March 17, 2009 was such an amazing day for our family. It is the day I stepped off an airplane with our new daughter, Lilly. I remember going down the escalators to the luggage return and seeing my dear Husband, 3 daughters, grandparents, and a couple others waiting to greet us. Lilly had been so tired after the long trip, but perked right up and was so excited to see Dad again and to meet the others for the first time. There was so much love and excitement. It is hard to believe it has been a year already!
I've been reflecting back on the last year and the time leading up to our adopting Lilly. The months prior to meeting her were filled with excitement and wonder. We were so excited to have found her, we were anxious to meet her, we were in awe at the guidance we received from Heavenly Father that led us together. Of course we were busy out of our minds trying to get all the important necessary documents together. We were nervous to travel (separately) to a country neither of us had ever visited.
Steve's favorite memory of his time in Ghana was staying right at Luckyhill. What a blessing it was to be able to experience firsthand the life our daughter was living. She was happy. She was loved. She was well-cared for. She was being educated. Steve loved to hear the children sing at night after dark when there was nothing else to do because of unreliable electricity. He enjoyed talking to the children at Luckyhill and listening to their dreams and aspirations.
I really enjoyed getting to know Lilly and her family in Ghana. One of the things I love about Ghanaians is their sense of "family". You take care of your "brothers and sisters" even if they are not brothers/sisters in a biological sense. Lilly's birthmother calls me "mother" when we speak on the phone. She always refers to Steve as her "brother".
We are so grateful to the many people who helped us on our adoption journey...from those in the States to those in Ghana.
This year has gone by so fast because we have been so busy. Aside from some of the initial adjustment issues (see this post) http://emettsescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/adjusting-and-bonding.html the transition has gone better than expected. Lilly is such a social butterfly who loves to make friends and meet new people. She is doing very well in school. First term, she had some difficulties with counting and rhyming. We played rhyming games every time we were in the car and she would get so frustrated at "not getting it." I would say: "See rhymes with tree. What else rhymes with tree?" She would ask, "Leaves?" Sierra would shout out "bee, three, free, me!!!" I would tell Sierra to let Lilly try. We would try and try. She finally got it. She is now reading on level and counts to 100 without hesitation. She is good about doing her homework and likes to color.
She loves all American food now, except for her aversion to melted cheese. She has grown so much. She was wearing size 5 when she got here and is now out-growing her size 6X clothes and is ready to move on to 7/8.
We are thankful that we had the courage to listen to the voice of the Spirit telling us we had a child on the other side of the world and feel very blessed to have her in our home. She is worth the mountains of paperwork and the uncomfortable/nervous feelings we had about doing something new. We hope we are the kind of parents she deserves to have. There is something very special about her and we know the Lord has a work for her to do.
I hope someday she will return to her native country and have the opportunity of meeting once again the people who cared for her for many years. Her memory of the language has faded. I bought a journal when she first arrived so we could write down as many of her memories as she cared to talk about. At first, she didn't want to talk about Ghana. I think she just was trying to fit in with her new American lifestyle. But eventually, she would reminisce. We now have several stories in her journal, stories told from a 5 year old point of view. I don't know how accurate some of them are, but it is what she remembers. We wrote them down in hopes that she will always cherish these memories, as they too will fade with time.
Here she is a year ago today.
Here she is today. What a beautiful daughter!
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