On March 22, 2008 we celebrated little Elizabeth Alem (Lilly's) adoption day. 1 YEAR!!! I cannot believe how time has flown. Why is time passing faster and faster? I felt like time started to fly when I got out of college, started working, then later got married. Adding a child made time go a bit faster (though the first year of Reese's life went kind of slow; probably because it was SUCH an adjustment) and now--honestly a month goes as fast as a minute! I want to hang onto every precious second and yet it is going so quickly. What a year, Lilly is nothing short of a miracle in our lives.
She's a ham! Here she is riding her little bike:She has come a LONG way since we first met her in Addis Ababa over a year ago. The first six months were tough in many ways. Wonderful, but tough. I think that now looking back I am allowing myself to realize that last year was a bit exhausting. Adjusting to 2 kids was in some ways easier than the adjustment from 0-1 kid, but the craziness kind of crept up on us! I keep trying to do all that I did before and realize that I just cannot. That said, we are so amazed by the wonderful, charming little girl Lilly is becoming right before our eyes. Reflecting on the first year: Overall, our adoption experience was SO amazing. The hardest thing in the beginning was her apparent fear of abandonment and her somewhat constant screaming. YIKES! We could not hand her to anyone or even sit her down in a room b/c she would scream and cry. She wanted to be held constantly...and she was a big baby; hard to hold all day. :) She hated being babysat by anyone, and would cry and cry at the thought of us walking away-even just across the room. Don't get me wrong, we were excited that she clearly attached herself to us so well. We prayed for that. But, we did not expect the opposite to happen where she'd really seem to be afraid that she'd be left. :( She'd scream to get things (probably why she was the chubbiest baby in the orphanage/Gladney home). I am not talking normal baby crying and whinning; we knew all about that routine. This was pretty extreme. Like her face would turn red; and she would YELL.
But, that was then and this is now. It makes me SO grateful for how she is today--which is honestly one of the most loving and happy little girls that I know. People comment all of the time on how sweet, warm and happy she is. She kisses everyone; including every dog she sees, every picture of ANY animal or baby, and other kids as well. She walks up to strangers now and puts her arms up to be hugged. AMAZING!! What a transformation. That said, if she wants something--you'll know because she hasn't lost the ability to make her needs known :)! We kind of went through months of screaming "detox" and would wait until she smiled or said a "happy word" before giving her what she wanted. That was tough but made a HUGE impact, as she is all around more calm.
We love her personality SO much. She compliments our little crew perfectly. On Lilly's adoption day we had a little cake and family party for her and I asked Reese what her favorite thing is about having a baby sister and she said "playing with Lilly; laughing with Lilly; loving Lilly." WHAT? That is SO stinkin' sweet. I did NOT tell her to say that. She LOVES her sister. Don't get me wrong, they fight too-they are true siblings afterall. It is basically the same fight every day: Reese grabs something from Lilly; Lilly screams; Reese yells back in response; Both cry. Repeat again and again. But, when they aren't fighting--they like to hold hands and make each other laugh. Lilly tries to do whatever Reese is doing. They LOVE taking baths together and splashing and they love rolling around on the floor and tickling each other. They also love playing dress up together.
Here is a little video for my dear friend Mwende's little girl who just turned 4 last week. This is a tiny preview of Lilly's singing skills, but she is being overshadowed by Reese in this video. I will write another post on Lill'y AMAZING musical talents. For real, I think that her bio parents must have been singers. This girl has about 12-24 songs that she can hum the entire way through. She started this skill around her first birthday, at which point I thought that it was a coincidence. But, she'd repeat these same songs throughout the day; and not miss a beat or a nuance of the song. It is very impressive. Okay--back to Mwende's video, this is for Aiden. Hope she enjoys. Cannot wait to see you this summer, Mwende. Love and miss you tons.