One year ago today we anxiously waited in a white and black room in China on a red couch with several other families eager to cross the adoption finish line. In all marathons there are cramps, sprains, twisted ankles, and exhaustion and we were all weary but more than excited for the prize. I remember being FuRiOuS with your daddy for forgetting to put the battery in the camera (it was his 1 job, lol) but I remember forgetting all about it when your nannies walked in and sat you down just 3 feet away from us. We traveled from across the world and filled out countless forms, this segment of our run to you was almost over! Little did we know we were in for a full triathlon and our race had just begun.
One year ago we met the bravest, most stoic little lady I have ever known. Your movements were infantile, your hands were drawn in, your fingers and toes were so blue. But your smile was contagious and it was like you knew we were yours. Your nannies said you didn’t like strangers but you came right to us. You gently touched my hair with the back of your hand, you had never seen anything like it. You eagerly went into your daddy’s arms and it was instant love. While the unknown was still lurking, we knew we would do whatever we could to make you better, we were no longer afraid. Your bravery inspired us all the more.
One year ago we created bonds with families I will never forget. We watched their brave little ones discover what trust and love was, just as you did. We all shared that “newborn parent” glazed over look at some point even though our newborns were all over the age of one. We laughed together as the subtle Chinese populace took pictures and videoed the crazy Americans with their Chinese babies. We prayed for and encouraged each other and will continue to do so forever. I stand in awe that God handpicked each one of you children for these families, and while each journey is unique we are all intertwined in such an intricate way. I cherish every update.
One year ago I had to call down to the front desk of the hotel and ask for another sewing kit so I could take in the clothes I packed for you. They were 6-12 months clothes and you were 2.5 years old. Today I am putting all those clothes away and rejoice that you are a pound shy of doubling your weight. One year ago you had fewer scars but you had strength and a will to fight. You might not have known it at the time but you also have a momma and daddy and 3 brothers that will always run that extra mile for you.
One year ago we visited the Pearl Market and your daddy bought you some of the finest pearls in the store for your wedding day. My heart hurts as I vividly remember a dark day in September when I was not sure you would ever get to wear your pearls and that I would have to wear them to your funeral. Just typing it brings tears to my eyes, I probably shouldn’t share that part and I am ashamed in my weakness I ever let my mind go there. Lord, forgive me. I just never want you to forget how far you have come. Baby girl, you are victorious. You are an overcomer. You have encouraged so many and I cannot wait to see what you will do next!
Happy One Year, sweet Susan Elizabeth. You are the feistiest, bravest, silliest, strongest, most precious little girl I have ever known. Next year we will celebrate Fowler Family Six day with a cake, but in the words of your brother Taylor, this year we will have to settle for a can of Pediasure and lots of hugs.
**If you haven’t already seen Lizzie’s video slideshow you can watch it at https://our.chainsremoved.com/2014/05/31/lizzies-mended-heart/