Tallula: a girl and her silks

Today is our last full day in Guangzhou.

Which calls for some pictures of my baby girl in her silks.

Who needs the red couch when you’ve got Shamian Island as a backdrop?

And I also figured it was a good time to share a bit more about Tallula.

Because I know that although most of who she is will stay the same, much will change in the coming days and weeks.

She talks.

Boy, does she talk. Her referral paperwork stated that she was able to speak in three word sentences before she was 12 months old. And although I had my doubts, I doubt no more. She honestly talks all the time – to me, to Dalton, to herself. She doesn’t need an audience.

She seems to have a basic command of the Chinese language at 24 months old… and manages to make this mama feel like a complete idiot.

Thankfully, she’s so very forgiving. She giggles and even responds to my efforts at baby Chinese. And to bridge the gap, I’ve also taught her the signs for “more”, “eat” and “please”. She figured them out quickly, so we’ll be adding more as necessary.

Like “potty”.

And “no no”.

She sings.

Morning, noon and night. Especially, it seems, at bedtime.

Her most recent update – that we received when we arrived – stated that she knows the words to many Chinese songs. And they were so right. When she’s not talking, she’s singing.

Our guide in Wuhan listened to her singing one day in the car – and laughed out loud. She wasn’t familiar with the song Tallula was singing, but she said the words, translated, were, “Mama, stop playing cards… it’s time for me to eat!”

She eats.

She is independent as all get out. And feeding herself is one of her favorite pastimes. She doesn’t use chopsticks and prefers a spoon to a fork. And she seems to be ambidextrous. She does allow me to help occasionally, which is nice if we’re in a time crunch, or the meal is especially messy.

Her favorites are rice and noodles. And meat. Give her all three and they all go into the same bowl. Give her anything else and it goes right into the bowl… cereal, banana, raisins, egg, bread, vegetables. All of it.

She is definitely a good eater, but is quick to get her fill. She’s more of a snacker, wanting to eat every hour or so. And if you have it, she wants it.

And no sweets for her. She’s a meat and rice girl, thankyouverymuch.

She plays.

Oh, but not your average sort of play for a just-turned-two year old. She isn’t a big fan of toys, or stuffed animals. She prefers pens and pencils. And drawing on herself, the bed or her brother. She loves turning electronics on and off, especially if someone is currently using it.

She loves jumping on the bed. And hitting her brother. Some things I’ve had to correct her over, and she’s not a fan. I can tell she hadn’t heard a lot of “no” before and I’m doing my best to choose my battles wisely.

But I can’t let her think it will go well for her if she hauls off and clocks Poppy when she gets home. So we continue to work on it.

She mourns.

She cries the tiniest cries for her foster mama and baba. Especially when she is overly tired, or if she doesn’t get her way… she just can’t hold it in any longer. I am so grateful that she feels safe enough with me to grieve openly. And that she’ll let me hold her and snuggle her until she falls asleep or feels better. Whichever comes first.

She loves.

I can tell our girl has been so very loved. And I have no doubt that she can, and does, love in return.

She will allow me to hold her and love on her – while she remains relaxed and content. I’m certain that she’d prefer her foster mama at this point, but the fact that she is clearly familiar with this sort of contact tells me more than any referral paperwork could.

Her foster family loved her fiercely.

And because of that love, she simply shines from the inside out.

Can’t wait to get Tallula home.

Because there is a whole houseful of love waiting on her.



  1. Beautifully said. She is most assuredly God’s incredible gift for your family… who can doubt God? Tallula is great proof that God is the author and perfector.

  2. Honestly, what a gorgeous little girl. The last two pictures are just precious.

  3. Seriously, one of the cutest things I’ve EVER seen!!!

  4. Preciousness!!! LOVE knowing her better and pray for your trip home tomorrow!!! Blessings!

  5. I’m very thankful that she’s going to such an obviously loving home, please don’t get me wrong, I’m just wondering if it is not an option for her foster family to keep her? I did not realize China even had a foster care system. I’m glad for all of you that she has been raised with love in her life.

    Beautiful pictures.

