Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2 years

I am a little last posting, but in July we celebrated 2 years with Vivian.  It is hard to believe it has been two years since this happened.

We didn't do much of a celebration actually.  It was more like we remembered the day.

Oh, that day.

The day we met was such an emotional day.  It was such an incredibly hard day for Vivian.  

On that day Vivian lost everything she had known for almost 3 years suddenly and without any explanation. To Rob and I,  it felt more like a kidnapping at moments than it did the making of a family.  Rob and I will always remember the profound sadness we witnessed in Vivian that day and the first few days to follow.

It was such a traumatic day for Vivian.  The day we met marked the beginning of the end of her life in China.  I grieve that loss for her.  I think that is why it doesn't feel quite right to do a big "celebration" of this day.  When Vivian gets older she will get to decide how she wants to handle this day.  If she wants to celebrate, then celebrate we will.  But right now we don't know how she will feel about it, so the decision about how to handle the day is up to Rob and I.  And we choose to keep it low key.  The truth is that from Vivian's perspective, it wasn't a happy day.

On the other hand, from our perspective, it was such a happy day.  I believe there is so much about the day we met that IS worth celebrating.  Vivian became a member of a family, something I believe every child should be. She was no longer stuck in her orphanage.  She was now a loved granddaughter, cousin, sister and daughter.  

For me, the day we met (as hard as it was) was wonderful and amazing and every single moment is still crystal clear in my memory.  For me, two plus years of waiting and wondering and hoping and praying came to an end. All of the fears and anxiety I had felt for those years melted away the INSTANT I held her.  It was one of the most important days of my life.  For me, that day was a dream come true.  

Two years later, it is still hard for me to put into words what a gift this experience of adopting Vivian has been.  I am seriously so perplexed that people aren't knocking down the doors of adoption agencies begging to get the chance to do this.  I am, really.  

Watching her transform from the child she was the day we met to the child she is today has been an amazing experience that has changed us all.  She has been like the caterpillar who goes through what is necessary to come out as a beautiful butterfly. 

Two years later, Vivian is doing wonderful.  She is such a gift to our family.

On July 1st this year, we did our version of a forever family day celebration.  We took a family bike ride and stopped on the way home for some TCBY.  Nothing big, just a day of being together and remembering the day that brought Vivian into our family.  It was perfect.

Happy two years to our sweet girl.  We love you with all of our hearts.  

"Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How is Vivian?

How is Vivian?  That is a question I keep getting and so I thought it was about time to do a quick update.  Get ready for tons of pictures:)

Vivian is great.  In January we celebrated 18 months together.  Hard to believe it has been 18 months. The last 6 months have been much different than the first 12 months.  The first year with Vivian was so packed full of "firsts" it was quite the roller coaster of emotions.  Some of those firsts brought so much joy, while others brought fear and anxiety.  The last few months have been much different.  We see a much more confident and secure child now. While those first few months were "rocky", the last few months have felt like smooth sailing.  I can't believe I am writing these words, but things these days feel ... easy!

Vivian started back to preschool in the fall.  Last year, her first few weeks of preschool were very rough on both of us.  Lots of tears and fear and resistance.  She did eventually come to love school but after taking the summer off I wasn't so sure how she would do.  Turns out, she did awesome.  She absolutely LOVES school this year.  She has the sweetest teachers and she is thriving.  It is so wonderful to drop her off and know she is happy while I am gone.

first day of preschool
She has jumped back into her activities and she is quite the busy 4 year old.  She LOVES her gymnastics and ballet classes.  She also takes an art class with her cousin and loves that.  She now joins the big kids as they run around to different neighbors houses after school and there are times I find myself ALONE at home (thank you Laura and Ashley!!).  Vivian actually gets excited now when a babysitter is coming over.  She LOVES anyone that will give her one on one attention.  She soaks it up like a sponge.  So she basically pushes me out the door if a sitter is here b/c she knows she is going to get tons of attention.  She has even gone on a few playdates WITHOUT me!!  This is huge:)  

on a playdate on her own
She thoroughly enjoyed the holidays this year -- we had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Vivian loves spending time with all her grandparents and cousins.


She and her sister continue to grow their relationship and it is so sweet to watch.  They spend almost all of their time together.  They love playing at parks, spending the night together on the weekends, going to gymnastics, playing all kinds of pretend games around the house, and taking bubble baths.  And yes, they fight.  Not a lot, but they do.  They love to fight over who gets to pick what to play on my ipad:)

She's still got the boys wrapped around her finger, too.   My oldest continues to be more a caretaker to Vivian, while my second is much more of a playmate.  And yes, she fights with the boys, too. Mostly when they don't do exactly what she tells them to.

At the beginning of the year we started speech therapy for Vivian.  Most people put their children in speech therapy almost immediately, but we felt Vivian needed more time to adjust and attach before she would be ready to do this.  For us, this turned out to be a great decision because she LOVES going to speech.  She works with a really sweet therapist and Vivian has quickly realized she gets her full attention for 45 minutes, so she is in heaven.  She looks forward to going every week so far and we are hopeful this will give her more confidence.

I hope this will encourage anyone who has recently returned home with their child.  If you are struggling, if they are struggling, hang in there.  

We are so proud of Vivian.  When we watch her, Rob and I can't help but reflect on the kind of life she led for almost 3 years and the huge transition she has made.  We can't help but be amazed at the way she came through all of this with such a joyful and beautiful spirit.

I shared this on FB when we celebrated our 18 month milestone and I wanted to share it here, also, because this quote seemed made for Vivian:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. 

 These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." -elisabeth kubler-ross

(photo by L Hoke