Her pictures came yesterday, the first new pictures we have seen since the three old grainy photos that came with her referral. She has grown so much. We had asked asked for an update and for pictures with her foster family so that we could understand family dynamics and the style of living she is used to, to help us acclimate her as easily as possible into a western lifestyle.
So the pictures came, pictures of her at her eighth birthday party (she is eight here but nine in China because they start at age 1 not zero as we do.) That eighth birthday was almost a year ago now and her pictures show a timid sweet spirit smiling shyly at the camera and enjoying a western looking cake with a big group of friends. Her tender sweet spirit breaking my heart again.
But then, as I scrolled down, came the current photos, pictures of her right now. She gazes into the camera, strong and powerful. With an identity of her own. I almost do not recognize this child. The next shot catches her looking down, thoughtful, in profile. And I see the baby in her, innocent, free and perfect.
In the old photos JQ looked more like an orphan. Small, sweet and helpless with a defenseless longing to be known, loved and wanted. It was the new photos that took my breath away. And the words accompanying them in response to one of my questions: “we have told her she has a family.” This was what gazed out at me from the newest pictures of our little girl. The strength and identity that come from knowing she is wanted, she has a family, she has a forever home. Our love has already changed her, already allowed her to step into the identity God gave her at conception. Our love, across the continents and through the spiritual airwaves, has already made her strong.
So tears, lots and lots of tears. This child has captured my heart and it was that second and third photo that finally allowed me to feel this is real and it is happening, you, little girl, are really coming HOME to me.
And so we have chosen her name and soon we will shout it to the rooftops, our little JQ will still be JQ, but her identity will grow as she adds a new name and a second mother and father to her first mother and father, who must have been blessed people to birth such a child. She is beautiful, strong, and good. A gentle and powerful song bird whose perspective and compassion will change the world. And we, we are the favored people who forever get to proudly say, we’re her mom and dad.