    • There are many, many children in foster care in China. Some of these children are in homes that are paid for by wonderful non-profit organizations, while others are part of the traditional social welfare system in China. I would never presume to answer specifically about Tallula but I know that Chinese foster parents are often older, with a grown child who is no longer living at home. In this instance they may exceed the age requirement for adoption and would not be able to adopt their foster child.

  6. Such an amazing post. BEAUTIFUL.

  7. She is like a ray of light! So pretty and so FULL OF PERSONALITY!!!

    I have loved all of your photos Stef…… GORGEOUS!!! Have a safe trip home….. I know you are counting the hour until you walk into that houseful of love:)



  8. These photos are LOVELY. And so is that little muchkin of yours. I could just eat her up!

    I can’t wait to see your big family all together!

  9. She is so beautiful! What a little ray of sunshine! Thanks for sharing your journey!

  10. Perfect! Just perfect! And what a perfect little girl God chose for your family! Someone who can hold her own in such a crowd! I anxiously await seeing your family “reunion” and reading all about how much trouble T is getting into with her brothers and sisters. I really don’t think they are going to know what to do with her! What a wonderful blessing to have foster families that are willing to love and let go like this. Crying in NC, Allison

  11. Seriously….she is the cutest thing ever!!!!

    Y’all are blessed! :)

  12. She is…..SO lovely.

  13. Oh, isn’t she so pretty?! She sounds like a smart little firecracker who will keep everyone hopping. What a blessing that she’s been so loved from the very beginning. She couldn’t have had a better start!

  14. She’s beautiful, and amazing. :) And I can’t wait to see her join your crew. :)

  15. Miss Tallula is stunning. I LOVE these photos!!! She is gorgeous. I know she is going to be such a sweet fit into your beautiful and loving family!!!!

    I must tell you…you know I have felt super drawn to lil T. I mean super connected to her. I cannot explain it. Well, as you describe her personality……you could be describing my Kate Emerson! Kate sings and talks all day long (whether anyone else listens or not). She knew how to love immediately (also from a loving foster Mom). She ate like CRAZY (even one of her Chinese names meant likes to eat!).

    I know Talulla is going to bering your family a lifetime of JOY! Safe travels home:)

  16. Be still my heart, tearing up at Honda dealership. These pics are awesome and her smile is infectious.

  17. Those last two pics are especially priceless- her cuteness just jumps off the page! Congratulations Stefanie- what a treasure your tallula is! We missed you by a week, which I think may have saved Shamian Island! Our two little firecrackers would’ve ruled that place… and had quite a fun time doing it! đŸ˜‰ blessings to you and your crew!

  18. Stephanie, Tallula is such a beautiful little girl and her happieness shines through. We are really enjoying traveling with you to China on this amazing journey. Can’t wait to see your whole family together:)

  19. My daughter likes to sing also. Her favorite is twinkle twinkle little star but she likes to tease me with Baby Bumble Bee I make a big fuss when she says she’s wiping off her baby bumble bee on her pants.

  20. She is so sweet – I want to come there and hug her!!! đŸ˜€

  21. I have enjoyed sharing in your journey back to China. Tullula is priceless and reminds me alot of our littlest one. She too is one smart cookie and at this point she is speaking better english then her almost 4 year old sister. I forget sometimes she might not understand me. She is a little chatter box. She too was deeply loved by her foster mom and I even questioned if we were doing the right thing by adopting her when we visited the orphanage and witnessed an outpouring of love for our daughter. She was extremely spoiled and after 4 months home she still has a hard time with the word “no”, but she is doing much better excepting it.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Safe travels home…can’t wait to see the whole crew together!! Blessings!!

  22. STEFANIE! I couldn’t pick a favorite photo out of those if I tried!! Beautiful job capturing your beautiful little Tallulah! She looks like such a character! p.s. LOVE that dress she has on!!

  23. Gorgeous gorgeous pictures! I couldn’t help but feel a little sad for her foster family as I read this because they have given Tallula and your family such of a tremendous gift. Speaking of Poppy-how is she doing?

  24. You have another smart (look out :)), beautiful, gem in your family! She is *such* a darling, and how NICE that she had the exceptional foster family that she obviously did. She certainly sounds like a live wire who LOVES life! She will fit right in!!!! Congrats! (And that silk dress is absolutely gorgeous on her!)

