Celebrating Our Remarkable Girl’s First Year

Today Elvie is one year old. I can hardly believe it. On the day she was born, we were still settling into our new life in San Francisco. We were a week away from our first home study visit from our social worker, thinking that it would be a long haul until we saw our next child’s face. Little did we know, the baby who would be our baby was being born. I wish I’d been there on that day. For me, this day is bittersweet. It is a reminder that her entry into the world and the months that followed were hard ones for her, but it is also a celebration of her tenacity, of the determination and joy that brought her through all she’d need to face in her first year.

It’s been such a big year for Elvie. We are so proud of her. We feel so very lucky to be her family, to have her in our lives and to know the distinct joy of loving her as our daughter. Today we celebrate the miracle of her life. I’ve gathered twelve photos here, one from each month of her life so far. What a year, and what a girl.

  • The First Month

    The First Month

    This photo was taken when Elvie was brand new. It is rare in international adoption to have a photo from the first days of a baby’s life, and we are so grateful to have this one.

  • The Second Month

    The Second Month

    This is the very first photo we saw of Elvie. I’d followed a link on an online adoption group and landed on a page telling her story. It took me about two minutes after seeing this to send an email inquiring about adopting her.

  • The Third Month

    The Third Month

    I love this photo because she still looks like this to me when she sleeps. Oh, she’s bigger and chubbier, but the way she holds her face in sleep is still just the same.

  • The Fourth Month

    The Fourth Month

    Shortly before we traveled to adopt Elvie, we received this photo. She was so bundled up that I felt like I could hardly see her.

  • The Fifth Month

    The Fifth Month

    This photo is from the day we met her for the first time. We’d brought a dress and a hat to put her in, and they were both enormous on her. We had her wear them anyway, and she didn’t seem to mind.

  • The Sixth Month

    The Sixth Month

    This is the photo we enclosed in Elvie’s adoption announcements. It was taken between her hospital stays, when she was getting bigger and stronger, showing her winning grin every single day.

  • The Seventh Month

    The Seventh Month

    We were settling in at home, working into a rhythm of doctor’s appointments and feeding Elvie. She was growing, growing, growing. Her smiling eyes say it all.

  • The Eighth Month

    The Eighth Month

    This is my very favorite photo of Elvie so far. Her health was stable, and we started getting out to do more fun things. This was taken at a music festival near enough to our house that we could walk there with Elvie happily playing in her stroller.

  • The Ninth Month

    The Ninth Month

    Elvie is a very happy, smiley baby, but she has a serious side, too. The look of her face when she is paying attention and figuring something out is one of my favorites.

  • The Tenth Month

    The Tenth Month

    She just kept getting prettier and prettier. Here she is all dressed up and babbling on about something. Her voice is one of my favorite sounds.

  • The Eleventh Month

    The Eleventh Month

    It was incredibly fun to dress Elvie up for the holidays. Even though our holiday excursions were limited to church functions, she was still the bell of the ball in her fancy dress and sparkly shoes.

  • The Twelfth Month

    The Twelfth Month

    Our happy baby is pure joy. Though the past month brought recovery from major surgery, she still exudes happiness. We are so lucky to have her in our lives. Happy Birthday, Elvie! We love you with our whole hearts.

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