Happy 3rd Birthday, Meili!

On this day, three short years ago Meili was born and we are super excited to be celebrating another milestone with her!!!!

It has been a while since we have updated our friends on her progress so there is plenty to discuss – so sit back, grab some coffee and join us on a quick three-month review of the life of our princess.

And a “Princess” she has become! She reminds us all the time – usually with a raised voice, furrowed brow and sincere intensity. Quite often it comes in response to a request – she’s not saying no, mind you – she is just reminding us of her place in our kingdom…she is the PRINCESS! The wardrobe of our princess has grown as quickly as her personality. It is mostly made up of every imaginable color of pink and every conceivable shape of tutu. There is a tutu for school to go OVER whatever she may be wearing. There is a tutu for trips out with Mom to the store, a tutu for visits to the doctors office, tutus for playing outside and lastly, a tutu for sleeping in. She even now has pajamas that reference her tutus with a silly picture on the front stating how “tutu cute” she is. Think I am kidding? Check out Tracy’s Facebook page for an accurate accounting of how often the tutu appears in Meili’s every day clothes!

In my opinion, if Tracy, Leila and Meili were running a girlie marathon – Meili has already lapped them 5 times over and left us all in a cloud of pink smoke! It’s precious to see the little girl blossom from that malnutrition-ed bundle of sadness in drab clothes we brought home only 20 months ago.

Meili continues to find more ways to communicate her strong opinions on…well, everything! We have had her in speech therapy for a while and she continues to show amazing progress. But sometimes words are just so annoying so she turns her entire body into a communication device – from flailing arms to itty-bitty pointing fingers, Meili has little trouble expressing herself. Unfortunately, there are several surgeries in her very near future to continue repairing that pesky palette. I continue to forget that we adopted Meili of the “special needs” list because she is so smart, vibrant and strong. I have to remember how hard it is for her to talk and how difficult her path will be in the coming years as the repairs to her mouth, hopefully, give her normal speech. Although words fail her often, communication is never a problem! :)

Her place in our family has grown enormously. In the hearts of our children,  Tracy and I – Meili has always been here and meant to be here. The openness in the hearts of our other children in accepting Meili into our family has been more generous and inspiring than we could have ever imagined. Corbin, Tristan and Leila have enjoyed the flavor Meili has brought to our family – a spicy bundle of silliness and spirit! I don’t think a week has gone by that one of them haven’t sidled up to Tracy or I and thanked us for going to China and bringing Meili back. To their point, I don’t think a day has gone by that I have not looked at her and thanked God for her in my life.

“No Help.”

I like to think often about what it took for Meili to make it into our lives. The odds of her meeting us and us adopting her had to have been astronomically of the charts! I also like the remind myself about what it took for Meili to just live through the first months of her life – the spirit of determination in the heart of this little girl would put many world-class athletes to shame. To that same spirit of determination, Meili has begun saying to Tracy and I “No, Help” as she raises her little hand. She watches closely our other children and sees how they don’t need any help doing things like climbing into the Yukon. It does not matter to her that the foot board is even with her waist – she just waives her little hand at me saying “No Help, Ya-Ya” and commences to climbing into the car like she was on a rock climbing expedition. Before I can discourage her independence, I am rendered a flabbergasted bystander as she nestles her tiny body into the car seat. With a smile, now looking at me eye-to-eye – having scaled her own 6ft wall, she softly repeats…No Help, Ya Ya.

Last night as a slid into my warm bed I thought about how cold it was in Jiangyin City that dark night Meili was bundled into a single sheet and left at the gate of the orphanage. Having just been born hours earlier, her life had already taken a turn for the perilous. I feel it is so important to remember where we come from to put into perspective where we are and context for where we are going. Cold nights in December take on a different meaning for me ever since I met Meili. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes with her today to know that being abandoned on a freezing night in December wasn’t going to stand in her way. Life is her’s for the taking and the rest of us are simply given the envious opportunity of watching this astonishing story unfold. Today, we begin another chapter in the captivating book of Meili as our amazing daughter turns 3 years old. What a journey this has been and so much more to go!!!!

I think we should have named her “inspiration”. :)

(Thanks to Kelle Mac Photography for the amazing pictures!)