Where do I begin? This little cutie has now been with us for 3 months!
Three months! That doesn’t seem possible, but at the same time, China seems like SO LONG AGO…truly a lifetime ago! Our sweet Lila Mei has changed so much since meeting her for the very first time. The timid, shy, bug-bite covered, skinny little thing is now talking non-stop, shows us her belly laugh daily, is so healthy with beautiful skin and hair (that is growing so fast!!), and is the best eater (easily noticed by her chubby thighs and 8 new pounds)— truly we have watched God’s beautiful promise of redemption and grace and love every single day since we met her.
She is seriously The. Best. Is every moment perfect? Um, no. She is TWO. And she left everything she ever knew just 3 months ago. There has been a lot of adjustment for all of us. Our schedules, family dynamic, finances, and social calendar have all changed since bringing her into the family. Then add to all of that she spoke no words when we got her, didn’t know how to chew food, and had never had anyone truly show her constant love, attention, or correction- we have had ourselves a very CRAZY three months.
I still get the question very often “How is it going?” and the short answer is always “So great!!” because it really has been great. She is truly incredible, and overall our adjustment has been easy compared to so many adoption stories I know. But the long answer (which I don’t get to voice very often because who has 3+ hours to spend on me chatting their ear off??) is that adoption (just like so many things God calls us to do) is hard!! Lila Mei truly is such a blessing to our little family, and I can’t imagine my days without her in it. However, with both big kids in school I could be focusing my time on so many other things- redecorating my dining room (which I have been Pinning stuff for forevs), lunching with girlfriends (oh how I miss girl time sans toddler), volunteering more at the kids’s school, working more, serving more, and the list goes on. But, that is not where God has me in this season.
Instead, I spend the majority of my days talking to my little Chinese princess, teaching her big and little things like how to love and count to three and say sorry and how to take small bites and chew and that Jesus loves her and that Mommy and Daddy are here forever. We haven’t left her anywhere except church and BSF, and my parents kept her one night for us to go to the Garth Brooks concert (it was amazing!). But for the most part, she and I are two peas in a pod and although it is lovely it is also exhausting. God is stretching me during this season in so many ways. I am learning so much about grace and love, giving it to her freely and constantly. I am learning (again) that life is more than ME and my wants. True life is found by laying my life down. Cue the song “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong- there is a reason I first heard that song a month before we left for China and we listened to it pretty much every day this summer. Here is the main lyric…
Adopting Lila Mei has changed her life for sure. She has a mommy that loves her, a daddy that thinks she is his princess, a sister that dotes on her daily, and a brother that makes her laugh constantly. She has an endless supply of food, a home, a church, community, and friends. Her life has changed for the better in so many ways, but so has ours. I have learned more in these last few months than I have in a long time. Laying my life down for her has been one of the easiest and hardest things I’ve ever done, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat, just to wake up to this smile every morning.
A few things you’re doing now—
- Talking! Boy are you on a roll these days! You can say mama, daddy, Sissy, Jack, eat, shoes, off, on, go, stop, more, all done, “I did it” (that is the cutest ever!!), Jesus, “I love you”, “Gig em”, chew, diaper, hi (which you say twice every time- Hi-hi), bye-bye, bottle, milk, night night, one-two-three, and many more but those are the main ones.
- You are still signing all of the time too- it is so great because we are able to easily communicate with you!
- You LOVE food- all food. Right now I’d say your favorites are rice, any Chinese food, avocados, bananas, peppers, and yogurt, but honestly you love anything (except blueberries!).
- You are busy! I tell people all the time I have never been so tired! You wear me out going and going and going. You love ramps and stairs and slides and swings!
- You are drinking one bottle of milk a day, right before bedtime. It is still my favorite time of the day because it is one of the few times you sit still long enough for me to cuddle with you and sing songs with you. And you love bedtime. Most nights you ask for your bottle and night night before we tell you it’s time. Such a Clemens!
- You sleep at least 12 hours at night, and still take a 2-3 hour nap. You clearly wear yourself out too with all of that going and going!
- You kick your legs and scream with happiness every morning when we wake you up.
- You are obsessed with shoes. Any shoes. You are always pulling out someone’s shoes and trying them on. It is hilarious to see you try and put them all on, and many times you are successful and will walk around the house with our shoes on. I can’t find the shoes I need, ever, because you’ve put them somewhere!
- You are warming up to people outside of our family, but most of the time you still greet them with the Lila Mei scream. It is sort-of a grunt, and it basically means “get away from me, I don’t know you or want you!” Haha! Your sweet friends are very patient with you, but we are trying really hard to get you to say “hi” when someone comes up to you. I will say the Lila Mei scream is happening WAY less often than it was a month ago, so I’m calling it a victory.
- You love books, toys (especially if they make noise) and playing outside.
- You still have a HUGE fear of Barbies and American Girl Dolls, and you only tolerate a few stuffed animals. You still look at them like they might come alive at any moment.
- You make me sad when I feed you something from a bowl, like yogurt. You peer into the bowl to see how much more is in there. It is truly a picture of what you did in the orphanage, and I can barely stand to get to the end. I am always ready with another food so that you know there is always more!
- You prefer a bow and keep it on all of the time, just like any Southern girl would do. :)
Happy THREE months in our arms, sweet Lila Mei! God is knitting together the perfect story of us. He is the best Author I know, and I couldn’t have imagined it any more perfect if I tried. I know He has BIG plans for you, Lila Bear, and I thank Him every day for His good and perfect gift of you!