Today marks 12 years since we began a journey that has taken us further than we could ever have imagined. Today is Elli's Gotcha Day. A tiny, scared little six-year-old girl was placed into our arms, and it forever changed us all. Elli is now 18, and a junior in high school. She is a smart, very talented artist, who lights up when she's talking about something she is interested in. She foresees digital art as her career. She is working part time with an after-school program, and enjoys that, but has decided she doesn't want to pursue teaching. She's a quiet (generally😉), sweet girl, with a love for teaching others what she's interested in, with an aversion to being in the spotlight.
Last week we celebrated Enya and Xiaoyun's 11th Gotcha Day. As we sat at the kitchen table celebrating Enya's day, I tried to read a little about the days following their adoptions. I could not make it even a few words, before breaking down in tears. To think how God orchestrated bringing three girls into our family in less than a year, is still such a miraculous thing to me.
Enya is also 18 years old and a sophomore. She loves all things animals, particularly dogs, and is a walking encyclopedia of animal facts. Not surprisingly, she wants to work with animals when she graduates. She routinely goes into the special ed class at school to help out. She has a desire and love to help kids with challenges. She has some educational challenges herself and can empathize with those who need a little extra help in life. I personally feel working as an assistant in a special ed class would be a wonderful career for her if she chooses not to work with animals. She's a hard worker, with a servant's heart.
Xiaoyun will be 25 next week. Even as I type that, it is hard to believe!! She still lives at home and is a tremendous help to me. Her petite, 60-pound body, belies the fact that she is a strong woman at heart. She doesn't let her frail body stop her from being active in the life of our family. What she can't physically do, she knows how to direct the other girls to get done. She is a level-headed, big hearted young woman. She is thoughtful and looks for ways to be a help to others. The girls love it when Virgil and I are gone, because that means Xiaoyun is cooking some spicy Chinese food. She'll have 2-3 girls in the kitchen slicing, dicing, frying, and making the entire house smell like it's sitting somewhere in China. She's introduced non-Asian family members to the delights of authentic Chinese cooking. One of her favorite things to do (and actually this is true for every girl in the house) is to go to the Asian grocery in Louisville. It's like stepping right into the familiar for them. Every sense is stirred in there for them- sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound all come to life and bring a remembrance of their first home. I too, get excited because the memories of trips to adopt all come flooding back when we step into that store.
It's been far too long since I last put down in words all the life we've been living. I regret not keeping up this blog, for it is my memory keeper, and a way to reflect on all that God continues to do in our lives. Many surgeries (for several in the house, including me), and challenges with Erin, far greater than the medical issues we've dealt with, have taken up my energy and thoughts. I hope to start being somewhat consistent again, so that as the girls get older, they too can see all the ways that God is faithful.