Man. Where does time go? You blink and three years have passed.
It seems like it was just yesterday when we received a call from Sophie's birthmother telling us, "Hey, guys. I think it might happen tonight." My heart jumped up into my throat and I thought, "Huh. I don't even feel anything mildly painful yet." Oh, yeah...the good part about adoption - someone else does the labor! Amanda had been to a Demolition Derby that afternoon (still not totally sure what one is, but I know it involves lots of car antics - wrecking and popping wheelies and loud whatnot), and apparently the adrenaline of the experience was enough to get her labor started.
So when we got the call back that, indeed, things were moving along and she was being admitted to the hospital at 5 cm dilated, we threw the suitcases in the car and started the long trip to Arkansas. Sophie was born at 5:03 that morning, and by the time we got to Siloam Springs that afternoon, I was driving a tad fast. I mean, she was here! She had been here for eleven hours already. Come on, all ye Granny Drivers of the world, get out of the way! Russ remembers me telling him, "If we get a ticket, it's okay. We'll just pay it and tell the officer we're going to meet our baby!" He knew by my tone not to whip out Always-Law-Abiding-Citizen Russell at that point.
I remember walking into the hospital room and Amanda immediately bursting into tears while on the phone with her mom. We heard her tell her, "Mom, they're here. I'm just so happy to see them." I walked over and hugged her tight and told her thank you. (Which in light of the moment seemed like an utterly ridiculous thing to say. Thank you? It's just not big enough.)
I turned to my dad, who was holding the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. She was lying in his arms, wiggling and making those little fat puppy grunt noises. Oh my gosh, my heart was so full, I thought it would surely crack wide open. I inhaled sharply and blurted out, "Oh! She's so pretty!" Then dad handed her to me - this little dark-haired, pink-cheeked bundle, and I felt it instantly. From that moment, our life was forever changed.
Sophie was a high-spirited little toot, right from the start. When she was good, she was very good. And, as the saying goes, when she was bad, she was horrid. Of course, part of the problem was the reflux. Those were the Pre-Prevacid days when the poor baby was in pain and we just didn't know the extent of it yet. She would scream bloody stinking murder from 11 until 4:30 every single night, until finally she would conk out in the crook of my arm on the couch. There, with me scared to death I would drop her, we would both sleep a couple of hours in a blissful state of unconsciousness.
But the other part of Sophie's "problem" involved a hearty genetic dose of just good 'ole mule-headed stubborness. From Day One, when she made The Face and squalled like a banshee at the nurse who left her alone and unentertained in the basinette, it was obvious. This child had a very definite opinion. And she wanted it heard.
However, swirled in with the headstrong side of Soph's personality is also the sweetest of all sweet sides. The child has a heart of gold. Whenever I'm having a hard day, she is always there to pat me on the back and offer a word of encouragement. "It's okay, Mama, you can just smile. See, like this!"
If a child falls down on the playground, she immediately runs to their side, anxious to help them feel better. Sophie is a lover of life. Everything is interesting and worth exploring. Everything is exciting. Everything is fun. She is such a cheerful, spunky, people-loving little girl. We have never been anywhere in public without Sophie drawing a crowd. She is quite possibly the friendliest child on the planet. Wherever she goes, she leaves having acquired a new friend.
Sophie is extremely smart (a bit too smart at times, in my opinion). At ten months, she de-proofed the child-proof locks ten minutes after Russ had successfully installed them on all of the cabinets. She looked up at us, all puffed up and proud, with a grin that clearly said, "Yay, me! How 'bout giving me something challenging next time?"
Sophie is absolutely hilarious. This is the child who at age one exclaimed, "Eew! I GROSS, Mama!" after throwing up in my hair. This is also the child who told me that her newborn cousin, Nora, would like "a pretty pink dress and some red meat" as a gift. ...You just never know for sure what's going on in that little noggin' of hers, until she opens her mouth and says something nuts!
Sophie is such a blessing. She is our little miracle. God gave her to us at a time when we seemed broken beyond repair, and she helped us heal. During our tears, she gave us a reason to hope again. In our sadness, she showed us laughter. She helped us see again that life is good. And that God's plan, although sometimes heartbreaking and painful, is always right. We are so very grateful to her birthparents for making the greatest of all loving sacrifices. We are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for giving us our heart's desire.
"My hope in God is the anchor of my soul, both sure and steadfast." (Hebrews 6:19)
Today our sweet Sophs turns three. Here's a look through the years.
The cakes. Sophie does not get cake. And I don't mean in a "we won't let her have sugar" kind of way. I mean, Sophie doesn't understand the concept of cake. Cake, to Sophie, is the ultimate of all nifty art mediums. While some of it does end up in her mouth, most of it ends up around her mouth and all over her. Last year she told us that it was "SOAP!", which helped clarify why she was smearing it head-to-toe in "lather up" fashion. Every birthday party since the first one, when we carted her away from the table in a Hefty trashbag, requires a trip outside for a hosing down.
The parties. Sophie is a girl who loves a party! When life is a party, any occasion which includes balloons, hats, blowers, streamers, presents, and herds of excited PEOPLE is a splendid occasion, indeed! She will rehash the details of the happy event months after the day has passed. "Remember Chuck E. Cheese, Mama? He danced with me and gave me a high-five!"
The memories. Sophie is a girl who knows how to do it up right for the camera. (Poor thing has had a LOT of practice.) Here is a video from her first birthday. I went in to her room that morning to sing "Happy Birthday" to her (please pardon my voice) and she sat there - all wide-eyed, blinking sleepily and stretching, like, "Huh. This is an odd way to start the day. But I dig it!" Awww. The little grins and the head rub. Don't you just want to squeeze her!
Happy 3rd Birthday, Sweetie. We love you so much!