As fears subside and new routines and comforts settle into the cracks in her 8 year old heart, a newer, truer version of our Lucy Li emerges. These last six months have not at all been easy, but today looks a lot closer to "normal." We have had some behavioral issues, regression, and lots and lots of tears, but it's getting better each day. Bringing home an 8 year old, one might assume that they missed all of the "firsts" and although we missed her first words, first steps, and so many other things, since coming home in September, Lucy has experienced her first trick-or-treating, her first Thanksgiving, first birthday present, and first family Christmas. But beyond the obvious firsts, she's also experienced the first time to be held while she sobbed. The first time to be told her eyes are actually blue and not red, the first time to be told that her white hair is special and beautiful, the first time she got a choice in what she would wear on any given day. Her first bubble bath. First time to dance in her daddy's arms. And her father and I got to be the ones to be there for those things. Every now and then Lucy asks, "Why you not coming when I was one year old? Why you just come when I was seven?" She asks because she knows what we she missed, what we missed, and she wishes it could have been different. "I want to be your tummy baby." she says. I wish that too. I wish more than anything that I could have been there from the beginning. I may never understand exactly why their stories and mine merged, but I am forever thankful for the honor of being mommy to them.
"The change is incredible," she remarked. Between the typical post placement chats about growth charts, language acquisition, and age appropriate play, my very fair daughter and my sweet brown sugar baby snuck into our booth to steal kisses from me, request chicken nuggets, and ask for assistance in opening their new hot wheels car. Nothing notable, unless of course these simple acts of dependance and affection are actually miraculous when coming from children from hard places. I was home base, and that didn't come instantly, or easily. But somewhere between the cries met with comfort and the simple, every day adorations, my two littlest birds learned that under my wings, they will find shelter, their needs will be met, they are important, amazing, loved, and mine. I could go on about the particular challenges and milestones met to get here, but I've got my hands full over here.