Four years ago today,Will and I were promoted from being a couple to being parents.  China had chosen US to be the parents of Yu Si Jia…soon to be Olivia.  We loved her little face the first time we saw it and our love continues to grow.

Here is the first picture we saw of our new daughter:

Here is Olivia last night as an angel for her school’s Christmas program.

For non-adoptive parents, the day you get your referral is like finding out you’re pregnant.

Referral day always comes with many emotions for me.  For us, from very start to our referral day, referral was 14 months (we expedited homestudies, etc. for fear of a deployment and are glad we did, because he was indeed recalled to active duty).  Our actual wait for referral was 8 months after our dossier was submitted, which we know we are incredibly lucky to have only waited that short amount of time.  I have many e-pals and bloggy buddies who are in their 3rd year of waiting and I can only imagine their angst over the wait to become parents.

Believe it or not, there are some who have followed our journey since I left Will in Gulfport, MS for his deployment to Iraq.  For those who have been with us all along the way, thank you.  Your kind words, encouragement and new-found friendships are amazing.  For those who stumbled here by accident and have hung around, I’m grateful for you, too.   We still get questions about how and why we chose China.  Quite some time back, I posted about it and you can read it here.  For those who know us in real life, thank you for loving my child.  Friends are the family we get to choose and I think I made some pretty dang good decisions.   It’s not always blue skies and sunshine around Chateau L and we are overcoming some challenges, but one thing remains the same.  We are a family.  We are the family that I wasn’t sure I would ever have.  Being a parent is important to me.  I don’t know if it’s because we shoveled through mounds of paperwork with notaries, apostles, writing check after check, asking for letters of reference and having to prove ourselves worthy of being a parent or if it’s just in our nature or both, but we love being parents.  At the end of every day, no matter the struggles that faced us during the day, I always kiss my little girl good night, hug her tight and tell her I look forward to tomorrow.  Even though there are many times where I welcome some “me” time without hearing “mommy” a bajillion times and I love being able to go to the bathroom without an audience,  I miss her when she’s not with me.

I made a vow a long time ago and I still stick to it…as frustrated as I may get or irritated or whatever phase we’re crossing into that is less than pleasant, I will never take being a parent for granted.  Ever.  I will never regret our decision to become parents and you will certainly never hear me complain about having her.  The good outweighs the bad and, honestly, the bad isn’t that bad and we are extremely blessed to have a child who is as good as Olivia.  She will always know she’s loved and never will I make her feel like she’s an inconvenience for me.  And for those who try to tell me I’m not a “real” parent because our family tree was formed in a different fashion, you’re wrong.  For those who tell Olivia we’re not her parents because we’re white.  They are wrong.   We are raising our child the healthiest way we know how and she already knows that she may not have our eyes, but she certainly has our heart.  And she has before I saw her picture for the first time and even more so since then.