i've written about the Chryst family before and our girls who have an unbelievable connection, but here is the short version: emery and brooklyn were born one day apart (may 26 & may 27, 2010), in the same city in china (Fuzhou), with the same special need (CL/CP), and we got our referrals on the same day (dec 17th, 2010). needless to say, we love this family!! it's truly a blessing to be with friends who feel like family. (read about our incredible connection here and here)
oh be-still my heart...i LOVE seeing our families together!!!
thank you nicole for working some serious photoshop magic!! (including various head swaps)
i'll give you a glimpse of what she had to work with...
(my big head covering clint completely + wind hair + exhausted rowan)
(clint's "i'm being funny" goofy smile in 75 of the 80 photos :)
i digress. onward with the story...
since nicole and i found out about our special connection, we have dreamed about the day when we could finally unite our girls. and sunday, as they scooted around the house, as we chatted and chased and laughed and snapped photos...we were both struck at just how surreal it is to see them together.
they traveled around the world and found each other again. incredible.
one of my favorite parts of our day? being in the presence of a friend who get it. who has no judgment. who understands the things that no one else does. i feel less crazy just knowing i'm not alone. just knowing i could call my dear friend at any time and she would listen...and tell me i'm not a horrible mom, and we can laugh or cry...knowing that we are in it together.
(my favorite photo of our day..courtesy of nicole)and our long awaited photos of the girls together?? well, they are quite comical, to say the least. we laughed and laughed at the craziness. in moment, you will see why we called it quits :)
the photos are a lot like adoption. like having kids. like parenthood and motherhood. a lot like life.
they aren't perfect.
you can photoshop them and make them seem perfect, swaps funny faces with perfect smiles, but finding beauty and joy in the outtakes is the part that is so vital for me. when i don't find joy in those things, i get caught up in feeling like a failure when i can't photoshop our day. i can't clone out the clutter and add a happy preset when things are falling apart. i'm so far from perfect that finding beauty in our unedited life is a must. otherwise i walk life missing out on the true beauty.
as we turned nicole's living room into a photo studio, i marveled at how sweet these girls are...how perfect and lovely.
and then "it" happened.
brooklyn became well acquainted with a sassy lady i have affectionately named The Tigress...
partially avert your eyes...
you are about to witness a split second phenomenon that has yet to be captured on film.
The Tigress in her natural habitat.
untamed and unaware that she is being caught on camera :)
and a hot second later??
what? who me??
ka chow...The Tigress strikes again...
poor brooklyn. i'm afraid she was quite traumatized.
my girl has spunk. spunk for days...
but as you can see, spunk that feels threatened, frustrated, irritated, upset...
morphs into The Tigress.
thankfully nicole understands. brooklyn has Tigress moments as well.
but where in the world does this come from?
it's like a different child appears in front of me at a moments notice.
and then i remember back. not so very long ago...my girl lived a different life.
deep within a very sweet and calm little girl, violent anger erupts.
defend at all costs.
don't come too close.
i'm the only one who can protect me.
i'm on my own.
i may be small, but i'm stronger than you think.
i can't trust you.
this is emery on the day i met her in China.
july 25, 2011
14 months old and a slight 13lbs.
if you could have held how frail and small she felt in my arms. the way her bones stuck out at every turn.
the size of her legs were smaller than my boys at birth.
in this photo, i'm literally holding her entire body up with my hand.
i cry when i look at this photo. it was terrifying. we held her so very gently, afraid that the slightest bump would harm her.
she has symmetrical scars on her back from being strung up in some sort of contraption.
i sobbed and sobbed when i bathed her and found her scars.
how small she must have been.
how much she must have cried.
God gave her the spunk necessary to survive.
He knew in advance. He provided a way for her.
i'm ever grateful for my girl's inner Tigress.
and now, harnessing the Tigress is something of a challenge.
it can be frustrating.
especially when she rips fistfuls of rowans hair if he walks by in a moment when she needs space.
especially when she calmly plays with another child and in an instant she death-grips a nearby cheekbone and we have no idea what triggered it.
as we transverse changing this behavior, we remember that it has much more to do with what's behind the behavior.
i think back to china...back to those first few days and weeks with her.
she has come so far, but i love remembering who she was because i don't want to forget.
it's a testament to God's providence. His plan. His timing that i questioned so many times. it reminds me that the many many tears i shed during the wait were not forgotten. they didn't go unnoticed. my daughter was loved, sought after and protected by her sweet Father before i was given the priviledge of being her mom. it's a very humbling realization to see this child in front of me and what a treasure she truly is.
july 2011...in china...