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Monday, November 16, 2009

320/365

Lucy 320/365

Annie 320/365

Today I am so incredibly thankful for being given the privilege of meeting our precious Annie on this day one year ago. It was amazing to finally have her in our arms and be able to kiss on her cheeks and those beautiful lips of hers. She was very calm the entire time we were at our orphanage visit. We later figured out a lot of the reasons why she probably acted the way that she did. She was sick and she was used to having to pretty much fend for herself. She sat quietly in our laps while we were there. She let us snuggle and love on her. She drifted off to sleep and was laid in her crib. After a while, I couldn't stand it any more so I just picked her up and held her while she slept. She was sweating bullets while she slept (which she still does) because she had on a really hot fleece sleeper even though it was very warm outside. Her skin was a mess. She was covered in bites and scars from bites. She was very small. Much smaller than we were expecting. When we traveled, she was 7.5 months old and she weighed 14 lbs. She was so short - still is. She was clearly scared, but wasn't sure how to show that. It was like she was hiding in a little shell that she had built around herself.

Meeting your child for the first time is such a huge event, and you want to think that everything is just perfect. It was when we traveled for Lucy, so why wouldn't it be again. The girls are from the same orphanage, so we just kind of assumed that Annie had been loved on the same way that Lucy had been. Justin pointed out several things that were strange to him about our time at the orphanage. At that time, I just blocked it all out and wanted to believe that it was perfect, but you know right away, even if I didn't want to admit it at the time, that something wasn't right. I was so sad that we had to wait a full day in between our visit and our G&R. I just wanted her with us right away. She needed us and we needed her.

We will obviously never know what Annie's life was like before us. We only have assumptions based on all of the signs that she showed us and how the nannies acted towards her when we were seeing them around her and the other babies. What I know for sure is that meeting her and then becoming her family 1.5 days later was one of the most wonderful moments of our lives. No matter how sad or mad I am over how she was cared for before us, it all melts away because we are the lucky ones. Any nanny that has been in her life prior to us that missed out on seeing that because she was probably a very difficult baby has missed out on really knowing one of the most amazing souls. We are the ones that have gotten to watch her blossom into the amazing little person that she is and always has been. All she needed was the love that comes from being with a family that loves her no matter what. No matter how many hours a day she spends crying. No matter how difficult she was to feed. No matter how resistant she was to being held or shown affection towards. She needed consistency. She needed to learn that we were ALWAYS going to be there for her. She needed lots and lots of love and she has so much love to give back.

Annie truly is a child that touches the lives of everyone she meets. She leaves such a positive impact on people. She draws people in. People want to be near her and love on her. She is such a lover. She wants to make people happy. She will flash her million dollar grin and you just melt. Every time. Every single time. She giggles and runs and jumps. She is curious about everything. She thinks that she should touch everything and she wants to share her finds with you. She is a snuggler. I mean a real snuggler. She has her head resting on my shoulder much of the day. She loves to give kisses and be kissed. She loves to hug. She loves to mother her babies and nuzzle her blankies. She wants to do everything that Lucy does. She loves animals and wants to literally kiss them all. It may have taken us a while to get to see all of this, but it was so worth every bump in the road to get here. She is our perfect little Anners Bananners and getting to finally meet her was one of the most special days in our lives. I will never, ever forget it and I thank God every single day for making that happen.

I also want to point out how amazing Lucy was the entire time we were in Vietnam. It was not an easy trip at all, but other than one major meltdown, she was a dream. She was so, so, so good and it was like she just understood how much Annie needed us. I always tell people when I talk about our time in Vietnam that God knew we were pushed to our absolute limits on that trip and He just took care of Lucy. I have never been so proud of her as I was on that trip and how she handled it.


Then.........
Our very first glimpse of Annie.
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And now......

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50 comments:

Anonymous said...

first leelee..can't believe you are not up reading this right now!

dada

mellowandyellow said...

What a wonderful little lady she has blosssomed into. :)

Amy said...

I remember praying so hard for your family during that time. Praying for your peace and strength as you brought Annie into your family. Today I will say a prayer of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for answering all those prayers above and beyond what was asked or imagined.

It is such an amazing thing to witness this little one mature from a tiny baby bird that was so helpless and scared into a big beautiful eagle ready to explore and take on the world.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. It has been such a blessing to watch.

By the way, I love Annie's outfit in the pictures today. We are currently stationed in France and that is definitely the French look for little girls. I just bought Adalee her first "knickers" this weekend!

mimi lam said...

A very touching post,such an emotional, lifetime journey for your family, and has made such amazing changes to Annie,thank to the love, and care of her family. Love, love her outfit, and the adorable knickers, she looks like a little Parisien young lady, so is Lucy, so stylist in her winter outfit.

Ki said...

