My dearest Natalie,
Just this week marked 2 1/2 years since I first saw your face.
I didn't understand why just then, but you were somehow familiar to me. At the time we were preparing to bring home the youngest of your older brothers home, and we thought our family was going to be complete with two boys and two girls, so I joined forces with others to advocate for you in hopes of finding your family.
As the months continued to pass, you were never far from my heart. Your daddy, your siblings and I faithfully prayed daily that your family would find you. And slowly over time we realized that there was indeed room in our house, but more importantly, room in our hearts for one more family member... and that family member was you!
The wait to get you home seemed endless at times, this day last year broke my heart that you turned three thousands miles and hundreds of days away from us, and yet here you are today...standing before me, in person, celebrating your fourth birthday.
On this birthday, your first as a member of our family, you don't seem to understand what a birthday means.
So we're keeping the celebration low-key, and will have pizza (your favorite food outside of Ramen noodles) for dinner with brownies and ice cream for dessert instead of having you choose your favorite place to go out to eat.
You're getting a tiny little pink and purple bike for your gift, and I'm pretty sure that will bring some HUGE smiles post nap time.
Today, the day you turn four, you are crazy about your older sisters,
somewhat tolerant of your older brothers,
and still trying to figure out exactly how you feel about me. There are times that it hurts my heart as I realize you see me as a tool of getting what you want instead of someone that you love.
But today is the start of a new year. We've missed so much time together, but every day of this year marks another day of you and I growing closer together. I'm sure that when I look back on this day next year it will blow me away how much you've grown...and how much we've grown in our relationship.
I look forward to making the most of every opportunity of every day to love you more from now until then.
Natalie Zhangyun, I love you far more than you understand what the word love means. I'm looking forward to seeing you begin to comprehend love in our daily interactions.
Happy birthday baby girl!