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  • Ashley

One Month Home, and Four Months Old

Hello! Hello! We can hardly believe that just two days ago (September 18), we celebrated one month home already. In some ways it feels like we were just in Japan meeting our little cutie and in other ways, it feels as if she has been in our arms and hearts forever.

So let me start by saying that this has been one crazy, hectic, amazing month. Honestly, I have no idea if I am coming or going. Vince and I have not had traditional leave from work (of course nothing about our journey has been traditional or ordinary, so I'm not sure why I thought this would be), so we are exhausted and juggling a great deal at once. Vince has been working Mondays through Thursdays and staying home with Everly on Fridays. I have been staying home with her Mondays through Wednesdays and working Thursdays and Fridays. My momma has been keeping her on Thursdays. Vince has had golf practice or matches nearly every Monday through Thursday, and I have had cheerleading on Thursdays, Fridays, and a couple Saturday mornings. Somehow, we make it work; we get lesson plans finished, we make dinner, we play with our little cherry blossom and her fur siblings, we are taking pics (yes, I know, probably too many), making memories, coaching, and teaching our other "kids." Some days I'm not sure if I have anything left to give, but then I remember how fleeting these days, weeks, months are and I soak in every cry, smile, laugh, and late-night feedings like it is my last breath.

Everly has transitioned extremely well, better than anyone anticipated really. She has had some gas/acid reflux issues, but we are working through it, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She lights up when Vince or I enter a room and laughs and "talks" almost non-stop. Her little raspy voice is literally the cutest sound we have ever heard (other than her giggle) and we are hoping she keeps that rasp as she grows. She is so smart and is an absolute joy to be around. She seems to love just about everybody she has met, which has been amazing to witness. She has experienced a great loss in her young life, so it is to be expected that there would be some grieving, and there has been, but nothing like we anticipated and prepared for. There are tiny moments where she opens her eyes just to make sure we are still there before falling asleep and touching our face and smiling once she realizes we are still holding her; if only she knew we are never letting go. There were the times we would both leave the room and she would scream until we returned and took her in our arms those first two weeks. And there are other small moments where we notice her bonding with us, and we just look at each other and wonder how in the world we got so lucky. How incredibly blessed we are to be able to call her our daughter.

We received a box of Everly's (Mizuki's) belongings from her birth mom last week. Going through her clothes and other belongings from her previous life had us in tears. I hope her birth mom knows how much we cherish those items. We have packed all her stuff from Japan up in a safe chest for her to keep and go through when she is older. In that chest there is also a photograph of her with her first momma, the woman who loves her so incredibly selflessly. Some day those items will mean the world to our girl, just like they do to us right now.

Since we have brought her home, we have been featured on an Instagram account about adoption and have been asked multiple times about the adoption process. We love sharing our journey with others, and know this was all meant to be. One question we get asked quite frequently is if we have had fertility issues. And another one is when did adoption first enter our minds. No, as far as we know, we do not have any fertility issues. This has always been our first choice. And my answer to the second question has always been I can't even remember when I first started considering adoption. But just a week or so ago, one of my very best life-long friends told me a story that I had forgotten. When we were at Sea World in Florida for New Year's 2000 (our sophomore year in high school), we were waiting for the laser light show and saw this adorable little Asian cutie in front of us. I said, "One day I am going to adopt a baby from an Asian country. I'm going to give a baby in need a home." I knew even then that this was my future. Now that I am slightly (okay, much) older, I can appreciate how complex the needs are in some countries, including our own. I am eternally grateful that God placed adoption in my heart all those years ago and that I have a husband who fell in love with how I dreamed of starting a family.

An interesting tidbit of from the day we met our girl, she has had a fascination with pictures of our boy, Stormy. That has continued. Now whenever she looks at his pictures that fill our home, she talks, smiles, and giggles as if she knows him. We have made a beautiful friend along this journey. She has also brought home a beautiful baby girl from Japan, and we now have the great pleasure of watching our girls grow through the wonders of social media. She told me not long ago that she has no doubt Everly knows Stormy. She believes that through our connection with our boy and our connection with our girl, they too have a connection. I believe that, no matter how unbelievable it may seem to some. The love I still have for Stormy and the love I have for our girl is never ending. That love and energy connects us all, even in death.

I knew it would all make sense one day, but looking back at the last year and a half, I know why all those other babies never made it into our arms...our girl just wasn't ready yet. This sweet girl, who is currently fast asleep in my arms, was always meant to be ours; my heart and soul have always known her, but now my head does as well. In a strange way I feel as if we haven't missed a day with her; our bond is eternal and we are so in love with our little cherry blossom.

Until next time, enjoy the photos of us making memories below!

Sunflower fun with Mommy, Daddy, Sadie, and Uncle Terry...

Our Sleeping Beauty inspired 4 month photoshoot...

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