Monday, May 03, 2010

One year ago today....

two women from the orphanage in Kunming City brought a scared and very tan-faced little girl to our hotel room. That day was the day we really learned what love was. This little girl was 13-months old, small, way too skinny, dressed in too many layers of clothing, sucking her thumb, wide eyed with tears, and holding a sucker. Little did this girl, named Xi Ming Zhen, know what was going on or how her world was going to change. Little did she know how she was going to change the lives of the two strangers she met that day. Here's our very first picture of Cassie on gotcha day, taken just seconds after she walked into our world.



Today that same little girl is a different child. She's now 25-months old, tall, the proper weight, has the longest legs, the most beautiful smile, is happy, content, and insists on picking out her own clothes. She loves the color pink, loves her stuffed animals, thinks it's a big deal to nap in her big-girl-bed, loves her new sister, and just the past week will call me mama. We have taken the long road with Cassie on attachment issues -- we have had many of them and still are working on a few. Cassie still has a hard time expressing her anger and frustration in an acceptable way to mama and dada; she still has a hard time being around too many people or being around any new people. She doesn't like routine changes either and definitely has a Type-A personality. On the flip side, Cassie has come so far in these areas in the past year. It's amazing to think back on the night terrors, the clinging, the biting, the sobbing when I left the room, and compare that to the girl Cassie is today. I would say 80% of these behavior's are gone and we are working everyday to help Cassie learn to be more comfortable in her new surroundings and how to express herself.

Cassie has amazing climbing and balance skills, knows at least 150 words, is getting pretty good at stringing words together, knows what she wants and can sometimes tell us exactly what she wants, gives the best hugs, and if I'm very lucky she even gives kisses out once a day -- on the lips -- which is new for her. Kissing on the lips has been a big step for Cassie, as she has a hard time being that intimate and vulnerable. Having a new sister has really helped in this area. The trip back to China was the best thing for Cassie. We were scared to take her back so soon, as we didn't know what the sights, sounds, and smells of China would do to her. She had a ball there and in fact I think it helped with her attachment issues. In China and once home she seems to know that Sonny and I are her parents. She trusts more, smiles more, and calls us by name more. These are all positive steps towards learning that mama and dada are going to be her parents forever and ever. I really think she gets it now. She sees the 4 of us as family.

I can't believe that this child is the same one we met one year ago.

9 comments:

3peas1pod said...

Congratulations! Such a miracle to watch them grow and change!

Dana said...

Oh that Cassie girl is so adorable! I was just getting my One Year post together and saw yours. It makes me cry how far these girls have come. It has been an amazing year for all of us! Makenna calls me Mama all the time now too. It may be one of the few words she can say but I think it is the best one:)

Melissa said...

How wonderful to hear about Cassie's milestones and reflect back. I am so happy that completing your family has really helped you all to become closer. She really has grown both physically and emotionally. I can't believe it has already been a year.

Michele M said...

Congrats...it's amazing how quickly the year goes...I know too well.

She has come a long way and is such a beauty!

Lesa said...

It is so hard to believe it has been a year and one day now.
I'll never forget your BIG day.
She certainly has grown!!!

LynnieB said...

Can't believe it has been a year. She has blossomed into a confident, happy, beautiful little girl!

Cynthia said...

Boy that year sure did go fast. It is amazing and absolutely wonderful how far she has come in 1 short year. Your post brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am so thrilled for you and your wonderful family. Isn't it wonderful when dreams come true??

Heather Hale said...

Oh, Sherry, your post really made me think. Does Emmalyne see us as another semi-permanent placement? I mean, she was with her foster family from 2 weeks old until 20 months old. When will she know it's forever? I'm so happy for you, and I'm so happy for Cassie that she's starting to feel safe and to know she has her very own family now. And as always, thanks for being a mentor to me. :)

Amy, Jeff, LM, & Ashton said...

I LoVE these then and now posts. Isn't it just amazing. I'll tell you what -- if someone ripped me out of the home I knew, put me in China with people i didn't know, food i didn't know, and a language I didn't speak, I think i'd not be smiling.... Talk about the brilliance of his light in the amazing wonderment of resilience in our children... :)
thanks for sharing..