Kelly,
I haven't posted in a while, but nonetheless I read your blog EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. and I absolutely love it. I love your uplifting spirit and I love your pictures and of course Lucy and Annie are just the cutest babies (well are they babies or kids now...) ever...
But just had to say that your post today left me in tears. Its so amazing to see how Annie has grown and blossomed over the last year. Thank you again for sharing so much of your lives with us here in the blogworld....
Ki
p.s. I'm kinda getting sad that your 365 project is coming to an end soon....any thoughts about this next year? Its going to be hard not getting a daily fix of "Lucy in the Sky"...

Kristen said...

Stunning and beautiful - the entire post... the memories, the pictures, the love... thank you for sharing your amazing little angels with us!

Heidi K said...

Naaawwhhh You made me cry!

xxxx

Jenny said...

Happy Family Day!

beckarecka said...

Happy Family Day. I love reading reflections of those first moments and days. So much of what we see those first days make more sense a year later. Annie is such a beautiful soul--its been wonderful to watch her blossom through your blog this year.

Amy Jo said...

I don't post comments very often, but I am a daily reader of Lucy in the Sky.....
I want you to know that your post today left me in tears. I feel like I have experienced everything with you. You have been amazing parents to Annie (and Lucy of course). Your love and determination have brought Annie to where she is today. What an amzing journey you have had so far.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post with us....God Bless

Sherri said...

What a happy day! It makes me so sad that Annie didn't have the great experience that Lucy and Gracie(she says we should call her Gracie, not Grace) had, Nanny V never would have let Annie be neglected. BTW - I had a coat like Annie's when I was little and I have been looking for one. It even had the matching hat and muff. Have you started decorating yet? Love to all.

Ashley said...

What a VERY special day this is for your family. Annie is such a special little girl. She is so lucky to have you and you are so lucky to have her!

Stephanie said...

Hi Kelly! Again, I read every day but never comment...this post compels me to say something though. The way you describe sweet Annie - million dollar grin, a positive impact on people, she draws people in - all of these things can be said about you too. She was clearly born to be your daughter. Cheers to many more happy years (and lots of photos!)ahead!
Stephie

auntstace said...

Kelly,

I am bawling my eyes out. I love this post. I often look at Ellie in wonderment - knowing that God brought us together for a special reason. I think that is so true for all of us -- but knowing how difficult things were for Annie and watching you all with her last year and throughout this whole year has strengthened that belief so much. You amaze me as a mother. Your strength and love has allowed Annie to shine.

Capture said...

Kelly - This post has me in tears. Annie will not remember her days before you. She will only remember being fully loved by two beautiful parents and that is the greatest gift you could ever give to her. To Lucy. Beautiful Blessings.
K xx

The Condreys said...

kel, that was a very sweet and special post. i have told you this before but the pictures from then don't even look like little annie. she has just blossomed into the most beautiful spirited child and has rounded out your family so perfectly. i just love her to pieces!!! (even when she drools in my mouth) :) and of course a shout out to luce - love love love her too! and she loves me....when i have fruit snacks. hee hee.

Sarah said...

Such an amazing and bittersweet journey to an amazing and blessed little girl. I am so sorry she had such a rough start before she came to you, that just breaks my heart. She most obviously is a bright light forever more!!

Love the cosmopolitan feel of today's photo shoot! Their outfits are so adorable and I love the two of them together standing and at the cafe table.

LeighAnn said...

This is an overwhelmingly beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your journey. It's amazing to see the difference in Annie and I know that she is so blessed and thankful to be a part of your wonderful family.

ourgoldenchild said...

Such a special girl. I can't believe how big she is and how far she has come.

Mom said...

Hey Poopsie, Dada, Annie, and Lucy--tears, tears, tears of joy! These two beautiful pumpkins are where God planned for them to be, and you two parents are doing an awesome job of making one of the best families ever. It is almost hard for me to look at our baby pictures of Annie, because her eyes and expression always poured out sadness and pain. BUT, NO LONGER! She is one of the happiest little persons that there ever was! I love her SO MUCH. I love Lucy SO MUCH. Kel, when Annie never wants you to put her down (I have witnessed this!), just remember how blessed you are that in your arms is where she wants to be. The same goes for big sis. How truly blessed we all are for having these two angels in our lives.

New topic--are the trees up???

Did we get new, delicious Christmas pics in our new duds??? SO CUTE!

Happy, happy, happy family day! Love and kisses, LeeLee

Mom said...

Dada--sorry I was slow, I fell asleep dreaming about a foot massage!!!! he he he Lee

Mom said...

Is Annie tipping her hat at us, or just trying to get the thing off???!!!!! Love Lucy's dimple! XOXOXO LeeLee

Nicki said...

wow - look at how scared she looked in those early pictures! I don't remember seeing it then but wow - you can really see it now. So sad. I remember how scary and hard it all was like it was yesterday. Amazing, isn't it, how far she's come in only a year? Love is amazing.

ashleyjnc said...

