When I found this quote, and especially with this image, it reminded me of all that I have to be grateful for in my life. It reminded me of traveling to China the second time to bring Annie home, and how she has had to work so hard at everything she accomplishes. Including walking . . . . and talking . . . . and playing the piano.
When we brought Annie home from the orphanage in Nanchang, P.R. China, she was 2 1/2 years old and she couldn’t walk, or crawl, or feed herself, or roll over, or talk. She could barely sit up by propping herself up with her right arm. She would scoot across the floor on her bottom , but her entire left side was virtually non-functioning. She continued to be non-verbal until she was 4 years old, and then with lots of speech therapy she began to talk. But it still took several years before anyone other than family members could really understand what she was saying.
Her sister Gracie taught her to crawl, and then we practiced walking at Grandma’s house until she could take three steps in a row before she fell down. She still walks a bit lopsided, and she still takes a tumble more frequently that she would prefer. But she is taking piano lessons, and swimming lessons, and dance lessons, and she is going into the 7th grade in a few weeks.
She likes pretty dresses, her favorite food is (sometimes) pizza – or chicken – or spaghetti – depending on when you ask. She likes to wear her long hair in a braid, and she doesn’t mind wearing glasses that help to correct her far-sightedness caused by her Cerebral Palsy. Or so we’ve been told.
Several summers ago she was swimming in the lake, and as she was playing and jumping in the water, she lost her balance and cracked her forehead on the edge of the dock. With blood gushing all over her face, I swooped her up and wrapped a towel around her head as we rushed her to the emergency room. After 17 stitches to close up the gash by her eyebrow, she was right back at all her everyday fun in no time at all.
Well, until a year or so after that when she jumped down off of the monkey bars at school recess, turned around to run into the school building and crashed right into a metal pole. Broke off a front tooth (and not a baby tooth!) so off we went for an emergency dentist appointment. At his recommendation, that tooth stayed broken for a few weeks before he felt it was ready to be repaired, and then Annie got a new tooth. Which will have to be replaced when she is a bit older, but for now, she’s doing OK.
In the world of Chinese orphanages, the little girls that are placed for adoption rarely have a pair of shoes. Annie did have a pair of tiny socks, with a hole that had been mended on the heel of one of them. A pair of pants and a shirt. That’s all. So we bundled her up and took her with us, and one of the first things we did on that cold day in March, in the Chinese city of Nanchang, was buy Annie a pair of shoes. She dances now, and with God’s gracious love and blessing, she will be dancing in the right pair of shoes for a very long time to come.
We just returned from our latest trip to the dentist. Only two tiny cavities, so we got them taken care of. Now we are back home waiting for her big sister to return from her youth group meeting. She had chicken strips and french fries for supper, so she is a happy camper, just hanging out at home with her Mama. Makes my heart happy!
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