Then and Now

Three months ago I wrote the above blog, trying to keep up with the telling of our story as we awaited our adoption court date. That date has finally come, and gone. As of Monday, Sophia is officially our daughter!!

Over two years have passed since the moment I wrote about above, but I remember it like yesterday. The two years in between however, are a cluster of moments....some amazing, some extraordinary, some mundane, some sad, difficult or trying...but in those two years, I've seen a girl and her brothers grow from this....

5 months, 2, 3, 4

To this...

2, 4, 5, 7

It has been a spectacular journey for our girl, and for our family. She was diagnosed as 'failure to thrive' as a 2 month old when she was first removed from home and placed into another foster home. She was in that home for 3 months before being moved to ours, still with the same diagnosis for a second time in her five months of life. In only three weeks she had met the goals set for her by a developmental interventionist triggering a flood of, "You guys are amazing parents" type comments, not just from the therapist, but many in our lives who were seeing the changes.

Before anyone thinks I'm being awfully braggadocios, fear not! This is not a 'praise be to me' blog! We loved her. That is all. And even that came after God dramatically changed our hearts following a difficult first week (

After that, she was just one of us. The boys had already bonded and taken ownership of their new sister, leading the way for us, and giving her no slack. Sibling rules applied. They, no doubt in my mind, are who lead the charge in her development. They played, yelled, ran around, tugged on, tickled, encouraged, cheered, cuddled and loved this girl right out of her failing to thrive diagnosis.

To this day, they are her greatest fan club and loudest cheering section when she masters something new. They stand between her and strangers they feeling are talking to close to her and inform them, "That's not your Sophia!". They brag to everyone when she learns a new word. They let me know when she's hurt, needs help or has pooped. They share with her, they fuss when she takes a toy from them, they laugh when she's silly and hug her when she cries. She is their "best Sophia", and it fills my heart when they tell her so.


As for Sophia, she has a such a sweet spirit. She is a gift and a joy to all who know her. She loves pretty shoes, baby dolls, playing ball and hot wheels. She calls the boys either "brothers" or "guys" and chases after them all the day long, never more then a step or two behind. She is still delayed in her speech but otherwise, has caught up completely! After a second set of tubes in her ears and more intense speech therapy, the new words are coming daily, and she is thrilled with her newfound ability to communicate! She's still not big as a minute, just under 25 lbs and 2 feet tall, but nothing slows her down. She will climb on anything...jungle gyms, counters, tables, brothers bikes...and is tough as nails. I'm glad for this because, as a coach once told me, when your smaller it means you just have to work harder. She's not unlike any of our other children really, we all overcome obstacles, or struggle through the first few times we try something new, and the celebration of success is always there, every time. But when I remember those first days, failing to thrive right before my eyes...unable to hold her head up at 6 months, not smiling, not interacting with the toys around her, not holding her own bottle... And then suddenly, with her brothers' encouragement, she reached for that first toy. Her eyes followed mine. She lifted her head to watch them play. She smiled at their silly songs. She held out her hand and touched mine. She recognized her daddy when he came home from work. And then she thrived. She worked hard to sit on her own by 11 months, and to walk by 16 months. She's my little mighty mouse, making her mommy, daddy and brothers proud with every new victory. It's not by accident that she is here with us. Not a mistake that she ended up in our family. It was by design, because she needed these boys. She needed us, and little did we know, just how much we needed her.

I thank God for the conversation Scott had with a social worker during lunch at a Subway two and a half years ago. ( It changed our lives and our family in a way we never could have imagined that day. What great joy, what huge love, what challenges and triumphs, what grace and beauty, have all come from such a tiny, underdeveloped, undernourished little baby girl. My girl. Our sweet Sophia.

6 months old
2 1/2 years old