  25. Crystal Oh says:

    Her personality literally SHINES in these pictures! What a little blessing she is. I pray your trip continues to go well and her homecoming also.

  26. She is so beautiful! And sounds like a little firecracker!

  27. fantastic photos!!! and those silks are to die for!!! beautiful! i love to follow you in china…but i love most the posts when you arrive home!!!

  28. Beautiful pictures!! I love her!! It would be so wonderful if you could find those songs on a cd to take them home for her. Precious.

  29. Great post! Can’t wait to see pics of her home with all the gang.

  30. bless she looks gorgeous in these pics!! will she be keeping her silks? She is such a gorgeous little girl and i can tell that she is gonna be one very loved little girl.

  31. She is just vibrant! What a lucky Mama you are! :)

  32. I loved her name since you shared it but now, it just seems to fit her more and more as you describe her. What a happy girl!

  33. Oh she just emanates sunshine and joy Stefanie! Gosh her personality reminds me SO MUCH of my little Sunshine. Being so very loved in her foster home meant that she was so quick to love us as well. And so, so happy. Joyful. Vibrant. Absolutely amazing. I see all of that in Tallula’s pictures and your descriptions, just the same as I saw it in my Sunshine. It’s been so fun to vicariously re-live China through you, and the similarities make it even better! God’s blessings and safety on everyone for travel home. I’ll be praying for some beautiful baby sleep on the plane for you!

  34. Love hearing about little Tallula! She is beautiful and you can easily see her personality through the pictures. I do believe that she is the girl version of our little Judd, who we brought home from Inner Mongolia last May. He was 1 1/2, and from the start was loud, funny, full of life, naughty and hungry :). He was, and is, a handful, but we are so thankful that we continually hear reports from people who have interacted with him saying how happy and joyful he is. A blessing! Looking to watch your girl bloom at home also!

  35. I’m so overjoyed for you and your family that I can’t keep the tears from my eyes! Oh how I look forward to seeing Shaiman Island again with my sweet Victoria Wenyuan! How much fun we’ll have with my re-united girls! We’re praying for your safe return home to your waiting family!

  36. April Z. says:

    Tallula is just adorable! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog everyday and seeing the beautiful pictures of your darling girl. It sounds like she is doing so well!! She seems like she has amazing personality.

  37. Stef,
    You are right.. Who needs the red couch! I think these are my favorite China silk photos EVER!!!! It makes me want to go back to photograph my girls again!!!! You have gotten some amazing pictures on this trip!

    I love hearing more about your new little bundle of joy!!! Those last two pics say it all! She looks like so much fun!!!!
    And, I know you will quickly teach her the loving boundaries she needs to be safe, and to make sure the rest of the crew is safe too!! :)

    I am so happy that God has blessed you with another gift and a wonderful trip!!!! I hope Dalton has enjoyed being your co-pilot! What a special trip he has been a part of!

    Blessings to you for safe and un-eventful travels!!! Hopefully, Tallula will find someone interesting to talk to for the long journey to her forever clan!!!!!


  38. Oh my, she’s just scrumptious! Every bit of her! Can’t wait to see her at home with all her siblings and her doting daddy too!

  39. Love her! Beautiful pics! So happy for you all! Cannot wait until she is home with all the LOVE!

  40. She’s soooo beautiful and it sounds like her personality is, too. How awesome that her foster parents loved her so! I bet they are sad right now too, but happy she has a fabulous life with you. I wonder if they will follow the blog?

  41. Our little girl was adopted from Wuhan also, and he SINGS ALL THE TIME too! Especially at bedtime! She is beautiful! Great pictures!!

  42. She is soooooooo adorable! Gorgeous photos!!! LOVE Tullula’s silks:)

  43. Tallula sounds a LOT like my Rachel. She too, was in foster care and I can never say enough about her wonderful foster family. I think the difference between orphanage and foster care makes a HUGE difference in adjustment!

  44. Angie D. says:

    She does seem to shine from the inside out. What a precious child with a spunky personality! So excited for your family and for future pictures of the whole gang!

