It is hard for me to believe that exactly one year ago today, I walked into the Civil Affairs Office in Changsha, China to meet my daughter for the very first time. A day I had anticipated for just about five years, was finally happening and the amount of emotion that was involved was almost too much to handle.
(This was the very first moment we saw her. We were told she had not arrived yet, but she was sitting there quietly clutching her nanny's purse, and sucking those two fingers)
Even though it was one of the happiest days of my life, I also felt a huge wave of sadness come over me as I watched my daughter begin to grieve and experience loss for the second time in her short 11 months of life.
It is hard to think about all that these little ones have to go through and I remember feeling so helpless. There was nothing I could do or say to take away her pain. It was apparent that It was going to take time and a lot of love to get her to begin to trust and bond with me.....and her new life outside the orphanage.
Most of you know the story and have heard me talk about it many times..... the first few days were not easy but by day three Reagan was showing little signs that everything was going to be "A-Okay".
She slowly began to let me in....... and no longer cried when I looked at her or held her close to me.
She had given me an inch....... but it sure felt like a mile!
From that point forward, I knew there was no turning back......we were on the right track.
I will forever be grateful to Marla, one of my bff's who left her family for two weeks, to travel to the other side of the world with me. She was my rock and talked me through every step of this journey. When I had fear, she was there to tell me everything would be just fine. We got to share many special and memorable moments together..... some very funny and some very sad. She will always be part of our "family" and known as Aunt Marla. We just wish she didn't live so far away....... We are missing her like crazy today and wish so much she could be here with us to celebrate!
Poor Pat..... for two entire weeks, he was glued to his computer waiting for updates. Thank goodness for Skype, or he would have never made it through. He was so anxious to meet his new daughter....... he was hanging onto every blog post and every sweet comment left by our family and friends. He was just counting the days until we stepped off that plane........so he could hold Reagan for the first time. In a matter of seconds he was completely smitten by his brown eyed girl.
After a week or so at home, Reagan began to experience what life was like with a sister.
We had concerns about Sarah and whether or not she was going to be able to handle giving up her role as the baby of the family, but she surprised us and took her new role as big sis very seriously. She did not leave Reagan's side for the first few months...... they were inseparable and the bonds of sisterhood started to emerge.
Nick had the magic touch with his littlest sister. From the very first moment they met, you could see that they were going to have a very special relationship. She was so calm with him..... and very at ease. He adored her......and still does. She can do no wrong in her big brother's eyes.
In November, we celebrated Reagan's first birthday and let her have a little fun with her own personal cake!
OH DID SHE LOVE THAT CAKE!!!
Next came baby's first real Christmas.........
then Chinese New Year.
February brought that winning smile...... and we watched our girl take her first steps.
In March we had a little eye injury and had to make a few trips to the ER, but she rebounded quickly and took it all in stride.
April brought a little warmer weather and Reagan's first trip to the park.
During the month of May, Reagan got her first big girl haircut at the salon.
June was the start of her first fun filled summer!
We headed North to Cape Cod over the 4th of July and Reagan fell in love with the sun, sand, and water.
In August we celebrated one year since we saw her face.
September brought lots of fall related activities. Apple and Pumpkin picking...... and long walks in the park.
Over the last year, Reagan has come so far.
This little girl has learned to love and to be loved.
She has shown us who she is and no longer holds back
She knows she can trust and depend on us.
She has melted our hearts many times over and we would travel to the end of the earth and back again for her.
Happy One Year Sweet Baby Girl!
We love you more than words can express.