Monday, March 15, 2010

Five Years Ago . . .

Hard to imagine that 5 years ago today Zoe and I became a family of three with the addition of Maya to our family. We were happy beyond words; Maya was not. She said one word, "Mama?", as she was handed to me. She wasn't asking about me, she wanted to know where her foster mom was, the only mama she had ever known. She cried and screamed as I held her, saying, "It's OK to be sad, it's OK." Small comfort for losing the only family she'd known for the last 10 months of her 18-month life. So many changes for such a little girl -- 3 days with her birth parents, two months at Guiping SWI, six months at Mother's Love Orphanage, 10 months with her foster family, and now forever with us.

Back at our hotel, judicious applications of Gerber fruit puffs stopped the tears for longer and longer segments of time. She grieved, but she would come to me for comfort and more fruit puffs. One of Maya's most amazing qualities showed itself early -- the ability to INSIST on what she needed, no matter the barriers. She would put my arm around her to show me how to hold her. And that second day, she woke me up from her crib next to my bed by patting my cheek, and none too gently!

And here she is below, almost two years later, blowing kisses to the camera, a big girl of three, approaching our second anniversary as a family. That second anniversary was a very special one -- spent in China, and looking forward to going to see her foster family. Every time I look at this picture on the screen, I want to kiss that face! Don't be surprised if you see kiss-prints on my computer monitor one day. . . .

I love this black-and-white picture from her first Chinese Culture Camp in Tulsa, age 4. Her only interest in life was to PLAY PLAY PLAY! I was slightly despairing each day as I picked her up at pre-school to hear her teacher say, "Maya didn't feel like doing any work today." Sigh. But I knew what she'd feel like doing when we got home -- cuddling! My Maya is a world-class snuggler, and I can count on her to cuddle close and closer and closer. Whenever she shares my bed, I'm reminded of an old Groucho Marx routine, where a woman tells him, "Hold me closer, closer!" And he responds, "If I were any closer I'd be in back of you!"

And here she is at six years old, a happy-go-lucky girl, proudly sporting her school sweatshirt! She is LOVING kindergarten, and seems to grow into herself with each day as a truly big girl going to the same school as Zoe, not any pesky pre-school anymore! She loves doing the work. . . and still loves to PLAY PLAY PLAY!


Our family day is also Maya's half-birthday, so she is pleased to be OFFICIALLY six-and-a-half now! We had a quieter than usual family celebration today since Maya has bronchitis. We still managed a special breakfast at IHOP, Maya's choice. We also went to see the Three Little Pigs, a children's opera, with good friends. Maya was drooping after that, and we spent a quiet evening looking at Maya's travel scrapbook and telling stories of our first meeting, a day where she cried because she was sad, and I cried because I was happy.

7 comments:

Diane said...

Oh Malinda. What a beautiful little love. She reminds me so much of my own 6 1/2 year old from GuangXi. My little love is so my snuggly girl. The cry photo looks all too familiar. Such a big journey for such young hearts. How do they trust us even a pinkie's worth? Brave.

osolomama said...

What beautiful photos. All the best to you, Zoe, and Maya and especially to Maya on this day. Hope she feels better soon. Thank goodness for cuddles!

Can still remember the look on Simone's face when I opened the door to my room and she got her first look at me: "Who the bleep-bleep is this?" (12 years for in July)

Joanne said...

Happy 5 years together! She is such a doll - what a beauty!

a Tonggu Momma said...

A day to remember... I love that she "told" you what she needed, even on that day, at that young age.

Anonymous said...

This makes me verclept!! Isn't it wonderful how much love you get back, when you give love?

This is what life is about.

Mei Ling said...

Maya: I love your pictures, they're so cute!

LisaLew said...

What a beautiful story. I just loooove Maya! Can you send me a copy of the black and white? I want to frame it. Lovely pictures!