Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I’m not who I was….

A post from Rush on Rylie's 1-year adoption date.

A year ago today something happened in the city of Nanchang, a city in the Jiangxi Province of the People’s Republic of China. A common occurrence that happens just about every day and goes mostly unnoticed by the thousands of people filling the markets, shops, small apartments and busy streets below. Two people from thousands of miles away carried a little girl who looked very different from them into a dark, hot, almost-abandoned government building. There, they signed some forms, turned over American dollars and explained why they would want to take this “special needs” girl home with them. The cash was authenticated, forms stamped, and officials were satisfied. Almost as quickly as they entered the building, the couple and girl were escorted back out onto the busy street.

But this time as the bicyclists raced by, sirens wailed, and people stared at the motley crew on the sidewalk, everything was different. That little girl had a new name. And she was part of a family. She was one of us. She was our daughter. I was her dad.

And so began a year filled with ups, downs, laughs, tears, doctors, surgeries, new languages, food, customs, sights, sounds and smells. Rylie is definitely not who she was on that day she officially became ours. She has grown in every way possible. She amazes me every day at what she can do, what she is capable of learning and how she has been grafted into our family with such ease. But as much change as Rylie has experienced, I can’t help but think the biggest change has happened to us.

Over the past twelve months my little girl has taught me so much about love, patience, compassion, commitment, faith, priorities and family. Who knew that a little girl who was left of on the steps of a hospital at not-quite two months of age could be such a powerful teacher? She has brought me closer to my wife, my kids, and to Christ. I am so thankful. On her one year mark of being a Middleton I want to thank a few people:

My wife – who has been amazing and navigated so much of this adoption process like a champion. Being Rylie’s Mommy hasn’t always been easy, but she has been an incredible partner in this journey. Jennifer deserves more than I can ever give her.

Jonah & Reagan - for accepting their sister as she is, and for loving her without prejudice.

Our parents – without them none of this could have happened

Our family & friends – for encouragement, counsel and loving us.

Rylie’s birthmother - Thank you for choosing life when so many people don’t. I owe you so much. I pray you are at peace and know that Jia Hui is loved.

Rylie –Thank you for loving me even when I don’t deserve it. Your daddy loves you and can’t imagine a life without you in it.

It’s amazing to see all the changes that have taken place in our little girl over the past twelve months, and it’s beyond exciting to think and dream about what lies ahead.

Rylie isn’t who she was.

Because of her, neither am I.

And that’s the best thing ever.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gotcha Day.....One Year Later

I truly cannot believe it.

One year ago today, we were in China. Travelling from Beijing to Nanchang.

Up at 4am.

Flying south.

Arriving in the same city as our daughter.....finally.

I so distinctly remember the sights. The sounds. The smells. The traffic.

And the nerves.

I remember Rush was able to take a nap while we waited in the hotel for 2pm to arrive.

The long awaited hour where we would meet our girl.

This mama.....well, let's just say I couldn't sleep. Or sit. Or think.

I was a little distracted.

Finally, the time came.

We headed downstairs.

We waited.

Then, some commotion.

She rounded the corner.

She was handed to me.

She screamed.

I expected that part, at least.

And our world changed.

My Rylie has changed so much in the past year. It really astounds me when I look back at her pictures and videos from last year and compare them to now.

She's still got a long way to go. Lots of challenges still to overcome.

But she's come so far.

And I can't help but believe....and know...that where she is right now....

Well, it's exactly where she was meant to be.

Happy Gotcha Day, Ladybug!!
We love you so much and are thrilled God placed you in our family!
Thank you for enduring so much change over the last year.
You have blessed us immeasurably.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Black and White Wednesday- Rain Day

I didn't truly realize what a distraction Jonah is to the girls until today...his first day back to school for the year. I had all day to entertain my 2 favorite ladies. And it was literally all day....no naps for these girls for some reason. We made cupcakes for Jonah....orange and green ones to be exact (Reagan picked the colors). We played, we read, we cleaned, we struggled to find other things to do.

Did I mention it poured down rain pretty much all day?

Finally, I couldn't keep these 2 chicas cooped up any longer. We broke out the raincoats and boots and headed outside.

They had a blast.

It was still raining when we went out, which provided a lovely little stream of water beside the curb.

How convenient.

Naturally, they had to check it out first.

Where it came from.

And follow it's path back down the hill.

And find out how fast it was flowing.

But then....

...they discovered their river would take leaves with it.

Which easily entertained them for the next hour.

Finally, it was time to go pick up Jonah from the bus stop.

Leaving the stream wasn't a popular decision.

Guess you can't win them all.

Thank God for our rain today....and for some bonus entertainment!

Jonah had a great day by the way.

The cupcakes were yummy.

And the kids were in bed, silent and exhausted, at 6:59pm.

the long road

Monday, September 5, 2011


Today, my man starts second grade.

Second. Grade.


I used to hear other moms talk about their second graders. And I thought they had "big" kids.

Now, I have a "big" kid.

When the heck did that happen?

I really feel like Jonah should still be 3. And stay that way....forever.

But alas....he keeps growing.

Despite my earnest pleading.

He's an amazing kid.

Rush and I laugh at the thought of just having him as our only child....he's so easy. If he was our only child, I think we could barely call ourselves parents.

He doesn't rock the boat too much.

Responsible. Compassionate. Happy. Helpful.

The kid's a gem.

I am so proud of the person he is becoming. So proud of his heart, his choices. The big brother he is. The way he devours books and learning. His insight. His concern for others.

His joy. He has the best laugh I've ever heard. You can't help but laugh along if you hear it.

I'm not sure how I got so lucky to be his mama.

And I can't wait to ride along on his 2nd grade train and see who gets off at the end.

Whoever it is, I'm pretty sure I'll be crazy about him.

Good luck in 2nd grade, my Jonah! How I love you!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Washington

Before school starts and takes away our summer fun, we decided to take the kids up to D.C. for the day. They've been begging to go back to the National Zoo for a while, so we packed up and headed north. We started out early, amazingly hit no traffic, and got right into the city. Much to the kids' chagrin, we started by checking out some monuments, using the zoo somewhat as a bribe to get through some history-chasing. :)

Taking our newest little U.S. citizen to the nation's capital was a pretty cool thing. She seemed impressed....

Jonah and Reagan....well, they ended up playing Star Wars. Which they found more interesting than Mr. Lincoln.

Rush really wanted to see the new Martin Luther King, Jr memorial so we headed that way. Little did we know that they were dedicating it that morning. We arrived about an hour before it was open to the public but were able to see pretty well through a fence. We also ran right into Jesse Jackson and some family members of MLK, himself right at the entrance. What timing!

After lunch in front of the White House, we headed to the zoo, which of course, the kids loved.

Sadly, school starts in just a few short days. Jonah is beyond excited, as he got the teacher he wanted, and he has some good friends in his class again. I'm excited for him, and for Reagan to restart preschool, because she loves it so much, but I am a bit sad for my buddies to be gone again. We've had such a great summer! But there's so much in store for the fall too!

Ni Hao Yall