Thursday, August 18, 2011

four years ago

Four years ago this week, we touched down on US soil with Grace and she became an official American citizen.  I'm pretty sure I say the same thing in every homecoming or birthday post, but I can't believe it has been four years already.  But seriously, how can this little butterfly be four and a half already?!?!

Isn't she the cutest little thing?  I remember buying that bib and sending it down for her to wear.  And then being so surprised and excited when I got pictures of her wearing it.  

One thing about Grace's homecoming that Mark and I will always remember is how Grace immigrated to the US in nothing but a diaper.  She had an amazing diaper blow out on the plane and I did not have any extra clothes in my carry on bag.  The blow out occurred just when the beverage service came out and the flight attendants would not let us get past them nor could we go to first class with the baby, so I just changed her right on my lap in the seat.  Another adoptive couple offered me an outfit for Grace but I didn't think I would have the ability to get it back to them in a timely manner so baby girl came to the US in a t-shirt, diaper and wrapped in a blanket.  There were about 6 or 7 babies coming home on our flight and we all ended up in customs at the same time.  For some reason, Grace's name was called first and we cleared customs before any of the other families.  The dad from the couple that offered us the outfit, heckled us.  He said, we got called first because Grace had no pants on.  It was hilarious!

Our little girl has grown and changed so much in the past four years.  She has caused us to grow and change in ways we didn't ask for and at times don't want.  We call ourselves accidental special-needs adoptive parents because we did not set out to adopt a child with special needs.  Although, we know that her adoption and placement in our family was no accident.  We believe that God, our Father and the author and finisher of our future, knew all along that Grace was destined to be in our family.  I simultaneously pray that He has equipped me for this journey and thank Him for preparing us when we didn't know we were being prepared for this role.   

{Please excuse the terrible picture of me.  I took it of us yesterday, the old hold the camera at arms length picture, when she was having a snack.  Although I wouldn't normally post a picture of me that looks like that, it is the only one where we are both looking at the camera.}

I struggle so much to put into words what it is like raising a child like Grace.  Some days it is not much different from raising a typically developing child.  Other days it brings me to tears and I am easily frustrated and quick to loose my patience with those around me.  Still other days it brings me unspeakable joy to be able to take care of my daughter in ways that one should not be required to take care of a four and a half year old.  And still other days, it just makes me tired. 

No matter how it feels, we are thankful for Grace being placed in our lives.  We are thankful for the brave woman who gave birth to her and pray that she somehow know that her daughter is being well loved and cared for by our family. 

Grace is showing signs of truly being one of the family.  Yesterday she was giving Mark kisses and I wanted to get a picture of them.  As I was snapping pictures and kept missing the actual kissing part.

So baby girl, held daddy's head to hers and looked at me out of the corner of her eye to make sure I got the picture.  Seriously, she held his head there until I got the picture.  See her looking at me from the corner of her eye? 

So cute!  She kissed him for a good 15 minutes.  And that is why her current nickname is Gives-Many-Kisses.  I read this series of books on the recommendation of this local blogger (Jo-Lynne is a great writer and it is such a good blog.  She is an awesome resource for information on whole foods and local farm markets).  It was a good book series, a little racy for me at points but overall I really enjoyed the series.  Now, in honor of the Mowhawk Indians, I have given all the kids and Mark nicknames.

 Four years ago we became a family of five!   Happy Anniversary Baby Girl.


nora said...

Anne, I think of your family regularly and am in awe by your continued faith that God's plan is laid out. I don't have that same faith. although I wish for it often. Enjoy your weekend and your family day.

Gardenia said...

Anne, happy anniversary of your heart. this is a beautiful post. we all have memories of that day when we stepped onto US soil and realized the enormity of it. the sheer joy and relief!

Jeanne said...

Love the kiss pictures!

Anna said...

Happy 4 year anniversary it is amazing to see how much Grace has grown up since that first photo!
Thanks for sharing all these beautiful photos of your family. Its wonderful to see all the kids growing up so much. I think you and Mark are doing an amazing job Anne bringing up your kids and helping Grace with her is such a hard road but God definitely knew that Grace was going to be in a family that loved her unconditionally and would be there for her no matter what.

Great to see all the other photos in previous posts too as have just caught up!

Take care,

noreen said...

Happy Anniversary Anne! Her baby photo is so sweet! What a blessing for your family! I appreciate your honesty in your posting about the challenges you face and it is so evident that God's protective hand is upon your family!