i realize an update is long overdue.  gracious.

sarahjoy is doing spendidly (love that word!)  we were at the cardiologist's and the pediatrician's office last week and both gave her superb reports of good health.  it's not an exaggeration to say that they were giddy at how well she was doing.  i have to remind myself, because things have gone so well, that when we brought this sweet thing home she was SICK.  as in REALLY sick.  like doctors freaking out sick.  i remember sitting in the heart surgeon's office and going through what was going to happen with the surgery.  eric kept saying, "and what if that doesn't work...and what if that isn't successful..."  until the doctor said, "well, then we would be looking at a double lung transplant which generally children are not candidates for so we would just need to make her as comfortable as possible."

upon which i took a deep breath and said, "okay, can we stop talking now?"

all that to say, our little girl was really sick and there realistically could be severe long term health implications for her heart not being repaired until much later.  however........................she appears to be completely healthy!

she is growing like a weed.  she has gained 3 pounds in the past month - that's just about 15% of her body weight.  she has grown in height.  and her two-year-old-ness is off the charts.  all of which are indicative of a healthy little girl.  as much as i frown upon fits and getting in to everything, it is a nice reminder that we are being a normal two year old.  in fact, i was thinking on the way home from church today that she is always wanting to walk everywhere, little miss indepedent.  which, one would argue, is pretty typical of the age.  however, in china, she didn't want to walk anywhere.  she wanted us to carry her all the time.  at that point, i chalked it up to stubborness and/or adoption related issues.  but i was thinking this afternoon that maybe a lot of that had to do with the fact that she was exhausted!  her poor little body barely had enough energy for her to breathe, much less have energy to walk.  i remember she would go a few steps and then stop.  she didn't climb on anything and she certainly couldn't be described as being 'all over the place'.  really, i think we were witnessing a miracle.  our little girl shouldn't have been alive.  but there she was, hanging on until mommy and daddy could come bring her home and get her healthy.

sarahjoy is doing great.  she is a bundle of energy, into everything.  she adores her brothers and sisters and her stuffed panda.  she eats anything in sight.  she wants to put her purple converse on and go out the door at any opportunity.  she loves to play chase (inside or out!)  she has particular amounts of fun when she finds a crayon or marker and no one is looking.  i am fully expecting to have at least one piece of furniture ruined by her and am fairly sure i can count on her giving herself a haircut at some point.  it is a different kind of challenge to have a two year old who hasn't been in my care except for a short time.  things that i most certainly would have disciplined and taken care of by this age with the others are new experiences for her.   surprisingly, i never felt that with lydia - she is my very compliant, soft-spoken, quiet little girl.  she would and still does go off and play quietly with her dolls.  she did get into some mischief but she wasn't as fiesty as the ol' sj.  sarahjoy...not so compliant, soft-spoken or quiet.  she is a maniac!  into everything, constantly.  most definitely keeps me on my toes and regularly reminds me - in case i forget - that we have a two year old in our house now.  i would be willing to bet my house on the fact that sarahjoy is going to be our firecracker and there will be some significant explosions under this roof!  a fighter, that kid.  in more ways than one.

we are so thankful.  this morning while i was getting ready and listening to all the kids scurry around i was marveling at how completely normal it seems to have sj in our family.  she fits.  it doesn't even seem weird anymore to have such a little one.  it is our family.  and i love it.    you know, i would love to adopt a treasure trove more.  because adoption is an amazing blessing, a miracle, a God thing.  and i love being a part of that.  i love having miracles staring back at me everyday.  i love having a world perspective right under my own roof.  i love getting a stomachache when i see money being spent lavishly because i have two little treasures that are pictures of how that money could truly do something to change the world.  i love that  i do have two little treasures and they have changed me.

i am pondering what to do with that change.  it's like going on a trip to see the third world, how the 'others' live, and coming back to the comforts of home and feeling a bit, or more than a bit, uncomfortable.  and you don't quite know what to do with what you've seen.  how to process that you have a closet full of shoes and so many have a pair of shoes, or none at all.  except, my trip lives with me.  the memories don't fade and i can't forget what i saw.  i see their precious faces every morning.  and when i see them, i see thousands of other little treasures who need families.  and what do i do?  we can't keep adopting.  we don't have the resources - financial or emotional.  and quite obviously, even if God were to lay it on our hearts for another one (which he hasn't at this point, don't y'all go freaking out on me, although i'm not ruling it out)  that doesn't begin to touch the thousands of orphans i can't bring to my home.  but maybe i can do something bigger.  be a part of the adoption journey for others.  be an advocate for those sweet faces.

The Butterfly Foundation.  makiah loved butterflies.  and butterflies symbolize new life.  hope.  ......in the very beginning stages of thought.  but it's there, rumbling in the back of my head.

so, back to what this post was supposed to be about.  sarahjoy!!!  she's fabulous.  your prayers, God's mercies, and a few amazing doctors.   from all that we can tell, she is 100% healthy.  she will continue on her medication; the doctor will keep her dose steady while she grows so she will essentially be weaning herself off in the next few months.  and then after 4-6 months they will completely stop it.   all the while monitoring her heart and lung pressures.  after that, we're done!  of course, we will continue a regimen with the cardiologist to keep an eye on things but will be done with any treatment of a heart condition.

God has been very merciful to us.  he is always good, but life does not always go the way we would like for it to.  even still, God is good. so i refuse to say, "sj is healthy!  God is good!"  because truly, even if she were not healthy, God is still good.  but for now, he has bestowed his mercies on us and we have been the recipients of a great gift.  we are immensely thankful.  and we are enormously indebted to those of you who have faithfully prayed for sarahjoy and have given to her little life.  you truly have been part of a miracle.

she is all we dreamed of.

this girl loves to be outside!

super big sisters annaclaire and lydia

sj's three favorite things - the doctor, chickfila, and panda