  45. What a wonderful post and such a special little girl. I’m so happy for you all!!

  46. She is so beautiful and has so much person!laity . Thanks for sharing your journey!

  47. She is so adorable and extremely smart! What a blessing she is and how blessed she is to get into your family! Thanks for sharing!

  48. Meaklims says:

    Does she EVER shine! Oh my!
    This is your best photography to date – incredible picture Stefanie!


  49. Oh my is she just the cutiest thing ever!!! PLEASE take some video of her singing!!! I would love to hear her sing and talk. I bet she sound just like an angel. Have a safe trip home!!! (((hugs)))

  50. She DOES shine! It’s so obvious from your photos. You definitely have a very special and precious little one to add to your family. Congrats!

  51. She is gorgeous! God is awesome!

  52. You did it! Caused the ugly cry. Again.
    What a beautiful story God is unfolding. Your documented insight will be such a sweet gift to Tallula some day. And those pictures … oh those pictures. She has stolen my heart!
    Love & Blessings,

  53. This post brought tears to my eyes. I’m so excited for you guys, and I am so thankful that you’re sharing your journey with us. Tallula is an absolute doll– I am in love with her infectious smile and sparkly eyes!

  54. You are so blessed, Stefanie!! <3

    I hope you have a safe trip home.

  55. What a sweet little girl! God continue to Bless you and your beautiful growing family! I am barely waiting for my first after 6 years of waiting in the NSN line….but I am hearing that we could be in next month’s referral batch or by June for sure! I will definitely read up on your travel tips!
    marsi waiting for Madeline

  56. I’m new to your blog and am in the process of adopting from China. Your new daughter is absolutely gorgeous and you right…she shines and glows or happiness. Your story about how much she was loved literally gave me chills. My first son was adopted from US but did not have anywhere near the love and stability your beauty has had. It’s hard to see them grieve…and yet so refreshing to see a child so loved. Hope you all have safe travels and that you survive your travel “day”. And congratulations!!

  57. aww, what a sweetheart!

  58. What beautiful pictures of your beautiful daughter! She sounds amazing and is such a blessing. Congratulations to you all!

  59. Stef, I showed these pictures of your girl to my husband last night. He replied “Oh my word. She looks like a Chinese Charlotte.” Colleen will tell you that that is a very, very major compliment from Dan. He basically worships the ground our Charlotte walks on. Hoping there’s a precious Tallula-like creature in our future…Charlotte needs a friend her own age around this place. LOVING keeping up with you and your new baby.

  60. What a beautiful post—words, photos, and child.

  61. I’m late to this parade, but OH, she’s a stunner. Gosh- just totally GORGEOUS!!!! And that outfit? WOW.

    She sings? Of course she does. :)

    Honestly, if you take out the name and the pictures of Tallulah, this whole post could have been written about Cooper when we were in GZ. He sang too- happy as a clam from the moment we arrived at the Civil Affairs office to make it official! My love for his foster family burned (and still burns) inside of me when I think of how they taught him how to love, to accept it and give it. It’s a gift I have no way to repay, but it is one of the best gifts I have ever been given. He has always allowed us to snuggle close and comfort him. Part of it is his personality- he’s a toucher and a snuggler. But, I know that if that were denied, he would have surely had dire ramifications form that……..God gave us an amazing gift when He placed Cooper in that amazing Chinese family while he waited for us to come!

    I just want to say thank you again for sharing your story. I remember reading your blog waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy back when it was just (I think just) on the My Adoption Story web site (early 2007). Your story was THE ONE that resonated with me. It’s THE ONE that gave me the courage to say, “I think we could do this too!” It was THE ONE that showed me how beautiful and close to the Father’s Heart adoption really is.

    He called us to adoption before I ever knew adoption blogs even existed. But, once He called and I started looking for info, YOUR story is THE ONE He landed me at first.

    Thank for for your obedience to His calling to share your family’s story! In a very real sense, you are part of the reason we have been blessed with Cooper- and it is an amazing blessing I may never get over! :)

    • NiHaoYall says:

      Wow. I had no idea, Jenna. How cool is it that God uses us – as flawed as we can be – and all He is doing in our lives to encourage others to follow after Him and His purposes? Amazing.
      Thank you for sharing this… blesses my heart!


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