Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Unforgetable Year

As we say goodbye to 2011, I am amazed at how my life has changed. I stand amazed daily at what God can do in our lives. I think that is what is exciting as we move into 2012. God is already there. He knows what will happen. He has a plan for us. 2011 started with a wonderful phone call on January 5th. It was our first day back to work from Christmas break and after faculty meeting I got the best phone call. We had made the first batch to be submitted for EP! We knew we would be on our way to our girl soon. February came and we got on the big blue plane and headed to South Korea to meet our daughter.
Yes, that is Olivia 10 1/2 short months ago. It is hard to believe that is the same child. I was terrified. I knew God didn't lead us this far, across the world, to steer us wrong. She was so blank. So lifeless. With faith, we returned on the 16th for one last meeting before Olivia was ours forever. That meeting went better, but I was still nervous. She wanted NOTHING to do with us.
Her little eyes look so sad. Her little heart has had so much heartbreak in such a short time. It hurts me more now to think about it then it did at that time, and it hurt a lot then. I hate to think that her fostermom is missing her today as they are bringing in 2012. I wonder how her birth mother feels. Does she have a peace about Olivia. I wish she knew how happy Olivia is today and how much we love her. I had no idea I could love her this much!!!
We made it home and began to adjust as a new family. Uncharted territory for all of us. Olivia had new everything! New sounds, smells, language, clothes, food, parents. You name it, and it was new. We had a grieving child. Days and nights passed and slowly we made progress. We stuck together as a team, and all grew together. There were many hard days. I have not spoken much on here about it because that is somewhat private. However, adoptive mama's, you know what I am talking about. It's just hard. She came home and was essentially a mobile infant. We were starting from scratch. We slowly began to see some personality come through.
Olivia began understanding us and slowly started to let us into her heart. I also allowed her to enter mine.
We moved from cold winter to spring and well, that just helps everything, right? We found Olivia loves the outdoors. I quickly learned that she must not have ever felt wind in her face as she was terrified the first time. We played outside, planted flowers, and continued to grow as a family.
By April we allowed people to hold her, but that was it. It wasn't until I returned to work in August that she stayed with anyone aside from me or John---and it was Grammy and Grampy, so that was a huge relief!
I wish I knew when it happened, but I don't. Even sitting here looking back at the thousands of pictures, I can't pinpoint when I fell in love. I can't imagine her not being here. I can't imagine a day without her. She is such a joy! She is sassy, funny, spunky, loving, cuddly, and darn near perfect in her mama's eyes (as long as she isn't having a throw down fit--not my child, right?!)
Early June, we planned a quick trip to Gatlinburg to spend a weekend at Dollywood. We thought that would make a great first getaway. Unfortunately, Olivia came down with her first illness since being home. We decided we probably shouldn't take our child that was on an inhaler and multiple antibiotics out of town.
I quickly learned that Olivia is not barely sick. If she is sick, she is down for the count.
Her birthday came in the summer, and we celebrated red, white, and blue style.
We enjoyed long summer days out at the pool, time with friends, and time with family. I tried to soak up every second. I think I remember saying repeatedly this past summer that it was the best summer ever. We didn't do anything fancy, and we didn't need to. We had all we needed right here with us.
Fall came, and it was time to head back to work. This was very hard for me. Olivia and I had literally been inseparable since she came home in February and I didn't want to leave her. Well, it was time, and we made it! She has done great! We took a short weekend trip to Fall Creek Falls and this was Olivia's first overnight trip anywhere. We were a bit nervous, but she did great!
In October, we enjoyed a great trip to the beach with our friends Ashley, Brandon, and Everley.
It was spur of the moment, but it was very needed and wonderful. Finally, the end of October meant that it was the beginning of the holiday season. John, for some reason, had really looked forward to Halloween with Olivia. We carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, and went trick-or-treating.
I am already looking forward to this next year of holidays to do the fun stuff again. She will understand more and hopefully we can do more! I hope we get to go out to a pumpkin patch and do fun things like that!! By November we were past ready to finalize, but had been waiting on paperwork and a court date.
Luckily, we got one on November 18th. I was excited that we got that day because it was 9 months to the day of us being home with her. That same weekend, Olivia was baptized.
What a wonderful weekend. Our family was able to share in both days. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanksgiving seemed special to have that extra seat filled at the dinner table. Olivia and Annelyn ran around and played while I cooked. Olivia loves to be with her cousin!
Last but not least, we began the Christmas season once the table was cleaned from lunch on Thanksgiving (ok, maybe not that fast...) Olivia enjoyed getting presents from the elves prior to Christmas. She sings "Away in a Manger" and has sweet hand motions, and she loves to hold Baby Gigi (Baby Jesus). She got to help bake cookies with Grammy and Annelyn which is a tradition that has been as long as I can remember. We enjoyed Annelyn's Christmas play and I got 'sewing for a sibling' up and running with holiday orders.
Even though she seemed overwhelmed on Christmas Day, she seemed to really get the hang of it and had fun.
So, here we are, one year later.....these are just the highlights.
I can't help but wonder where we will be this time next year. I am so excited to soak up more time with Olivia over the next year. Will we have a face to put with our prayers? Will Olivia be a big sister in the waiting???? One thing is for sure, we will tackle this next year as a family. That seems to be working for us. :) I can't wait to make more memories. Happy New Year!!!! Thank you for reading about us, praying for us, and traveling the wonderful adventure called life with us.

1 comment:

  1. I have loved following your adoption journey this year and watching her blossom into a vibrant little girl. She has a beautiful smile!!! She is just delightful!