Has it been an easy year? I will not lie. No, it has not been easy. Why? Well, so much has changed. Hope & Maggie went from living in an orphanage, with no real boundaries, guidance, love, nourishment etc. To living with a family where there are boundaries, rules, love & plenty of food etc.
It was hard for the girls to adjust. A new language, new smells, new people, etc. It was hard for us to adjust. Two preteens who don't speak the language, who have habits that are not acceptable in the states, who don't know what it's like to be loved etc.
We all learned a lot this past year. We learned to love each other. We learned to like each other. We learned to accept the new "normal".
Has it always been difficult? No. We have had some amazing moments with the girls & our entire family. Experiencing their first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc has been amazing. Teaching them to ride bikes, to swim, to try new foods has been awesome. Even though the girls were preteens, there was still so many first that we got to experience with them.
We had our 1 year post placement visit with our social worker last week. I told her how some days are just exhausting. She told me to sit and really think back through the past 12 months. She told me that I will see the growth in the girls, and in us, if I just sit back and reflect.
And do you know what? She was right.
You've heard a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I believe that. I'm so thankful for photos, because it does help me to reflect back to the past year. I can visually see the changes in the girls & in us. Sometimes when we are in the thick of a tantrum, it's hard to see that there are changes. But there are changes. There has been growth.
Here are photos. I don't think I have to explain which ones are from last year and which ones are from today. All I can say is God is so Good! He has stayed with us and will not leave us. He has watched over the girls the entire time they were in the orphanage. And He is still watching over them.