Every time I've given birth, I've been amazed by how much our children change during the first year of life. From being completely helpless, needy infants to toddling, babbling one-year-olds, it is amazing to watch these changes take place in a matter of 365 days.
I didn't give birth to Jenna and sadly missed out on the first 2 1/2 years of her life, but as I sit here reflecting on this year with Jenna, I'm simply amazed by all God is doing in her life.
Last year when Jenna turned three, she didn't seem to know what was going on as we celebrated her life. But this year, HOLY COW...the girl knows it's her birthday and is E-X-C-I-T-E-D about turning four! It warms my heart to see her get so excited about having a party with preschool friends. And what a special blessing it was when she watched me decorate her cake and quietly said, "Wow...thank you Momma!" No joke...brought me to tears...happy tears. It's as if she's finally realizing that she is truly loved, cherished, and celebrated.
Jenna is blossoming into a beautiful little girl, inside and out. She loves to give people hugs and smiles all the time. She is super silly and has a great laugh. She's learning SO MUCH, she loves preschool, and her language has sky-rocketed...she talks non-stop!!! Jenna is full of energy and loves playing with her big brothers and sister--jumping on the trampoline, playing UNO, coloring, and dressing up in princess costumes are a few of her favorite activities. She prefers to have things in order and exerts her strong will when things are "out of sorts." Jenna makes me laugh, she makes me cry, and she makes me all the more amazed by the beauty of adoption.
I often look into Jenna's deep, dark eyes and wonder how I have been blessed to be her mom.
I often watch her sleep and cry tears of sorrow knowing that for 2 1/2 years of her life, she didn't have anyone to read book to her or say prayers with her at night.
I often hear her say, "I love you, Momma" and my heart rejoices in the fact that she knows she is loved, too.
I often watch her run into her daddy's arms and thank God for how she's grown to love and trust him.
I often listen to her laughing with her older brothers and sister and tears of joy fill my eyes.
I often touch her dry, scaly skin and thank God for the beautiful miracle that she truly is.
And I often think about Jenna's birthmother who is far away in China and will never have the joy of these experiences with her daughter. To this woman I am forever thankful and pray she never gives up believing that her child is LOVED!
Jenna, it's been an absolutely amazing year watching you change and grow in so many ways. You have brought so much joy to our family, and I hope you always know how much you are loved. When I consider all that you've been through in four short years, I'm amazed by how brave, courageous, and strong you are. It breaks my heart that there are millions of children around the world that are living in orphanages like you did for the first 2 1/2 years of your life. I know one day I'll get to share your adoption story with you, and I pray that when that time comes, you will understand on an even deeper level how much you are loved by your family but most of all by your Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of our daughter Jenna. Thank you for rescuing her four years ago when she was left by her courageous birthparents who wanted the best for their baby girl. Thank you for the loving caregivers at the orphanage who cared for Jenna during the first 2 1/2 years of her life. Thank you for allowing Jason and I to become her mommy and daddy. Thank you for giving Jenna a sister and brothers that love her. Thank you for the joy and laughter she brings to our family. Thank you, Father, for how you are working in all of our lives to show us more of who you are and how you have adopted us into your family. I pray Jenna will become a follower of you at an early age and glorify you with her life. AMEN.