Sunday, April 22, 2012

What a difference a year makes...


Ummm...can you hear me now??? For the three people who may have been waiting for updates (Hi Mom, Dad and Gram!!! :-))...we are here. Very happily so...but crazy busy. Jillian continues to fit in like she's always been here...keeping us hopping and laughing a good deal of the time. Although she puts her backpack on every morning when we walk Lia to the bus and insists, "Ying Ying SCHOOL", she won't officially start pre-school until next fall when she will attend the same Montessori school that Lia did. Luckily she seems content with her weekly music and gymnastic classes where she generally holds court and regularly brings a tear to my eyes with her tenacity and can-do attitude. While we all might be slightly more worn out at the end of each day...and have had to re-discover the skill of multi-MULTI-tasking...we can't imagine life without our Jillian. She's going places I tell you...and lucky LUCKY for us...we get to come along for the ride.

This week (April 25th)one year ago, we received our referral call and saw Jillian's face for the first time. We tried to do the "right things" before assembling our paperwork to commit to adopt her...had her file reviewed by an International Adoption Clinic , talked to other families who have children with limb differences, researched treatment options...but...she truly had us at hello. We received the call at about 10:20 pm...just as we were getting ready to head to bed. We quickly looked at her file and contemplated a Special Need we had not specifically checked off on our agency's checklist...and then we got to her photos. Jim kind of chuckled when he saw her for the first time...the same reaction he always has when he likes a photo I have taken of Lia...and when I heard that...I knew. I knew she was the ONE we had been waiting for. She was the REASON we had waited. We sent our Letter of Intent in that week...and traveled to bring her home last November.

So...this is our version of a Sunday Snapshot...just call it "What a difference a year makes..."

Our first snapshot of Yu Ying...this was taken when she had just turned two years old...


Our first June, 2011...she was 2 1/2 and had been moved to foster care...


A surprise (and much needed!) update in August, 2011...when we learned Jillian had a foster sister (see her arm in the photo???)!


We missed Jillian's 3rd birthday by mere weeks...a tough blow to this mom who did everything to be in China for the big day...but we sent a cake...and were thrilled to receive 50(!) photos of the party! (10/24/11)


FINALLY...our first REAL glimpse of our girl...look how brave and trusting she was (November 14, 2011)


An impromptu photo shoot about a month ago...a day where everything I did struck her funny!


And of course...the first photo at the top of this post...taken understand why I had to lead with THAT one, right??? We're in the throes of a massive rainstorm in our parts...and we let the girls run a bit in the rain. They got some new rain boots for Easter...and, well, it seemed the perfect day to give them a great test run. Jillian wasn't sure at first...but before long she got the hang of it and had a great time. It is her expression in the top photo that makes me love it so. It's the same one she has when she is checking with me to make sure she understands my directions...or whether she should use a fork or spoon...or if it is REALLY okay to run in the so sweet and eager to please. And really...I just want her to know she had me at hello...

{Photo taken with Canon 50d. ISO 200, focal length 50mm, f/1.8, Shutter speed 1/200}. Edited with actions from the Florabella Collection.

To join in the "Sunday Snapshot" fun...head on over to Ni Hao Y'all...

Ni Hao Yall