But we have some celebrating to do in the next few days.
One year ago today, we met Xiao Ya for the first time. We can't go into the details because of how it all went down and who was involved. But I'll say this -- it was very clear that we had been waiting for our new daughter longer than she had been waiting for us. And while she was a natural charmer, the stealer of the scene, the life of the party, we would have to spend some time selling a tough customer on what we had to offer.
I think we did.
One year ago, we were strangers except for a few photographs that let Xiao Ya see what we looked like and vice versa. We were first-time parents, and she didn't know what parents were. She spoke not a word of English, had met few men, and had experienced an extraordinary amount of medical attention for someone her age.
Today, she is 3.5 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier and pushes her way through clothing and shoe sizes on a regular basis. She knows all of her letters forward and backward, is pronouncing sounds and words more clearly every day, and still surprises us with a phrase here and there. (Ok: "Oh, man!" NOT ok: "What the hell?") While we can only hope we are investing the right kind of time and energy into giving our daughter a good set of values, we already know she is a kind and thoughtful person who cares about the needs of others. We have started weekly Mandarin classes and are considering soccer.
In the past year, we dragged Xiao Ya halfway across the country and up the East Coast nearly a dozen times and introduced her to a vast army of new friends and family members. (She seems better at remembering names and faces than I am...) We have made new adult friends because of her child friends, run into adoptive families in the strangest places, and even recently caught up with one of her little friends from Harmony House who now lives nearby in Virginia!
Ya Ya is much too young to know the intricacies of her adoption story just yet. But she has learned, from her books and our stories and the living examples around her, that families come in many different shapes and sizes and from many different places. Twelve months into this crazy adventure, we couldn't be more pleased at what she has added to our family.
P.S. We're also far, far behind on pictures from the holidays...