Today is a big day! Today is the one year anniversary of Laila's "gotcha" day in Nanning, China. This time last year our sweet girl was having one of the worst days of her life. She was torn from everything she'd ever known and she was NOT happy about it. She refused to go to me (she's a stubborn girl for sure) and eventually her Nanny just had to walk away and I was told to pick her up. She SCREAMED. A LOT. Our sweet little girl was downright terrified. And who could blame her? Adoption is the best response we can give to little lives that have been filled with far too much loss, but at the onset, adoption is one more difficult thing for a child to go through.
Thankfully, "Gotcha" Day is not just the end of one story, but it is where the story of redemption begins. I'll tell ya honestly guys, redemption isn't an easy story. It is sad, sometimes heartbreaking. There are tears from the scared child and from the heartbroken new parents as they watch their new child process another loss. It is hard. Sometimes really hard. There's rejection. There's trauma. There's far too much to explain in a simple blog post.
During the days after Gotcha we were in survival mode. She would hardly sleep. She would cry for her nanny at the top of her lungs, pointing to the door and to the window and yelling "Agea"!!!! She had sores ALL OVER her arms and legs. Her belly was distended and hard. I remember undressing her, putting her in the bathtub, and praying to God that she would be okay. She was sick, she was broken-hearted, and we were all in survival mode. Just get through this bath. Just get through this night. Just get through this day...
Thankfully, by God's grace with each passing day a little more healing took place. Her emotional scars began to heal. Her physical scars began to heal. Our family came together and settled in for the long haul. Her attachment was harder than Chengbin's had been. She just needed more time. In China she didn't like Mommy. Once home she wasn't so sure about Daddy. Thankfully her "Half the Sky" book that the orphanage gave us had documented every bit of her life that she'd spent in the orphanage and provided us tremendous insight.
This sweet girl barely crawled at 16 months old. She didn't walk until she was 22 months old. Every 6 months in the orphanage, her one-on-one caregiver changed and she grieved that loss. No wonder her attachment was so difficult- she had spent her life up until this point extremely sick, extremely tired, and with caregivers that kept changing right as she would build her attachment.
So not surprisingly, it was more than 6 months before she really began to build attachment to all members of our family. After the 6th or 7th month she finally began to see that this just might be different. That we just might be her forever.
We have been so blessed. God really has given us a front row seat to witness a miracle. That's what she is- a miracle.
Sweet Laila Jean is a happy, healthy four year old!
She's funny and so, so sassy!! (But don't tell her cause she'll insist that she is NOT SASSY! ssshhhhh)
She loves to play with "Sissy and Chengbin".
She constantly asks "I sleep with Mommy at Disneyworld??"
We just love this little firecracker of a girl so much!!!!
We can't wait to see the plans God has for this girl!!! It seemed only fitting that she wear the special shirt that so many friends and strangers bought to help bring her home on this special day. We let her balloons go and said a prayer that somewhere her birth Mama & Baba will receive a peace in their hearts that only God can give them.
365 days with Laila.
Thank you ALL for supporting us along the way. For praying for us. For helping us bring her home. For loving this little girl from afar and then welcoming her into her new family, new church, new school, and new life!
Laila Jean, you have been one of the most amazing blessings of our life. We are so lucky to be your family. I am so lucky to be your Mommy. Always remember, God really does have more in store for you than you can ask or imagine. And we will be sitting on the front row to watch it all unfold!!