Our darling, beautiful Elli turned 11 years old today! We love her so much!
It's hard to believe that it's been eight and a half years since we went on our very first adoption trip to China to bring home this angel of ours. We were so excited and a little terrified. Had we known what the next several years with Elli would bring, we would have been a LOT terrified! (: I often say it's good we didn't know about Elli's autism, developmental delays, and bi-polar disorder because we would likely have been too afraid to move forward with her adoption and that would have been a huge mistake. Elli has blessed our lives in so many beautiful ways. She has taught us patience and unconditional love and gratitude and so much more-- all in ways that she could not have taught us if she were a "typical" child. We've recorded some of these experiences on her adoption blog, found HERE. And others on her "Miracles for Elli" blog found HERE. (The lack of updates on this blog is not from lack of love.) Sometimes when I get discouraged with all of the things that are hard about raising her, I go back and read these posts and I am just filled with love for her and with love for my Heavenly Father for sustaining us as we parent her.
She has been our hardest challenge but has brought us the greatest of joys.
Happy Birthday, Elli Belly! You are so loved!!!!
In case you are wondering, her harness is for the bus rides to school-- it helps keep her safe on the bus so she is not jumping up and down the aisle. (: And I just had to throw in a couple of other pictures. The first one is my very favorite quilt made by my mom, aunt and grandma and given to us for our wedding. It's huge and warm and the blanket I always give to guests when they come because it's so soft and big. A couple of weeks ago, I went to put Elli to bed and realized her blanket needed to be washed, so I gave her this one. As you can see, Elli has an uncanny ability to destroy anything and everything. Argh!! That quilt had gone through 17 years of camping trips and guests and cuddles on the couch and was still perfect-- only to be shredded in one night by our Elli. I mean, there were several pieces of it on her floor! The next photo is what we often find when we go into her room in the morning-- she has found how to tear up her floor. Luckily, this time it wasn't combined with her getting into her messy diaper and painting the room. (; I can't believe we haven't completely lost our sanity with this girl. Good thing she's so cute!!!