It's been one year - ONE YEAR - since we first met our baby girl. Haven't we had her forever? And weren't we just in China?
She has gone from this:
One year ago... Meeting her was surreal. We were not allowed any updates of her since receiving her referral, nor were we given any new pictures. The only photos we had of her were already a year old by the time we first held her, and I didn't even know she was mine when I first saw her in the hallway. They handed her to me and that was that. She, of course, cried, although Brendan was able to make her laugh while playing on the slide. I went through a list of questions about her with the orphanage director while she sat confused on my lap.
I remember returning to the hotel and sitting on the bed with her. She would hand me her stacking cups, saying, "Da da! Da da!" She was my "velcro baby" from that point on. She was so much a baby. She was happy to eat her congee, and if she started to cry, I would take her to the window to look outside, since we were told she loved to be outside. (It seemed to be true!) We gave her a bath that night and she hated it. She did not like her sister, but her sister adored her.
One year ago, I barely knew this little girl. One year later...
She still loves to play on the slide.
And she still loves to be outside.
She's a climber. She has no fear.
She is curious. She gets into everything. And she has to touch everything, too. (Especially if it has buttons)
She is smart. She is talking more and more. Most of what she says starts with, "I want" or "I need" but I also hear a lot of:
"Hope me" (help me)
"Wie me" (wipe me)
"Hold jew" (hold you, which actually means hold me)
"shu shu shelly" (peanut butter and jelly)
"uh you doin, ma?" (What are you doing, Mom? This one's popular.)
If you ask her her name, she'll tell you! ("Tora Bare-it")
She loves "eye-keam" (ice cream) and chicken nuggets. (And yes, she can point out McDonalds from a distance.) She won't eat leftovers.
She loves to shop. The grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, you name it. (And yes, she can point out a Target from quite a distance, too. That-a-girl!)
She loves to play "Where my Cora go?"
She thinks she's the boss.
And she always lets us know when she's not happy.
But this day is not just about Cora. This is about our family. And I am so glad that Olivia was with when we met our newest member. She really is the best big sister a girl could ask for.
She loves Cora, and she is always looking out for her.
She is her best friend (even if she might occasionally steal a toy...)
And I am so proud of her.
And I am proud of how far this little one has come. Oh yes, we still have our moments, but I am amazed at how she adjusted to the extreme changes in her young life. I am so thankful she trusts us and loves us. And we are thankful for her. Happy Gotcha Day, Cora Abigail Jin Meiyan Barrette!