We spent this weekend reminiscing. A lot.
It was 10 years ago that we were in China for the first time. Holding a feisty, determined, pint-sized survivor, with a half-dollar sized hole in her heart.
I still remember how it felt as those last moments inched by before I would finally become her mama: standing in a smoke-filled room, my ears filled with sounds of a language I didn’t understand, my sweaty palm clutching a frayed referral picture of a tiny baby.
And waiting, waiting, waiting to be handed that very baby, who was to be my baby from that moment into forever.
When she was placed into my arms, by a nanny she clearly had no attachment to, she was silent and stony-faced. I held her, studied her and snuggled her. Then came the tears.
The first sounds I ever heard my daughter utter were steady, soft sobs.
I’ve shared here before that, as a rule, we don’t celebrate gotcha day. Instead, we take the opportunity to talk about these first days, and how our family was formed, and then follow each child’s lead for how they want to spend the day. Or not, if they prefer.
This year, Isabelle’s eyes lit up when I reminded her of the day that was approaching. She was surprised that it had been 10 whole years (her words) since we became a family.
The next thing out of her mouth was, “Can we go to McDonalds and can I get a Happy Meal?”
We did and she did (big kids meal because girl can eat). Just a trip to McDonalds with her family surrounding her, and she was simply joyful.
We also, at her request, took some pictures to mark the day. With her favorite dog, in her second favorite dress. The one she wanted to wear was a long-sleeved sweater dress.
Isabelle is great at a lot of things – drawing, cooking, inventing – but clothes-picking is not her forté.
So very thankful that, at least this year, we were able to do something on this day that she really wanted to do, that brought her joy.
I know one day she may ask to do things we can’t do or have questions we can’t answer.
And so grateful to have a chance to look back and see what 10 years looks like.
From here, it looks breathtakingly beautiful.