(Delicious turkey compliments of Uncle Paul-he always does it up right)
Today will be our first Thanksgiving with our baby girl. I thought it would be appropriate to start this off with all of the gifts that our family is thankful for. Yes, we are thankful for good food, good friends and family, and good times, but above that we are thankful for the following:
1. Brokenness. Were it not for a God-ordained sequence of events just a few short years ago that brought both Dylan and I to a state of total brokenness, we would not be called children of God, we would not be parents to Mila, and we would likely be part of the growing divorce statistics. Thank you God for using the painful events that were the product of years of lives lived without surrender to Jesus, to bring us to the place that we were then. And, for continuing the work that you started in us that night to bring us to the place that we are now. Thank you.
2. An Unchanging God. Were He anything but unchanging, He would not be worthy of all of our trust, but He is. He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). Unlike anyone on earth, He can be fully trusted, in all things. Thank you.
3. Provision. We had no idea going into this whole stay-at-home-Mommy thing, how the bills would get paid… but they have. We have had checks come in from overpaid medical bills, photography and house cleaning jobs to help makes ends meet, and just yesterday we found out we will be getting some money refunded that we were overcharged during our stay in Congo. It is truly amazing to watch. Throughout Mila’s adoption we had so many friends and family members give so sacrificially towards getting Mila home. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, to everyone who gave, to everyone who prayed (it was felt more than you know), and to everyone who continues to cover our family in prayer. We are watching God do great things through this little girl and we can’t wait to see what He has in store next. And thank you to our newest gracious donor towards baby #2. We were so blessed to have this done for us once, with Mila, but to have it happen again is almost unheard of. We praise God for all of your generous hearts, and pray that He uses your gifts to bless you in ways you would not have imagined. Thank you.
And of course, we are so thankful for this precious gift.
Most of the time it feels like she’s always been here, but at other times it almost seems like a dream. That she is here, that she is who she is, that we are now parents, and that we have been given the responsibility to parent her. It is quite heavy. Don’t get me wrong, she is by no means, perfect all the time. But, she is one of the most pleasant, funny, smart and just overall happy little people I have ever been around. It’s pretty awesome. What a gift we have been given, but will all great gifts come great responsibility. Lord help us to parent her in the most God-honoring of ways. We love you Mila and we THANK God for you too, everyday.
As I finish this post, she’s just woken up, is sitting in my lap kissing my face and squeezing me tight with one of her unparalleled hugs, complete with a Squealy teeth-chattering shake, like she is shivering cold. Hard to explain, but it’s priceless.
Note: This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but due to some mishaps with Mila and my laptop, this did not get done on time. So, pretend it is November 17th.
Last night we had our first real dinner out, just the 3 of us, at one of our favorite restaurants, PF Chang’s (or Chang-to-the-Chang-Changs as we call it in the Taylor house). Sitting at the table, marveling at how they make fried rice taste so ridiculously good, it hit me. The gift card we were eating this delish meal on tonight was given to us in a sympathy card for our miscarriage that happened one year ago, this week. It seems so distant now. But looking back, man, it was a tough week, month, well I’m not sure how long. But as time passed, that wound began to heal. I still mourn the loss of our child, but the pain has caused my eyes to be opened to so much more. Through it, I am able to more clearly see who God is. Looking back on the past year, I am so thankful for God’s plan in giving us that child, AND in taking that child away.
Switch gears to another anniversary.
This morning as I lie in bed wide-eyed at 4:55a.m., I realized that today, is the four month anniversary of Mila’s Gotcha Day. For anyone not in the adoption realm, this is the day Dylan and I got our Baby Girl. Four months! I can’t believe it. Though it seems like she has been here forever, it’s amazing to think of how far this little one has come in just a few short months of life with us.
Thinking back on what happened one year ago, had that not happened, things with Mila would have been much different. I would not have been able to go to Congo, because I would have been too pregnant to fly. I would have missed the opportunity to see where my child was born, to meet the family that took care of her during her last months there, and to see the orphanage where she lived. I would have missed some precious time when it was just me and her, no distractions, none of the craziness that life here can bring. Just us, learning to love each other. I know our relationship would not have grown so quickly if I could not have been there for that.
