On this day last year we were getting the girls! It was the 12th here in America but it was the 13th in Lanzhou, China. Here I posted about my feelings that morning when I woke up before we got them that night. Here I posted about our first moments with them. Wow, I still remember it like yesterday!
Here they are on the first night. Already ours....
I can remember walking in that hotel lobby to my little Lily (I purposely went to her first) and kneeling in front of her blank face and loving on her. I have loved Lily since the summer of 2010 when I first met her. God placed her in our family. No doubt. No matter what challenges we have, I have never found it difficult to love Lily. She has my heart forever.
And then turning to grab my little Po out of the Chinese lady's arms. I cannot describe the feeling. You know I had always wondered what I would think when they handed her to me. Would she smell weird? Would I feel uncomfortable (kinda like when you are asked to hold someone's baby for a moment while the mom does something...and you don't really want the baby to drool on you or grab your face!)? NO NO NO! I grabbed her and held her as if I just gave birth to her and the doctor was placing her on my chest. Oh my little Po. You have won everyone's heart!!
This was the first moment Husband met Po!
So it's been a year! One year since these little Chinese twerps (as Husband affectionately calls them) became grafted into the Hook family! As I made a collage of photos from our China trip last week, I saw photos of us before we got them and I just thought how weird it looked. Three kids. Whew. That was easy!!! My friend Adri who went with us last year has always said, "I cannot imagine your family without them." And she is right. They are 100% Hooks now. It didn't take a year though....a moment.
Hope came to us at 14 months old after living in an orphanage since she was abandoned just days old. She couldn't sit up by herself. She could barely roll over on her tummy. She would barely push up on her knees sometimes and rock gently while saying "ya ya ya ya ya" and soothe herself to sleep. She would suck her thumb through the giant hole in her face connecting her mouth and nose. She was emotionless. Never crying. Never whining. But she stared straight in our eyes, as if she knew we loved her!!! Oh PO!!!
Little Xiaodan admiring her new admirer.
Now Po toddles and runs around the house sqwaking and imitating sounds she hears. She cannot talk that well, she is delayed in speech due to having the cleft lip and mouth. Children usually always need speech therapy to learn how to pronounce words correctly. She can say some words perfectly like no, mama : ), Ei Ei O, and Hey! She can sign and mumble more when she is hungry.
Po is sweet as pie!!! She rivals Rob in sweetness so she must take after Husband. She is spunky and will fight for her freedom when a big sibling is trying to make her do something she doesn't want to, but oh she is sweet. She loves music. She can hum tunes to LOTS of songs correctly. Songs we didn't even know she knew! Chinese genius, I tell ya! And I think she will have grand musical ability and we will be able to say, Oh when she was born she had a cleft lip and palate and the doctors said she would always need speech therapy..... Can't you see it???
Lily's came to us at 9 and half years old. She had lived in the same orphanage (that we know of) all her life after she was abandoned a couple of months old. We expected her to be shy and quiet and mentally challenged. We knew that she was able to learn a bit after spending a week at her orphanage, but we didn't know how much of her mind was sound. But it was ok...we didn't care. On day two we realized she surpassed every expectation we had. She was LOUD, WILD, A TOTAL SHOW OFF, HAPPY, FUN-SEEKING, and eager to learn.
Lily on the school bus after a field trip to a retirement center to sing Christmas carols!
In the year we've had her Lily has learned how to speak English amazingly. She knows her numbers, letters, and colors. She can write and she is now learning blends and reading three letter words with help. Lily's hair has indeed grown (we didn't know if it would, but now we realize they just kept it shaved) and she has grown ALMOST TWO INCHES. Lily is still extremely small for her age. She is the size of a 4 or 5 year old and she is now 10 and a half. But she doesn't care and neither do we. She's growing and that is a good thing.
Lily's main challenge in life will not be education or height, but emotional development and attachment. We have made leaps and bounds over the year but her wounds are deep. She has still got a tremendous wall built up around herself concerning me. I suppose it will takes her a while to release all the hurt she has felt from receiving no nurture. I feel very sad for all she has endured in her life. But we have provided such a loving and free environment for her over this past year that she has zero fear. She found a good home. God knew.
One day when Lily is traveling the world on behalf of orphans and telling her story, she will be able to tell of how God restored her life and rescued her from a lifetime of loneliness and sadness. I will be on the front row smiling!
I can only imagine me sitting down next year to post of all the great things that this year will bring! God is good. Adoption remains to me the greatest thing anyone can do in life! Our lives are so blessed because of Lily and Hope. Every day is a new adventure.
Fun at Disneyworld.
Po learning how to drive....Chinese genius.
Johnny and Lily have the most fun.
Christmas light cruising.
Po keeps us all young.
the twins sleeping. this is Lily's favorite place on weekends.
The twins picnic
Po and her cousin shared a birthday party.
Lily and her sweet uncle.
Lily sleeping with her grandparents at Christmas!
They give the best pedicure!
Rob loves his Po.
Po and Lily help around the house!
Po helps daddy decorate for LSU games.
Daddy and his girls
Po and her flamingo friend
Po has learned how to escape the crib!