Kelly,
The happiness in Annie is so clear, she is the cutest little doll, just as Lucy is. Way to go for 1 year of her being home! Here's to forever :)

Aside from that, I don't get it, why were the mean to Annie???

Uma said...

This is my first post but I read your blog everyday. What an amazing journey and thanks for sharing a wonderful post. I absolutely love the pictures of girls and they are so adorable.

Kate said...

Such a long journey for precious baby girl. So proud of her...of all of you!

Lane Olson said...

these pics are precious! looks like they are from a movie set. congrats on your one year marker with annie! time flies...

Cori said...

Happy family day to your precious girl!!

ATL said...

I read your blog every day and yet I was very surprised - and happy of course - to see Annie standing tall and proud all on her own. The progress is so amazing! Your two daughters look so precious.

Julie said...

I haven't posted in a long time. I remember following along last year. You traveled a few weeks before we were set to travel in Vietnam as well.

It's amazing how much Annie has changed in a year. Happy times for you all now.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog since just after you returned with Annie. I just wanted to say how wonderful it has been to not only watch her grow, but to also watch how much your love for her grows with each passing day. Both of your children are very fortunate to have such loving parents.

Kelli said...

Happy, happy Family Day. My heart hurts and I get tears in my eyes, remembering your posts from last year. And seeing those pictures again- heartbreaking to see Miss Annie so stressed. But to see how far she's come- truly amazing and a testament of your love for her. You sure are lucky to have such a fabulous little girl in your life....well 2 special girls. Congratulations!

Now I am a blubbering fool, thinking about our upcoming family day. So many memories this time of year!

Seashy said...

Tears are streaming. Thank goodness I didn't read this at work. Those sad first pictures of Annie made me howl and bawl. The little flower she bloomed into :) I am so happy for your whole family today.

love you all so much.

rita from georgia said...

Kelly, love the knickers. They are precious.Take a look and Lunny and Lu, they have a new line of clothing just for girls. So happy for your family that you were blessed to have the opportunity to be Lucy and Annie's parents.

Heather said...

Happy day w/ happy memories. So happy for you. BTW, love the knickers!

Anonymous said...

This is the sweetest post ever!! I am so happy for the addition of Annie to your beautiful family a year ago. Annie and Lucy are such beautiful souls!! It is such a blessing to read about all of your adventures. You are such terrific parents. Thank you for your joyful blog. I am thankful every day for your postings!!

M said...

Amazing and beautiful post! So much love and so emotional. Look at Annie's happy smile today. Just like a fair tale, she has changed to become a beautiful princess. It's because of you and the love you have given to them. Your heart is so pure and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with us.

Cam and Bird's Mom said...

Kelly, your girls are just lovely. What a sweet history Annie has! Love the outfits.

Terynn said...

I remember all this, but what I had forgotten is how rough your little baby girl looked. She looks NOTHING like the bright, shiny rock star she is now.

A complete testimony to the powerful love and consistency of a family---your family, her family; her very own family. Happy Family Day!

Palette said...

I mean, what little girls wouldn't be happy standing outside of Harry Winston? :) Love them and can't wait to get to spend some time with you all.

Kristen said...

Amazing story...She has really grown so beautifully! You look like you have a wonderful family! :D

The Hines Family said...

What a beautiful post! What an amazing story of God loving Annie through her family. She's a blessed little girl and I'm sure she's a blessing in return! :-)

j said...

thank you for sharing this with us. your love for your daughters is so beautiful. i am so happy that all of you found each other. i have happy tears...you inspire me to love more!

Dawn said...

Happiest of Family days to all four of you! Such a beautiful post, and so amazing to see in pictures how very far Annie has come. Thank you for inviting us into your life and sharing your lovely family.

PS...those pics of the girls just made me smile!

raisingpate said...

what a precious angel and amazing journey! you are all obviously so meant to be.

jnbjourney said...

Kelly- I don't know where to start!! First, I remember so vividly when ya'll went to get Annie, how honored I was to get to follow along, and how much I prayed. I truly admire and appreciate you sharing everything you have with us! God is so GREAT!

As for the pictures today, I am so without words! They are way too precious, gorgeous, and classic (your daughters are, which makes the pictures!). Thanks you and God Bless your family!!!

metaphase said...

I'm so happy for Annie's progress and for God placing her in such loving arms- yours.

Lynn in NY said...

Kelly,

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful post with us. I, too, am left with streaming tears reading the incredible power of your love and God's love upon this sweet little baby. God is so good! Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day and you inspire me.

KrisJ said...

Remebering what was going on a year ago still gets me teary. And looking at her now just shows what amazing parents she has!! Those pictures are just adorable the outfits OMG LOVE IT!! Congrats on your year its been amazing watching Annie become such a happy smilie baby!

Stacy said...

Those pictures and the outfits are just so adorable! I especially love the ones at the table. My gosh, what cuties (and what a great photographer mama is)!

Happy Anniversary with Annie - my gosh, what a year it's been. I'm glad she's doing so well - that you all are!