Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Rylie Girl!!!

2 is a big number around here right now.

Rylie has been home for just over 2 months.....and today she is 2 years old!!!

My, how much has changed in the past 2 months!

When we arrived home from China, we came with a little girl who was part happy, silly and crazy and part terrified-of-everything stressed out. She screamed, she tantrumed, she hated the dog, hated toys, hated blankets, hated stuffed animals, didn't know how to play, wasn't sure of her siblings, had bumps all over her skin, carried a parasite, took at least 2 hours every night to fall asleep, and nearly refused to be put down. She was unsure of us, unsure of her surroundings, unsure of everything.

Now, just 2 months later, we still have some moments....but she is a different girl.

She still has some tantrums when she doesn't get her way (hey, she's 2) but instead of having 20 in a day that are violent and lengthy, they are short and infrequent.

She LOVES the dog and will even climb into bed with her and hug her goodnight.

She loves (most) toys. She has learned to play. She likes some stuffed animals as long as they don't move and make noise. She likes blankets now and will happily be covered up and snuggle with one in bed.

She loves (for the most part) her siblings. Well, Jonah anyway. She has a love-hate relationship with Reagan....which I think is mutual!

Her skin looks great and she is rid of her giardia.

Bedtime is down to about 20 minutes and she sleeps through the night! (Praise God!!) She used to force herself to stay awake. She would kick, roll, pick at herself, her clothes, the bedding and us just to stay awake. She would rhythmically "chant" for hours until she would fall asleep...I guess as a type of self-soothing thing. She doesn't do these things anymore, unless something unusual is going on. For example, on Thanksgiving night, she was running a fever and felt miserable. I was putting her to bed when I realized she was doing her chanting thing as she was trying to go to sleep. It hit me that she hadn't done that in quite a while, and suddenly it seemed so strange!

She still likes to be held a lot, but is ok for a lot of the time to be on her own walking around.

She can run across the whole yard and not fall. She can go up steps pretty well and climb. When she first got home, she fell constantly and could hardly push up her own body weight on steps.

She eats like a horse. We have yet to find anything she doesn't like....I'm talking raw onions, peppers, just about any soup, black olives, guacamole, beans, broccoli....she loves everything. In fact, when it's mealtime, I can barely even put plates on the table without her running full speed to the table screaming with delight. She LOVES to eat. She must have the world's fastest metabolism considering how tiny she is!

She is the queen of silly faces.

The day we met her, one of the ladies from her orphanage said she was smart and liked imitating people. Boy was she accurate! Her imitations are hilarious. She'll imitate any face you make or motion you do. It's come in really handy as we have taught her signs. She knows more than 20! She has tried to start verbally imitating things we say such as, cracker, more, hot, Mama, bye-bye, night-night, I love you, and my personal favorite..."Say what??" Not bad for still having a massive hole in her mouth!

She loves music and dances pretty much right away whenever she hears it.

She loves blowing kisses.

She LOVES her Daddy.

She loves bathtime.

She loves brushing her hair, and necklaces, and anything girly.

She loves Christmas lights!

She recently learned to give real kisses and hugs. She used to just sit there if you hugged her. Now, she hugs back! And she'll pucker up to give kisses. I can't explain how awesome it felt the first time she hugged me back. Something that is so instinctive for us....people who have always received love and affection...was so unnatural for her. How much we take for granted....

In a nutshell, adoption changes lives.


And certainly, this little girl has changed our lives.

Bringing her into our family has challenged us in more ways than we could have even anticipated, from start to finish. But she is worth it. In a short time, she has blessed us tremendously. We have learned so much about ourselves. About perseverance. About patience. About unconditional love. About choices. About faith and hope and expectations. It's been quite a ride so far. We're thrilled to be along for the journey.

Today, I'm glad she can celebrate. I'm glad there are people to celebrate her. She deserves it.

So for the first time, let me say...



  1. Happy Birthday Rylie!
    We enjoyed every moment we spent with you and your mommy and daddy in China! We hope to see you all in the future..

  2. Happy Birthday Rylie - beautiful post Jen :).

  3. I love this post!! Happy Birthday (a little late) to your precious baby girl!! What a doll she is!

  4. Happy Birthday Rylie! We too have a two year old from China and we have been home ten months. I could relate to this post in so many ways. It will keep getting better and easier.