Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Equal Day

Every year we celebrate "Gotcha Day" and "Adoption Day" and those days
will always have special meaning for us as a family but today is what
we're calling "Equal Day" and there will only be one of these. Today
the amount of time Jolynn has been with us equals the days she lived
without us prior to her adoption. Half and half. From here on out, we
gain ground although its hard for me to imagine her being any more
attached and well adjusted than she already is. But for what its worth
and all the unknown things in her past, somehow today, we feel like
we're standing at the top of the mountain and seeing ever more clearly
the bright future in front of this precious child who has come so far in
such a short amount of time. She's already lived twice - 2 years, 1
month, and 12 days - and what different lives those 2 halves have

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Precious Daughter!

Happy 4th Birthday, my Precious Daughter!  What an adventure the last almost 2 years with you has been!  Before we met you, I remember wondering who you were – what your personality was like, what kinds of things you would like and dislike and who you would grow up to become.  Every day we get to see more glimpses of the answers to those questions.  I especially remember wondering if you would love the outdoors and animals (and wondered what I’d do if you didn’t!)  For your birthday this year, I wanted to write down a few things that we’ve seen so far that make up wonderful you.


 First of all, you do love the outdoors and all the animals.  You love to dig in the dirt and play with sticks (girl after my own heart!) and you are developing a heart that responds with wonder and delight to the daily gifts we receive through God’s creation.  My desire for you was that you would see God through all the beauty around us and I think you are beginning to.  You know He made it all and it’s a great source of comfort to you that one of the things you fear the most – thunder – was made by the One who loves you the most and will always be with you and take care of you. 


You have such a tender heart – so easily moved to remorse over your own wrongdoing and desiring so much to be in right relationship with your dad and me.  “I’m sorry” and “I love you Mom or Dad” come easy for you to say and you are full of affection and hugs and kisses – you melt our hearts.  And when your friends get hurt and cry, you’re right there with them, crying just as hard.  You hate to see others sad or hurt and are especially upset if you caused the hurt.  You apologized to me for 3 days straight after running over my foot with your bike and are constantly aware of any injuries those you love have sustained and ask about them continually until you have the reassurance that it’s gotten better.

You are an emotional girl and you do not hold back your expression of a wide range of emotions.  Though challenging for me, I am grateful that your feelings are not pent up or suppressed and I hope and pray that in the years to come, we will always be able to dialogue about your feelings.  You’re already getting so good at talking about them.


Just as strong as your emotions, are your likes and dislikes.  You have one shirt that you like to wear and you’d wear it every day if you could.  It’s your “white shirt with the fish on it”.  Your favorite color is white and you love having an animal on your shirt so that’s why you love that shirt so much.  You love to wear t-shirts and shorts and only tolerate dresses if you have to.  Your favorite toys are your race cars.  Your favorite show is “Chuck and Friends” – all about a dump truck and his friends.  You love to play in the big community sandbox that has all the trucks and cars and diggers.  You’re quick to admire vehicles you see on the road and request that you have them some day.   You love dinosaurs and books about them.   You love your play farm with your animals and your weekly trip with Dad to Tractor Supply to add to your collection of animals or cars.  You most definitely have your Dad wrapped around your finger – seems every time you two go out, there are treats involved and big grins with explanations of “Don’t worry Mom, I can eat lots of ice cream.”  I love how you love your Dad.  The two of you have so much fun together and another one of your favorite things to do is to work with Dad’s tools and help him fix things.  You can spend hours playing, pardon me, “working” with his tools; same is true with my garden tools.  Sometimes we think you’re going to be an engineer.   You love to figure out how things work and go together and you notice the tiniest details.


Your imagination is wonderful!!  You can play for hours making up stories and including your puppies and other animals in the dialogue.  I confess I love to turn up the monitor and listen to all your stories and songs – that’s the best kind of entertainment!  It’s interesting how your soft stuffed animals, especially your puppies, are your go-everywhere toys.  When we first met you, you couldn’t stand the feeling of a soft toy.  Now you love soft things but have no interest in dolls or playing make believe with them in the same way you do with your animals.  They sit quietly in the corner watching you play with cars and animals every day.  Funny.


You have always been such an active child and at times we have been concerned about your ability to focus on something for very long but as you’ve grown, those concerns have dissipated as we’ve watched how still you can sit when you read your books.  You LOVE to read to and have learned so much through all the books we have read together.  It’s given us much to talk about.


Speaking of talking, I love, love, love our conversations!  Back when I first met you, I couldn’t wait for the day when we could have conversations.  That day has come and it is so fun!  Your comprehension and quickness to learn new things is amazing to me.  You listen closely when absorbing new information and you have it repeated until you’ve got it.  We love when you break into a long explanation about “how things are”, especially when it’s right on the heels of you having just learned about that particular thing.  But you speak with such authority!   There’s a leader in there, to be sure.   Speaking of leading, you seem to be quite competitive.  It’s quite disturbing to you at this point to ever have Apache “win” when we’re out walking.  Course, being a dog, he’s not in a race; he’s just going wherever his nose leads him.  But it frustrates you to no end that he doesn’t do what you want him to.


You love music and love to sing and dance with us.  Our theme song around here lately has been,

“God’s not dead, He’s surely alive; He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion!”  We have fun cranking it up and singing along to that one.  You love “rock and roll” and always say, “Louder, louder!”  especially when you’re in the car with your Dad.   You always want to drive – the car, the ATV, the tractor, or ride horse by yourself.  You’re absolutely confident that you can do it.  And since no one is allowed to say “I can’t” in this house, why wouldn’t you be confident?  You are often heard quoting, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  I love seeing that verse getting deeply ingrained in your heart and mind.  That will take you far, my child.


You have a wonderful, rich sense of humor!  Oh, the laughter in our home!  You “get” jokes already and laugh hysterically over things.  The other night was priceless.  After we had pumped you full of sugar with our treat at Dairy Queen, you were over the top silly and had us all laughing so hard.  Finally after carrying on like that for more than 30 minutes, you said, “Are we freakin’ tired?”  Of course, that made us laugh all the more!  You are such a joy – words cannot express.  Someday we’ll tell you about the stressful season of our lives that you “interrupted” when you burst on the scene and how having you has kept us sane, kept us going, and preserved joy in the midst of the strain.  If it weren’t for you, we’d work too hard, laugh too little, and miss all the daily miracles you cause us to see. You are the miracle ever before us.  I see that miracle when I watch you run down the hill and through the woods on our daily walk.  I watch you run the whole way, scaling obstacles on the path and I remember when we first came home from China and took you to Vanderbilt hospital to be evaluated and the doctors had you walk up and down the hallway so that they could determine if there was something wrong with your legs because you were so wobbly and unstable.  Are you that same girl?  How about the one who was diagnosed with a heart condition at birth?  The girl I watch running like the wind, full of life and energy – is so far from the one who had such a fragile beginning.  You are a miracle to behold and we are so blessed to have you.  The meaning of your name, “God will increase praise”, has truly been fulfilled in our home.


Thank you, for all the love and joy you have brought to our family.  Words cannot express our gratitude for having you in our lives. 


We love you more than words can say.   Happy 4th Birthday, Jolynn!!