If I had an infant to care for right now, I could not be giving her near the amount of one-on-one attention I have been able to give her these first few months. In November 2010, when great anticipation and excitement turned to deep sadness, I could not understand why after years of trying to conceive, this baby would be taken from us so soon. But God used it to remind us that He is enough, better than anything this world has to offer. He was, and is, and always will be. And, how cool is this, at almost the exact same time that I should have been delivering, I met my baby girl for the first time. This was all part of the story of our lives. God knew. This was what was best for all of us. And I, well, I’m just thankful.
Here’s a look back,
Day 1 (July 17th, 2011)…
Nerves, Smiles, and Learning to be Mommy, Daddy, and daughter
Scary tantrums are through, Still in DR Congo, Spiders, Daddy’s back, We visit Mila’s orphanage
Home (praise Jesus!), Family introductions, and Megabeds
Funny faces, Fashion, and Lots of laughter
Settling in and loving life, even when I feel like these four walls are closing in on me. I am so thankful that we all get to be in them together.
Life is getting hectic around here, but I had to post a few new pics for my Mila fiends out there who just need a little Squealy in their day. I am blessed with her sweet little self everyday, so I know I should share. From the moment she wakes up, she is rarin’ to go, and when she gets tired, she acutally gets more hyper. How does that work? Wish I could harness just a little bit of that energy.
Here’s a little bit of our family’s fun lately.
We had our first family photo session with our friend Allison.
And this was the aftermath of getting 3 people ready for family pictures. I’ve never really had a photo session before and the preparation was not easy. I think our guest bedroom paid the biggest price.
Mila is doing great with tooth brushing again. She regressed a little for a while, but after her very patient Daddy taught her that, she WILL brush her teeth like it or not, she has decided it can actually be fun again. I taught her to rinse like Mommy, well not exactly. She figured out her own method of getting down to the water.
(Reminds me of a dance move I’ve seen once or twice.)
She continues to love helping me wash dishes. She still calls it “brusha” though. I think she thinks all things water related are like brushing your teeth. This actually started off with her washing potatoes and digressed to playing with the dish scrubber.
Yes, that’s soap, in her mouth. I guess she just had to try it.
She is learning to eat her veggies through a little sneakiness from Mommy. You know she is a dipper, so I tried spinach dip and it was a hit. She also loves chili and Mimi’s cabbage beef soup. She will actually turn the bowl up and drink the juice. I think that was what happened with the dip here. Notice between the eyes and in the hair.
Saturday, we attended cousin Brody’s 4th birthday party. He had a Policeman party. You may remember him cuffing himself in this getup on Halloween. He’s a heart stealer.
She and Daddy ate cake.
And she also got to meet her cousin India for the first time. They hit it off. There aren’t too many girls around in this family, so Mila was glad to meet her. They were really sweet.
Then she got to go to the Halloween-ish festival at Mimi’s church.
She jumped in her first blowup jumpy thing.
She even ventured out and slid down the slide, thanks to her awesome Daddy. He was by far the oldest dude on the slide. :]
She scored a Smartie.
And just before we left, in true Squealy fashion, she ate a lady we did not know’s cake, right off her plate. She made lots of friends, as usual.
We are learning animal sounds at the Taylor house and Mila’s mispronunciation of the cow’s sound, was totally appropriate for our Halloween festivities. When asked what the cow says, Mila says, “Booooooooo!”.
We celebrated last night at the “B Taylor” house. And it went off without a hitch. For anyone who is not familiar with my dear in-laws and nephews, they are Britten and Brook, Braeden, Brody, Brooks and Breck. It’s easier to just say the “B Taylors”, or “Brrrr, Brrrr, Brrrrr, Brrrrr” as Mila says when she looks at their picture, which is often. :O) We trick-or-treated Aunt Brook, and then just hit one other house.
I don’t think Mila understood the concept quite yet. After snagging a piece of candy, she tried to go in and hang out with this unsuspecting family.
When we got back to the house, the cops showed up! They were really nice though, and super cute, so we talked them into letting the party continue.
Officer Brody ended up cuffing himself, which required a bit of assistance. LOL!
We partied ’til the cow went home.
(Why are toddler costumes with the big booties so stinkin’ funny? Seriously, we laughed at it all night.)