Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The 2nd birthday of 2012

I mentioned last month that our daughters all have birthdays this time of year. We had another one last week; our middle daughter turned 7.

She didn't get a post dedicated to her yet because we spent the entire day of her birthday trying to fly out of a city that was in the midst of a blizzard (we did eventually get a flight) and then we were vacationing and not blog-posting.
The birthday girl at the airport.

What can we tell you about this darling girl?  She is a delight.  Truly.  Many people will refer to a child as sweet, but this girl really lives up to the adjective.  She's caring.  She feels things deeply. She is emotional.  She can turn on the tears faster than most people can blink.  And when she does, it's not fake.  The tears are genuine - and SO BIG!  She's easily upset, and easily pleased.  She wants everyone to be happy.  She could spend complete days giving hugs.  She must be holding a hand, sitting on a lap or putting an arm around someone at all times.  A goodnight kiss is not enough for her.  She needs multiple kisses and wants to always give one more hug - then one more kiss - then another hug... You get the idea.  She gives compliments easily and naturally.  She loves to show - and be shown - affection.  She never can be satisfied with just sitting next to you; she has to pretty much be climbing on you to be comfortable.

5 months old

Very often, at Mass, she will discreetly take one of my hands - and then one of Mark's hands - and put them together.  She just feels better when people who love one another are touching in some way.  This also comes into play during our school day; she insists that she can subtract much better if I am scratching her back while she works!
Going to preschool - age 4

When it comes down to it, she is - simply - peaceful and loving.  She always has been - and we expect she always will be.  Perhaps it's good that she can be an instrument of peace between her older and younger sisters (who both have personalities stronger than steel).  Her very presence has meant peace to our family from the first moment we knew of her existence.

A very sweet 2 year old.

We have had the incredible blessing of 2 adoptions.  This newly turned 7 year old girl is our 2nd child and our 2nd adoption.  When we found out about her we had been waiting nearly 5 years for another child.  We had about 6 weeks to prepare for her arrival, which was plenty - we'd have been ready for her in less than a minute.  The only tricky part was keeping the news from our nearly 5 year old.  You see, 6 months before we'd had a newborn placed with us for several days, but then returned to her birth mother before the adoption was final. We didn't want our oldest daughter to have to suffer through that kind of loss again, so we kept the news of a "possible" new baby sister from her.  All was proceeding smoothly, until about 2 weeks before the expected due date, when we had a fire in our kitchen.  The fire itself wasn't terrible, but the resulting damage was extensive enough that we had to move out of our house for a week. We worried about the baby coming early and not having a home to bring her to.  It was a crazy time, but we did get back in the house before she was born.  We were also able to whisk our older daughter off to my parent's house for a few days so that we could finalize all the legal issues before having her meet her new sister.  The actual adoption process went as hoped and just 3 days after her birth, our 2nd daughter was home with us - in a totally clean, repainted house - thanks to our homeowner's insurance :)

In the hospital nursery (1 day old).  The nursery had 2 rocking chairs that we sat in more or less 'round the clock until the court proceedings occurred that allowed us to take her home.

As an adoptive family, it's impossible to think about the adoption without thinking of the birth family. All children are gifts - of course - but when another human person is involved in the gift-giving, it's extraordinarily profound. Our daughter's birth family made a choice that has such far-reaching implications.  Not only did we gain a daughter, our oldest child became a big sister, our parents welcomed a grandchild, and on and on.  An almost unthinkably difficult - but ultimately loving and unselfish decision - changed countless lives.  We're not birth parents who've placed a child for adoption, so we can't begin to imagine what that is like, but we are forever grateful and pray that her birth family is at peace.

Halloween - age 5.

So back to our birthday girl... she is obviously a joy to us.  No child is perfect, but she's pretty easy. We joke that of our 3 daughters, this one may be with us for the long haul!  She goes back and forth between saying that she'll live with us forever - or that she'll build a house next to us.  Just last week at the post office, the clerk gave both of the younger girls stickers that look sort of like stamps.  The girls both stuck the stickers on their coats and then the clerk asked where they would like to "send themselves."  Daughter #3 (the one who turned 6 last month) immediately piped up and said, "first I'll go to Rome, then to Mexico, then to Grandma and Grandpa's town."  Our sweet birthday girl just said, "I'll get sent home to Mama and Daddy."

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