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"Half Way Through" - Dec 16th, 2011

Today marks the "half-way through" point in our adoption of sweet Hannah and it also marks a day of break-throughs with our little girl. We went into Hannah's adoption knowing that God was calling us to step out in faith. It took faith to start another adoption this soon after bringing Michael home. It took faith to know that He could provide the resources for yet another adoption. It took faith to go into another adoption not knowing anything about our sweet little one's medical history or medical future. Much like Michael's adoption, we knew a little bit about the special needs that Hannah had, but, like Michael, we knew that there could be stuff that we didn't know about as well. We just knew that when we saw her sweet little face pop-up on our computer screen that God was calling us to trust Him and make her our daughter.

We have now had Hannah for five days and in those days, we have grown to love her more than words can even describe. This little girl has been through so much in her short little life and is in the middle of one of the biggest changes she will ever experience. Last week at this time, she was probably laying in her crib in her orphanage much the same as she had almost every hour of every day for the past 17 months. The most change she had ever experienced in her short life was probably the changing of nannies or the change of kids who were in the cribs next to hers. Then her life got turned upside down when she made the 8+ hour car/bus ride from her orphanage to Kunming where we were waiting for her. Now, in the last five days, she has been on three airplanes, multiple cars, buses and taxis, had her picture taken about 1000 times, had a mommy and daddy interact with her constantly, played with toys for the first time, eaten new foods and talked to her crazy new siblings and grandparents on Skype.

Through it all, Hannah has been a champ. She has been overwhelmed. Wouldn't you be if everything you had ever known, changed in the blink of an eye? I know I would probably shut down and not let anyone in for a very long time. But our little Hannah Zhou is amazing. She did not shed a tear when her nanny handed her over to me. She did not shed a tear when we visited her orphanage and said good-bye to her nannies for the last time. She did not shed a tear when nothing in her life was the same. She also did not make a peep. Not a single grunt or babble or sound for three days except for talking in her sleep.

Then last night, things started changing. She started mimicking things we were doing, like clapping our hands, snapping our fingers or clicking our tongues. Then she started making little sounds here and there. Not a lot, but definite happy sounds. Then suddenly our little girl was coming out of her shell. She was waving her arms and legs, playing with toys and making all sorts of nosies. The other families in our travel group were amazed at the change and so were we. It was like she suddenly decided that we were OK people and that she could let us into her world just a little bit. Tonight on the plane she even said "mama" and "dada" a few different times. Our hearts just continue to melt over this sweet little girl.

We did find out something interesting about her today as well. She loves to laugh! The only thing is, you wouldn't know by looking at her that she is laughing, but she is definitely laughing. She has not changed expressions on her face one time since we got her; not when she is laughing and not when she is crying. We believe that she might have some muscle issues in her face that prevent her from being able to move her mouth and eyes very much. It will be interesting to see what her pediatrician says about it when we get home and how much it might be able to be helped through physical therapy. It is just such a joy to know that she knows how to laugh and that she loves to babble and talk once she is comfortable. We can't wait to see what the next five days hold as we bring her home and settle into life as a family of six.


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