Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One Year as a Forever Family

Wow! It's simply hard to believe that one year ago today I finally met the little girl that I had prayed for and loved for months. This past year has been full of joy, delightful surprises, and new beginnings. Lilly has learned a great deal in the past year. She couldn't walk at all this time last year or even push herself into a sitting position. She had never heard English before meeting us. Now Lilly runs, jumps, talks in 3-4 word sentences, and is a bundle of energy always ready to go!
This past year we have also experienced many sad and difficult times. First, Lilly's illness in China and our "hospital tour" consisting of 3 different hospitals in 2 different Chinese cities. Lilly's continued fight for health once we got home, and her open heart surgery last June. We gained a daughter in the last year, but had to say goodbye to my dear grandfather. Lilly also had to part with her great-grandfather whom she only knew for 6 short months. Lilly loved her GG and called for him often after he died. During these difficult times, our faith saw us through. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Our God is truly an awesome God. I feel so unworthy to have been given such a precious gift as Lilly. I am honored to be her mother. I thank God for giving David and me the courage to adopt. I thank God for choosing us to take care of one of his children whom he loves far more than we ever could. I thank God for seeing us through the trials of this past year. I thank God for healing Lilly's heart through the skilled hands of a surgeon at MUSC. I thank God that his power is revealed in my weakness. As Jen reminded me during our trials in China, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 I hope it is obvious to all who know us or read this that our choosing to adopt a child (soon to be children) is not just something to do or a need to be filled. No, it is simply our choosing to be obedient to our God. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 We serve a mighty God and without him, David and I could not even attempt to do this. Praise to him who makes all things possible! "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

This picture was taken one year ago today in the Civil Affairs Building in Changsha, Hunan China. This is the moment we first met our baby, Lilly Kaishu! What a blessing!

Here is our Lilly waking up in her crib in the orphanage. This photo was taken in February of 2007 when Lilly was known as "Su Su" and was about 16 months old. Adele at Blessed Kids made this and many other photos of Lilly possible.

Here's Lilly waking up this morning, a year after joining our family. A year ago today, Chen Kai Shu woke up in her crib in the orphanage in Chenzhou City, China for the very last time. Every morning since, she has woken up in a home full of love. A home filled with love for a precious baby girl born on the other side of the world and love for an amazing God who brought us together. Adoption is indeed a miracle and is the work of our loving Heavenly Father.

This picture was taken in early June last year when Lilly had only been home for about 2 weeks.

And here is our Lilly girl in the same chair on our porch not quite a year later. She has changed quite a bit and has grown alot! She has gained about 7 pounds and grown about 5 inches taller.

Lilly has always, from day one, felt my hair between her fingers as she is doing here. While she does this she also sucks her tongue, and it is just precious. We watched her "Gotcha Day" video today and saw her doing this while we were still in the Civil Affairs Building.

We are so blessed to have been chosen by God to be Lilly's parents. What a gift! "Every good and perfect gift is from above. . ." James 1:17 For this and all gifts, we praise our Father in heaven and offer him our hearts full of love and gratitude.

Lilly loves her Daddy and oh, does her Daddy love her! It all started a year ago today!!

Not only was today our first anniversary of being together as a forever family, it was also David's birthday! Here he is surrounded by all the little ones who call him "Dad". However one little one is missing, and David mentioned her today saying "we will be heading to China to get Ellie soon. " "Soon" just can't come soon enough when it comes to finally holding your child who has been in your heart for months. We're coming Ellie! We just don't know how "soon" it will be.

4 comments:

Machell said...

Jan,

Great job ... It is amazing what love and one year will do. Our God is amazing. Adoption is a great blessing from our Father. We have been so blessed through adoption. I'm so glad God allowed us to adopt Kanaan, Chloe and Nate. We can't wait to have Nate in our arms. Also I am so thankful that our heavenly father adopted us into His family through salvation. Thank you Jesus!!!!!

Machell

Bobby and Jennifer Barbee and family said...

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary Lilly! We thought about you so much today.

Elaine Horton said...

Jan, You're post made me cry...tears of joy and thanksgiving for your family and for sweet Lilly being united with her forever family one year ago!! Praise God for His perfect plan!

Danny and Rebecca said...

What a joy to read the captions and see the pictures of Lilly and the whole Bryant gang! What a blessing it has been to be part of Lilly's first year and watching her grow with your family. Your family is a blessing and I love ya'll!
love, Rebecca