We waited 103 days for our official approval letter from China to adopt Little One. The average wait is 30-60 days. (That was the wait for one letter, not the whole adoption process…that was 15 months). So to us, our wait felt so very long. We got one update during that time. For those long months, I studied every little detail of this photo and 2 others:
I also scoured sources to find out as much information as I could about her orphanage. The more I researched, the deeper I hurt. Those were very dark months for me. If you read this blog back then or knew me in person – you probably noticed. I am pretty sure I had all my close friends and family worried about me. I lost a lot of weight during the wait. When I held Little One for the first time, I weighed what I did in 8th grade. My hope was in the Lord and I was pleading with Him to protect my daughter when I could not. So many prayers I prayed over her in those days. So many tears poured out because my little girl was an ocean away and I could do absolutely nothing to get to her. The clouds of darkness seemed to overwhelm.
On day 100 of that wait, I decided to make a list of 100 things I looked forward to when she came home.
It was a way to take my eyes off the hurt of separation and look with hope to the future.
Today is our 100th day together!
That list of 100 things has almost all been checked off already.
People tend to say stuff about her restoration and healing. I smile, but what they don’t always know is she has brought restoration and healing to me. Moments after we got her, I texted the following picture to family from China. Nearly everyone commented that is was so good to see me really smile again. She was in my arms. I was back – healed, restored and changed. I also ate my weight’s worth in dumplings that night.
Today I celebrate 100 days together and almost 100 dreams fulfilled….
…still waiting on those in black.
- Hearing her giggle for the first time.
- Feeling her body in my arms.
- Tracing the outline of her face with my finger.
- Listening to her daddy sing over her.
- Watching her big sister smother her in love.
- Sitting at the dinner table and looking around to see all my kids together.
- Waking up to her next to me.
- Playing “this little piggie” with her toes.
- Seeing diapers in the house again.
- Baby bibs.
- Sneaking in to watch her wake up from a nap.
- Whispering a million “I love you”s in her ears.
- Kissing her gloriously perfect lips.
- Breathing in the moment she is in my arms and recognizes it as a safe place.
- Watching her learn to crawl.
- Watching her oldest brother go to great lengths to entertain her.
- Comforting her when she doesn’t feel well.
- Loading five kids into the car.
- Introducing her to toys and lots of color.
- Capturing her with my camera.
- Picking up cheerios she drops on the floor.
- Helping her find her voice.
- Praying over her in person, not a world away.
- Watching her brothers go into protective mode over her.
- Introducing her to foods other than rice cereal.
- Rocking her to sleep.
- Hearing 10 little feet scamper together across the wood floor.
- Sitting on a blanket under the backyard sycamore with two little girls.
- Tucking her in at night.
- Helping her adjust to 4 adoring older siblings.
- Learning every part of her in person, not in pictures.
- Seeing her big sister cover her in blankets.
- Sweaty post-nap hair.
- Listening from the other room to her and her siblings.
- Little dresses.
- The first time she says “Mama”…and it means me.
- Comforting her when she hurts.
- Her first light saber battle.
- Seeing a smitten daddy with her in his arms.
- Five kids piled on my bed on Saturday mornings.
- Watching her big sister act as a little momma.
- Hiking with her in the ergo carrier.
- Going to bed at night knowing she has been fed.
- Introducing her to all the little critters outside.
- Her smile.
- Wiping away her tears.
- Bouncing on the trampoline with her.
- Bed times stories.
- Running my fingers through her beautiful dark black hair.
- Tickle induced laughs.
- Holding her hand.
- Sitting on the front porch as the sun sets with her by my side.
- Watching her brothers teach her the proper way to hold a foam sword.
- Seeing Chris manage to dance with two little girls.
- Finding out if she is like her brothers and likes mud, or more like her sister and doesn’t.
- Watching her watch her siblings.
- Getting to say “Girls………”
- Teaching her security.
- Showing her safety.
- Learning what she likes.
- Learning what she doesn’t like.
- Celebrating the beauty that is her.
- Picnic lunches with her in my lap.
- Reminding FireCracker that I am the mom.
- Knowing her needs are being met.
- Pouring seven drinks instead of six.
- Exhaustion from keeping up with 5 kids.
- Not having to say “no” every morning when her 4 yr old brother asks if it is time to go get her.
- Getting a front row seat as she discovers a beautiful world.
- Helping her through the difficult days of transition.
- Breathing in her smell.
- When she is ready, introducing her to friends.
- Slow days at home as a family of 7.
- Watching her thrive.
- Little girls splashing in the bath tub (if she adjusts well to baths).
- Holding her in my lap as she learns to stand.
- Whispering blessings over her as she falls asleep.
- Celebrating holidays together.
- Listening to her laugh at her goofy brothers.
- Butterfly kisses.
- Saying her name in her presence.
- The day she is at ease enough with me to rest on my chest.
- Seeing her little legs wrapped around her daddy’s neck as he carries her.
- Surviving jet lag together.
- When she learns to clap in delight.
- Watching her from across a room.
- Discovering her silly side.
- Movie nights with 5 kids squeezed under blankets on the couch.
- Watching FireCracker as a big sister.
- Introducing her to her anxiously awaiting grandparents and extended family.
- Piggietails – if she’ll have them.
- Knowing our family is together.
- Snuggling cheek to cheek.
- Celebrating Chinese culture and history as part of our family.
- Twirling in the front yard.
- Looking at the photos on the wall and seeing her in them with her siblings.
- Discovering her personality.
- Mundane normal life…with her here.
- Not waking up wondering if she be held that day, but being the one to hold her.
- Going to sleep knowing she is home.
And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down
I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy*
* The Valley Song, by Jars of Clay