It has been almost eight months since we first met our daughter in China. Two major surgeries, and a great deal of bonding between us, and this is the lovely young lady who now shares our home. She looks a bit tentative in this picture because she's still getting used to outdoor steps - particularly going down them. It's hard to imagine, now, that a year ago we had no Q in our lives. And it's amazing to look back on all that we've been through together in eight short months.
I still love to look at this photo of her in the orphanage - one of the first photos we received of her after our referral. The majority of the time, cleft babies have their lip repaired in China before they are referred to a family. QQ was one of the few who do not. She was about nine months old in this photo, and you can really see what a wide cleft she had. Our surgeon has done an amazing job - though, as you can see, her beauty is what she was born with. She was stunning from the get-go.
What struck me from the start about Q, months before we met her, was the way she shone. In a sea of referral photos that showed stunned, pale, grave little faces, Q's photos were strikingly different from most of those I'd seen. Here was a beaming, open face, glowing with a happy, healthy spirit, devoid of uncertainty or insecurity. She was undernourished, as most orphange children are - she only weighed 14 pounds when we met her at 11 months of age. She had parasites and a sinus infection, and she had spent the first 11 months of her life in the confines of a crib. But her spirit had never flagged. Her happiness, her sheer, natural joy in life, is the thing that always comes through, even in the most difficult moments. That was the case when we met her, and is still the case now, even after two difficult surgeries and one close call with a life-threatening reaction to anesthesia.
She is, quite simply, made of joy - and we are the lucky parents who get to bask in her glow.
I am purely thankful, and gobsmacked by our astounding good fortune.
Posted by Maia at 1:07 PM