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Celebrating 24 Months of Elvie
On Tuesday, Elvie turned two. We will have her party later in the week, so we just had quiet little celebrations throughout the day at home. I put chocolate on her pancakes, and we went for a walk when she insisted that it was time to go bye-bye. I let her choose what shoes she wanted to wear, and I sent a favorite snack with her to the park when our sitter came for a few hours. We sang Happy Birthday repeatedly, so much that by the end of the day, she would break into song herself, crooning, “Happy day you!” at every opportunity. After she was in bed, I scrolled through photos of her life. Though we adopted her when she was four and half months old, we have photos from the very beginning of her life. So I selected my favorite from each of her twenty-four months, and that is what I am sharing with you today. She has done so much in her first twenty-four months. I can’t wait to see what the next twenty-four will hold.
Celebrating 24 Months of Elvie
What marvelous months they have been!
She was still brand new, and in the hospital. I treasure this photo of her first days.
When we inquired about becoming Elvie’s family, and the agency thought we might be a good fit, we were sent several photos as part of her file. This one, with her tongue sticking out, was immediately my favorite.
This was one of the first photos we received when we got on update on Elvie after we had been asked to be her family and said a resounding YES. I love that they put that gigantic dress on her to make her look fancier for the photo.
Right before we traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to adopt Elvie, we got this updated photo. This was also what was used on her new birth certificate after we adopted her and on her US visa paperwork, and I have a tiny version of it that was taken off the paperwork when we cleared customs in San Francisco, and handed to me to keep.
Finally, we were in Addis Ababa, had attended court, and taken custody of Elvie. We held her as much as possible, and she soaked up all the attention happily. This is one of my favorite photos from that time, of Elvie falling asleep with her hand curled in my husband’s beard.
Two and a half days after we arrived home with Elvie, we checked her into the hospital. This was taken there, when she was first starting to feel better. We still had a long way to go to get her healthy and get her weight up, but we were starting to see snatches of her vivacious personality.
Out of the hospital and feeling good, Elvie was settling in at home. She had a smile on her face most of the time, and even when her pacifier hid her mouth, her eyes twinkled their delight.
Taken at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival near our home in San Francisco, this photo is one of my all time faves. We were getting into our rhythm as a family, and we were able to go out and about and enjoy ourselves a bit. We had a wonderful time listening to music and being outdoors as a family of four. It is a fantastic memory.
She was starting to play and get into things she knew she shouldn’t have. She was so smiley and sweet; our first autumn with Elvie was a lot of fun.
One of my proudest accomplishments of my whole life is how well I chubbed up Elvie. I had help, of course, but I am still proud of my contribution to Elvie’s chubby thighs and feet. All those night feedings were 100% worth it.
Elvie’s first Christmas was a wonderful, cozy affair. She got a drum set from Santa, and we spent the holiday week playing music together as a family.
Just shy of her first birthday, Elvie had her first big surgery, and she was released to go home. Because of her physical differences before surgery, she hadn’t been able to wear footie pajamas. I was so excited to put her in these orange stripes that I had to document the occasion. She seemed pretty excited about it, too.
In the mornings, we would often hang out together in the big bed in the master bedroom, just enjoying one another’s company. I loved our pajama clad mornings, reading books and chatting together.
Elvie and her big sister, Zinashi, have adored each other from day one, and I love all the reminders I have of their close bond. Elvie looked so adoringly at Zinashi, and Zinashi was so proud to be able to hold and help care for her little sister.
Elvie waited a long time to learn to do a lot of things that other kids were already doing while she was getting medical care. She was excited to play at physical therapy, and we were excited about all the new things she had help learning to do.
Elvie had discovered the joy of the selfie, and I have hundreds of photos now of her making different faces at herself.
On a mother daughter trip to New York City, Elvie had to be admitted to the hospital. My husband flew out to be with us, so we unexpectedly spent Father’s Day in NYC. It wasn’t what we originally planned, but it was fun to celebrate, especially since we had the added bonus of celebrating Elvie’s restored good health.
It was clear by the time she turned eighteen months old that Elvie had her own ideas about fashion. Here she is wearing a tutu, sparkly belt, and as many necklaces as she could find at the time. None of these were part of my plan for her outfit for the day, but she insisted on all of them.
Sister fun in the sun is the best kind to have. Elvie was not walking well on her own yet, but with a sister to help her, she always had a ton of fun on the playground.
Elvie perfected her walking skills in Nice, France. With beautiful weather and a beautiful surroundings, we got out and about every day, and Elvie embraced the opportunity to practice both her walking and friend making skills.
For Halloween, Elvie dressed up as a sunshine. It may be the most appropriate Halloween costume in the history of Halloween costumes. I have never met anyone who smiles as much as Elvie. Whether she is in a sunshine costume or not, she brings sunshine wherever she goes.
Elvie spent an extended period of time in a big, rigid brace after a surgery, and at first we couldn’t figure out how to get her to the table to join us for meals. On my birthday, however, which just happened to be Thanksgiving, my husband figured out how to get Elvie to the table. It was the best gift I could have asked for.
Elvie’s second Christmas was even more fun than her first. She was just so excited about everything. We gave her a break from her big brace while we opened presents and ate a special Christmas breakfast, and she had a ball.
Out of her brace at last and preparing for her very last surgery, our happy girl continues to surprise us every day. She is walking again, almost running, and she is thrilled with all that life has to offer her. It will be a joy to see what the next months bring.