Sunday, March 6, 2011

Six Months

Six months ago today, Brandon and I paced nervously in a hotel room in Guangzhou, China. We made the bed. Straightened the nightstands. Hid the luggage in the bathroom. Cleared off the desk. Tried to watch TV on one of the three English language channels provided, waiting anxiously for the moment that would change our family's life and that of an orphan's forever. In our minds we pictured a scared little girl. A quiet, reserved, scared little girl with speech delays, developmental delays related to three years spent in an orphanage, and who may be painfully small for her age, as many Chinese orphans are. A little girl with chicken pox, who may feel feverish and itchy and be quiet and cuddly like my other kids are when they feel sick. She may want nothing to do with mom and dad for a few days, and we may not be able to get her to eat anything but rice.

The phone rang. The little three year old orphan was on her way up to our room with her entourage.

But it wasn't an orphan that we met that day in that hotel room in China.

It was our daughter.
And after a couple of short moments of hesitation on her part, we were her mommy and daddy.
Instead of speech delays, Emerson chattered non-stop in Mandarin to everyone she saw.
Instead of developmental delays, she appeared to be a completely normal three year old.
Painfully small for her age? Nope. On the day we got her, Emerson was the size of a normal American three year old. It's likely that she was actually big for her age for a Chinese child.

Instead of a picky eater, the girl joyfully eats almost everything put in front of her, including but not limited to, soup, grits, squash, refried beans, and salad.* (*Five foods our other children will not touch with a ten foot pole.)

The chicken pox appeared unnoticed by our newest daughter, except for a couple of itchy moments over the following days.

And quiet and reserved? Not for a second. God did not give us an orphan six months ago, He gave us a daughter, and she was as chattery and outgoing as any of our other kids have ever been from the get go.

A sassy daughter, who loves to wear big hair bows and skirts and pose for pictures.

Some days are easy, others are definitely rough. As time goes by, the good days are outweighing the rough days more and more. Six months later, the orphan who chattered non-stop in Mandarin has transformed into a little girl who speaks mostly English now, who loves to color, talk on the phone, play with her siblings, and pray at bedtime. We hardly even notice the birth defect in her mouth, the cleft palate that qualified her as "special needs" and allowed us to bring her home much faster than had she been "healthy". Sometimes God's gifts look like mistakes and imperfections, but she could not be more perfect for us.

I am so, so thankful for the gift she has been to our family, and I still can't believe sometimes how she just fits. The personality, the sass, the bad teeth, the affinity for Mexican food. She just fits in with the rest of us as if she was born to be our daughter.
And, bless her heart, she has the same horrible dance moves as the rest of us too.
We love you so, so much, Emerson, and we're so thankful that God picked us to be your parents. I wouldn't trade these last six months for the world.


Adrienne said...

Thanks for a good Sunday morning cry! I needed that. :)

We are so thankful the Lord chose to bring Emerson into your lives and ours.

Emily said...

I was fighting back tears, too, I'm so happy for her and for y'all! I hope the years to come are as happy and full of blessings as these last six months have been- as I know they will be!

Janna, Brennan, Lyndlee and Gavin said...

beautiful post, beautiful family :)

Anonymous said...

She wasn't adopted.... It was just an unusually long gestation period.... And, worth the wait... I'm sure glad you went through all of that...

Ang Stoltzfus said...

she is so stinkin cute! & it is amazing to see how seemlessly she blends into your family! her & jyla seem to be opposites.. i hope that they can get to know each other some day. 6 months! can you even believe it?? some days it feels like it's been 6 yrs. =)) we are forever grateful for our time in China & that you all were a part in it! out of our whole group..we both went to guangzhou & then we both stayed at the same (not as popular) hotel & both know the Lord. sovereignty? i think so!
we think of you guys so often. & love you much.

Brand al Thor said...