Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cinderella Story

I was shocked when in the winter of 2005, my parents told us at dinner that they wanted another child. I was the youngest, but being twelve, I never thought I would have a younger sibling. However the thought of adopting a baby girl from China immediately sounded amazing to me. I dreamed of having a little sister. I dreamed of her in a pink tutu, as every big sister does. We started the adoption a few months later and it wasn't long before we were logged in. On July 25, 2006, 2 little pictures changed my life forever. It was a typical summer day when a Virginia area code showed up on our caller ID... and it wasn't my aunt. Long story short, there was an eight month old baby girl at Chenzhou SWI who needed a family. I now look back and realize how amazing this day really was. Just a week after being added to the Interested Families list, we were being called with a referral... now it takes much longer and people are waiting over a year... and that's considered short. Anyway. It was that moment that changed my life. My mom called me down, but I already knew what she was going to say. We couldn't wait for the email... fifteen minutes didn't come soon enough. Finally the email came through, and we looked into the sweet eyes of AnnaClaire Chenhui. For four months, those two pictures were all we knew... and some how every day I found myself more and more in love. For those four months, I lived and breathed through those pictures. I once again dreamed of her in pink tutus with a big bow. All I ever thought about was AnnaClaire. She was constantly on my mind and I couldn't think of anything without her popping into my head. I don't think I could have beared another day without her. Luckily, God has perfect timing and on December 7, 2006, we boarded a plane to Beijing. The following days were incredible. Beijing is a beautiful place, and one I will never forget. However, sightseeing didn't even matter. No matter how hard I tried to enjoy the beautiful landmarks of Beijing, my mind could only go to Monday. I pictured and replayed images in my head of how our "gotcha" moment would happen. However that Monday, December 11, 2006, none of those images actually happened. Our gotcha moment was so different than what I thought or expected... but it was perfect. A little after 4 P.M. on that day, Xun Hui was ours. The rest of our trip wasn't so easy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. As you probably know by now, AnnaClaire attached very quickly to Dad. This made everything difficult and I can just remember Mom and I trying to console her in the hotel room, to no avail, whenever Dad wasn't there. However, we survived and had an amazing trip that I would not trade for anything. Coming home was bittersweet, as arriving home just before midnight did not keep our family and friends away. When we got to our house,it was decorated and food filled. Our Christmas was hectic, arriving home just five days before. That Christmas honestly didn't feel like Christmas at all. God had already given us the best gift of all, two weeks early. The months flew by and AnnaClaire grew and grew. She started accepting everyone. Her transition really was easy and I am SO thankful for that! She picked up on words so fast and I was amazed every time she said something, how a sweet baby could go from 13 months of only hearing Chinese to speaking English in just a few months. She experienced so many new firsts, which I cannot even begin to list. Her life was drastically changed, but she was not the only one. My heart grew about a million times as big as it was. Every day I fell more and love with my little princess, the beautiful girl that God blessed our family with. My love for her continues. It is still hard for me to fathom that it has been over fifteen months since our bundle of love was placed in our arms. It still seems unreal that she was ever not a part of my life. She has changed my life so much. She has grown leaps and bounds and I cannot believe she was ever a baby. She never stops talking... or kissing, for that matter! :) She is SO full of love and joy and she only reaches it out to others. I literally hold her and never want to put her down, because she is so amazing, so beautiful, so loving. She is so fun to be around. She's so funny, too. She is always saying the funniest things and we are constantly laughing at her. I love everything about her. It's really hard for me to believe that two years ago, she was an orphan... a four month old baby waiting in an orphanage. How did my spoiled, dramatic, princess ever live in an orphanage? It really is hard for me to believe that. I cannot tell you how much I love her. Everything about her, I just love. The way she has memorized practically every single book, the way she kisses, the way she reacts when she experiences something new, the way she sings "Jesus Loves You" and "I Love You" (especially when we get to the we're a happy family part; how true!) and just everything. One of my favorite parts of the day is when she just wakes up from her nap. I walk in and she has a huge smile on her face and is either standing and saying, "WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!" or laying and laughing at herself. I get her out and still smiling, she always tells me something (Yesterday it was "Nope poopies, I didn't go poopies.... SISSY PLEASE CHANGE POOPIES!") She is always happy, but I especially love her joy when she wakes up. Yesterday, I got her out of the crib, and she informed me that she wanted to listen to "Cinderella song!" (As I mentioned, she has this thing with that song and she wants to listen to it over and over again.) So we went in my room and turned it up really loud and I showed her how to dance to it. All of a sudden it dawned on me that we had a tutu that might fit her now. I found it and sure enough, it fit. For the next two hours, we played Cinderella song over and over and danced again and again. (and did makeup, too.) Finally I got my dream... my princess in her tutu. As I watched her dancing, full of joy, it dawned on my that dreams really do come true... just look at AnnaClaire. She's my princess, my very own Cinderella. And I love her so much.


Katie said...

How sweet! I love your heart and your love for your sweet little sister. What a blessing you are to all of us who read your blog. So sweet!

Lexie said...

Aww!! That was so sweet!
When you said something about "...every girl dreaming of their lil sister in a tu tu...." you are SO right! I dream of Karleigh Mei in a tu tu!

I can't WAIT to see what other lil girl the Lord has in store for you...and of course...I can't wait to see who the Lord has for me toO! haha!!