This was taken about half an hour after Rina joined us. She was one day shy of 9 months old, and she weighed a very solid 19.5 lbs. Her clothes were too small, she smelled icky, she had open sores on her neck and she was nearly bald at the back of her head (from pulling her hair when she cried). But she was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen!
This was taken yesterday.
Life has changed so much in two years. Things are very different with a nearly-three-year-old in the house! Rina is independent and smart and oh-so-fearless. She loves to read stories and play outside and make beautiful things with play-doh and crayons. She is good at pretending, not so good at sharing. She is quite familiar with the time-out step. She worships her big sister. She knows all of her colors, most of her shapes and many of her letters and numbers, and delights in pointing them out. She has an amazing smile, gorgeous eyes and the cutest little round Buddha belly. She has her mama's hands-on-hips stubborn pout, her daddy's goofy sense of humor, and her sister's love of all things sparkly and pink.
To those who tell us "what a wonderful thing [we] did," (adopting, that is) -- as if building our family was some humanitarian effort on our part -- I tell them about all the purely selfish joy I get out of the little drama queen that joined our lives two years ago. I'm thankful that Rina was spared a life of hardship and loneliness, but I am confident that she would have thrived in whatever situation she would have faced. She is strong and brave and resilient. But our family would have been smaller in every sense of the word without this child. We are the ones who are blessed!