In what seems like a blink of an eye, our precious child turned one year on the 10th of August. On her birthday, I fought back tears of joy as I looked at the incredible and miraculous child that not only can crawl but can stand before me.
Why is she so incredible and a miracle you ask? Our answer would be simply because the odds at her birth were not in her favor. She had a Grade IV brain bleed 4 days after she was born. This bleed was serious and affected her quality of life. The first two months of her life were spent hooked up to monitors of all sorts, having oxygen supplied, having a blood transfusion and being on a ventilator with 24 hour a day nursing care. She was so tiny (3 pounds and 11 ounces). You could hold her in one hand and as her grandparents have said many times "she was as light as a feather". Despite all of these issues, she was a beautiful newborn.
The instant we met her, we fell in love with her. There was no turning back ,for this child was our gift from God. I remember not even being able to touch her the 1st time I saw her. I was scared I would hurt her but God gave Jason the strength that I didn't have and he asked the nurse how he could best touch her without putting her in pain. What was amazing was how she responded to his touch instantly and without hesitation. From that moment, we knew that she was definitely meant to be our child. The fact that another woman gave birth to her made no difference to us because she had grown in our hearts for exactly 3 years and 8 months.
I'm not going to say that this last year has been easy because it hasn't. We have had to guard our baby against illness, have her evaluated by specialists, have enrolled her in Physical Therapy and have probably filed more paper than most people will ever see in their lifetimes. On top of all this, we had to adjust to being parents after 12 years of life with just the two of us and our precious pup. All of this was not easy, but in hindsight, we can see how rewarding it has been. I don't regret being home with our daughter for the 1st year of her life at all. I have seen her grow from a teeny, tiny baby to a determined and brilliant crawler/toddler. It has been an exciting year and we can't wait to see what her 2nd year of life will bring.Many people say that she has thrived because of the excellent care that we've given her. That may be part of why but I beg to differ. I think that God gave her a fighting spirit that has enabled her to overcome the odds.
How would I describe our child to someone who doesn't know and love her like we do? I guess I would say that she is just like her Mommy and Daddy. She is stubborn, caring, determined, has the best smile and laugh and is a lot of fun ! Oddly enough, she even resembles us. Some days I look at her and I completely see my husband and other days I see a mini-me. She has the biggest, bluest eyes that I have ever seen ! We couldn't have made a better child for us if we could have done it ourselves.
As we prepare for another meeting with our daughter's birth family, the realization that this child is truly ours has hit home with even more intensity than before. Maybe it's because she is a year old and we feel that she may be more aware that these "strangers" are a part of her family too? I'm not really sure why the intensity is there but it is. We have told our daughter her story many times. At this point,however, she has no understanding of what it means to be "adopted". It is our hope that we have begun to sow the seeds of her personal garden of life. We know that the real challenges of our open adoption arrangement are yet to come.