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three years and counting...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Can it really have been three years?
It seems like just yesterday I stepped off that plane in Kansas City with the Madster and ran into my family's arms - exhausted from spending three weeks by myself in Ukraine, but amazed at the bond Maddie and I were slowly building.
Over the last three years we've worked hard on that bond. We have spent a lot of time teaching her what family is...learning how to navigate through some post-orphanage stuff and helping her to adapt to the listening world.
Today, I can honestly say...I am Maddie's mom. She believes it...and I KNOW it. Sure, she still would walk away with a stranger...but now she would look back, she'd ask about me and she would be unsure of herself. I KNOW it...I've SEEN it.   ((MORE))
She no longer mommy-shops, she doesn't hug complete strangers and even shies away a bit when people ask her questions - in an absolutely age-appropriate way. 
It's a beautiful thing!
She doesn't hoard food anymore. She asks for snacks and accepts that sometimes she will get some and other times (if its too close to dinner) she won't. She shares her toys, has good friends at school and is learning more English all the time.
Sure, there are still gaps. Spending four years in an Eastern European orphanage will do that to you, but those gaps are closing. More and more often she's surprising me with her knowledge about things that are more than basic. 
I'm hearing her use bigger and bigger words all the time. She is reading....well. Her teacher has placed her in the middle reading group in her class.
She wants to know how to spell EVERYTHING. She draws and draws and draws. She plays sports. She loves to play dress up and isn't opposed to folding laundry.
She is growing (only one size behind her older sister who is 10! :), maturing (she constantly nags the older boys for misbehaving) and becoming more beautiful every day (see picture above. ;)
In just two short weeks she will turn 7, which for some reason is a big birthday milestone for me. It seems that when kids turn 7 they're no longer the 'little' ones...and suddenly on the verge of becoming a big kid.
And perhaps the biggest milestone of all - this year will finally mark the point where she will have been with us longer than she was in the orphanage.
So while it does seem like just yesterday that Maddie and I stepped off that plane, in so many ways it has been a lifetime. And I have enjoyed every minute of it!
Happy Family Day, Maddie! :)

5 salty messages:

Diana February 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM  

It goes by fast, doesn't it! So glad to hear about her progress...and to hear from you again!

Lesa February 2, 2011 at 8:56 PM  

Happy Family Day! She *is* yours...hope you enjoyed the day together.

jessy February 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

That was my first thought when I read your post title on my blog, "Surely, it can't be three years since Maddie came home!"

Tina in CT February 3, 2011 at 5:02 AM  

Happy Family Day and love hearing about Maddie.

Anonymous,  February 4, 2011 at 8:52 AM  

Belated Happy Family Day.
She has made SO much progress! Doesn't it feel good, when life really starts to feel "normal" again?

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