giggles, more smiles, more hugs and kisses. We truly believe that she knows we are hers, and she is ours. A few mornings ago Olivia was drinking her bottle in bed between us and after just a couple of sucks she stopped to give dada a kiss, then mama and repeat. It is now her daily routine to pretend to be asleep while I am rocking her only to look up and give me kiss after kiss. Each day we fall deeper in love with our daughter and the same happens for her. She lights up when Kyrie and Brooks are in the room. And they think she's pretty great too.
Somebody is starting to take his role of big brother very seriously.
I can say without any hesitation that this journey has blessed us more than we have blessed her. Olivia has taught us so much about letting go and letting God. She has taught us to be patient, to love even when it's hard, and how to help heal a broken heart. Watching how far she has come has taught us so much about God's grace. In China we never could have imagined that our child would be running around laughing, throwing temper tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants and be freely acting like the 14 month old she is.
I pray that Olivia's story is a testimony of God's role in adoption. It is my hope that some one will hear her story and will act on the nudge that they have heard from the Lord about adoption. There are so many children left behind in China and all over the world that need a family. Yes, Olivia was loved in her orphanage. But, that love is nothing like the love of a mother and father, a sister and a brother. I am confident based on her sad eyes in all of the pictures that we have of her orphanage life that she never felt joy before. Now her eyes scream JOY. She is now free to be the child God created her to be. So if you feel God even whispering in your ear, take the leap. I promise you won't regret it. He will meet you every step of the way. If it's financial concerns, he's got it. If you worry you won't love an adopted child the same. I promise you will! If it's time, yes the wait is hard but, so worth it.
Sisters! They already have a very special bond.
This is our neighbor Brooke. She fell in love with Olivia them moment she met her in the cul de sac just days after she came home. These two are little mommies.
This is Olivia's typica I'm running so fast I am going to topple over. Luckily her helpers were there.