Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One year!

I'll warn you right from the start that this post may (read: will) be heavy with photos and most of the photos will be doing the talking.  Today, marks one year with our precious Stella Claire! What an amazing milestone to finally be reaching.  I woke up though, wondering why I wasn't filled with joy.  Believe me, I'm so happy, very happy, that Stella has been with us a year.  As I got to thinking about these mixed emotions this morning over my tea, it really hit me how bittersweet this anniversary is for all of us.  Gotcha Day or Family Day, is a wonderful day, but it is also filled with heartache, confusion and just plain grief over leaving all that you have known.  As parents, we go into the day with anticipation of finally holding the child we have longed for in our arms.  That moment comes and then we are switched from the joyous moment, to the comforters of the child who has come to us with nothing - except the memories of everything that just was.  We are strangers.  Can you imagine being comforted by a stranger? The time that trauma takes to heal, through lots of prayer, lots of creative parenting, and lots of love is for us close to a year.  A year.  I can now say that our little girl loves us.  We've always loved her (from that first photo of a 6 month old baby with the biggest brown eyes), but there have been times this year when it's been hard to pour out that love.  Loving someone, opening your heart to them - just takes lots of time.  We have arrived.  Praise!

Last year - this was shortly after we met Stella and her nanny in the hotel lobby.

 Oh my - just look at that sweetness! Mama had a new cup to give her and food was the way to her heart (kind of still is!).  Our meeting came with smiles, no forceful placements into my arms.  We took our time and got to know each other until it was time to take her up to our room.  Then the tears came... Thankfully she was easily comforted and went into full on play mode.

This window - I'll always remember as a place of comfort for the both of us.

Wiped out finally from all the day brought to her.  She was so heavy, but it was the best feeling holding her sleeping in my arms.

And NOW! Just look at this thriving little girl! We missed her second birthday by just a week so this year we celebrated big (like the 1st, 2nd and 3rd birthdays combined big!!!).  Stella Claire is so loved and a cherished daughter.  I took these pictures of her today - 3 years old now - she's grown so much this past year.  We are so very thankful to New Day for her care before God brought us together.  Because she knew love, she has opened her heart to love again.

Presenting - the many faces of our beautiful girl:

Happy one year together!