Thursday, November 21, 2013

Natalie and Friends

Yesterday Natalie and I attended a Potluck dinner at her school.  It was so fun to see her interacting with her friends.  For a girl who can sometimes be very quiet she also likes to take charge and show her extroverted side sometimes.  In the video below she shows off her strength as she pulls a couple of the boys around.

Natalie with a couple of her girlfriends.
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Donna and Mitch… a couple of our very best friends... after they helped us with our Christmas card photo shoot.
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Louie wants in on the love too :)
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

2 Years Ago Today...The Greatest Gift Was Given

Two years ago today, Gary, Natalie and I were given the gift of each other as we became Daddy, Mommy and Daughter.  My sister Leah gained a precious niece while Natalie gained the most loving Aunt Sissy.  Marm, Papa, Greatgrandmother, Grandmommy and Granddaddy were given the gift of a sweet grandchild while Natalie was given the gift adoring grandparents.  Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends were blessed by this feisty Jiangxi girl and in return blessed the life of our little firecracker from China.  Katie and Louie the Newfoundlands got a little girl of their very own to lick and love; Natalie gained two zealous protectors who will always do their best to keep her safe from harm.

Natalie has touched so many hearts and lives and in return she has been so very loved.  In China so many people would give us the thumbs up sign and say in Chinese "lucky baby".  I believe it is more accurate to say "Lucky everyone whose life is touched by Natalie, and lucky Natalie to be the giver and receiver of an enormous circle of love."

On November 7th, I lifted a screaming, terrified little stranger into my arms.  Now Natalie and I share a bond which is so tight that at times it feels that we can read each other's minds.

My darling daughter, Natalie Wanhan, thank you for filling my heart and soul with more love than I ever dreamed possible.  I will always love you, and not even death can stop your Daddy's deep, indelible love for you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Finding Our Way During the Autumn Days

Natalie and I are gradually adjusting to life without Gary.  Other than some nightmares Natalie is doing well.  I have been treating the topic of Gary's death exactly like I do her adoption.  It is also something that has become part of our daily conversations and is discussed in a simple, honest, matter-of-fact way.  I was so afraid that after losing her fourth father (birth, foster #1, foster #2 and Gary) that Natalie would become afraid of losing me too, but thankfully that has not happened.  There is a little song that we had been singing for months from the cartoon show "Daniel Tiger" with lyrics that say "Grown Ups Come Back".  An hour or so after I told Natalie about Gary's death, she approached me and asked "Daddy not grown up anymore?" I think I felt my heart physically twist in my chest.  In order to try to save her faith in me in particular coming back I immediately said, "No Daddy's not a grown up anymore.  When you die you aren't a grown up anymore."  I didn't know what else to say, but that seemed to suffice.

For me, recovering from the unexpected loss of Gary has been a slow process, but every day the pain is a little less.  I am beginning to feel somewhat normal as I craft a new life for myself and my 3 kids (including the 2 giant furry ones :) We have been so lovingly supported by our family, friends and everyone at Natalie's school and that has meant the world to us.  To all of you who have held our hands, filled our bellies with wonderful vegetarian food, given us hugs & cards and lifted our spirits you have my eternal gratitude.  Even in the face of the biggest loss of my life I find that I have so much to be grateful for.  Much love to you all!