I can’t even believe this is the same girl we met a year ago. She’s so full of life, and giggles, and affection, and charm. And while celebrating our Ava Day on August 22nd, there were some things I didn’t want to forget- the feeling of the slight fuzz on her head rubbing on my cheek, the way she felt like a long limp noodle when her nanny handed her to me, the breaking down of the wall that had been building around my heart during our long and painful wait, the time we gave Ava guava juice in China and thought she was experiencing some sort of sugar high but it was really just her true personality poking through her fear, her huge brown eyes round as the moon, the way our family finally felt complete.
Of course there are some things I’ll never forget that will always be a bit painful- seeing how dirty Ava was with a huge lump and bruise on her forehead the day we met her, realizing she was very small for a two year and she didn’t have enough strength to walk, her unending screaming in the middle of the night, watching many of the other kids happily playing games with their new parents a few days after meeting while Ava sat motionless in our laps sucking her thumb, the way Nathan felt when Ava only wanted me for 2 weeks, the sadness I felt for Ava that she was leaving her beautiful country, realizing the incredible amount of loss my daughter had already experienced, wishing I could have been with Ava sooner.
Every year on this day we will celebrate- becoming a family in such a beautiful place, the new ‘family’ we met in China (the people who were with us in China for this most important day), all of our extended family who loved Ava immediately and who continue to treat her like royalty, all of our friends who supported us and listened to us throughout our wait, Ava’s Chinese heritage, the love her birth parents must have had for her to allow her to come to us, and our love for each other.
While in China, we bought several gifts in order to give Ava one each year on this anniversary. This year she got a puzzle with pictures of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar. We went out for Chinese food, took a few pictures, and told Ava over and over how happy we are that she’s our daughter. I’ll forever be amazed at how perfect we are for each other. I don’t know what goes on in that matching room in China, but I’m convinced it’s something magical and divine.