One Year Ago Today…

One year ago today, we were in China, receiving our precious daughter, little Madeleine CaiQun. What a year it has been! I honestly have few words to describe it other than amazing. Looking back at her growth and transformation over the past year is an awesome privilege.

Look at this baby who joined our family a year ago!

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A year ago, at 2, she couldn’t walk in a straight line through the length of our hotel corridor, and she could run no more than a few steps at a time. She could put on shoes by herself but had no idea how to do a puzzle. She babbled a bit, and the director of her orphanage said she had a few Mandarin words, but she didn’t say anything our guides could recognize as actual words. She couldn’t sit through reading an entire book, unless it had actions to go along with it. She was tiny – nowhere near any growth curve for her age. In every way she seemed much more like a 15-month-old than a 2-year-old.

And now here we are, a year later. My girl has caught up like a rock star.

She runs. She jumps. She plays. She is a master at puzzles.

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She has thousands of English words, and I long ago stopped counting the length of her sentences – we’ve progressed to full-blown narratives. We read multiple books a day, every day, and she loves it.

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I’ve even started doing some workbook school stuff with her, much to her delight!

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I also took her in to see her pediatrician last week for a growth check, and she is officially on a growth curve – the 7th percentile! As I looked at her growth trajectory with her doctor, I vacillated between wanting to burst into tears and wanting to throw a party. She’s healthy. Here was an objective measure of her triumph, of our triumph. This girl who, a year ago, seemed like a mere baby in every respect, is now growing, learning, and developing. She’s beautiful and brilliant.

And God has granted us the weighty but ever so beautiful privilege of parenting this child. It is amazing – absolutely one of the biggest blessings of our lives. Adoption rocks.

Adding CaiQun to our family was a catalyst for transformation in her but also for transformation in the rest of us.

It was in China that Miranda became a big sister.

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But in these months home, she has truly stepped up into that role. She has realized in a whole new way that the world does not revolve around her, and she has a sweet built-in playmate and best friend. The girls have so incredibly much fun together, and they are learning some of the best things in life – kindness, helpfulness, love, and forgiveness – from one another.

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Her presence in our lives has forced Matt and me to re-evaluate our priorities and commitments, and we are in a better place and are better people for that. We’re more flexible and more fun. She brings so much laughter and joy to our lives.

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What a blessing she is to our entire family!

And we have all bonded together so well. We’ve worked at it, but it has been a pretty seamless process for all of us, and that’s been beautiful. CaiQun’s current personal narrative of her adoption story – obviously only partially based in the exact truth – is, “When I lived in China and I was in a hotel, I woke up in the bed, and I called out, ‘Mommy, mommy!’ Then Mommy and Daddy and jie jie got onto the airplane and came to China to get me!” We do talk about the details of how everything really unfolded, but I love that the central element of how she sees her story is that she called for her mommy, and her family responded and came to get her.

Matt and I are so thankful to have had this year as a family of four, and we are so thankful that our little Madeleine CaiQun is part of our family. And of course we’ve been celebrating today 🙂

The girls and I made cupcakes…

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…and Matt made Chinese dumplings!

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And then we all enjoyed them together 🙂

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Gotta love those blue cupcakes with pink frosting…MCQ’s choice, of course 🙂

It has been a good day, all in celebration of a great year 🙂

Matt is also extending the celebration by offering a number of his artworks at a significant discount, all priced in multiples of 18, at his etsy shop, so if any of you are interested in celebrating with us and obtaining some low-cost artwork, feel free to check it out 🙂

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