Three Years of Tess.

We joke with Cam, our first, that he is the boy that started it all.  That is very true, but in some ways, Tess wears the title of the girl who started it all.  Three years ago today, in a sterile office in Xi’an, I signed the official papers to make her mine.

The next few days weren’t any kind of easy.

But, I was yours, and you were mine, and we started our life together.


Sometimes, it was like this…

DSC_0016-1Pretty soon though, we found our groove.

Photo credit on this one goes to my friend, Yamid HR.


You came home to all these people.  582286_324447744328595_596366009_n-1Who also loved you from minute one.

The reality of you was so scary.  At 2-years-old, you were the size of a 6-month-old.  You couldn’t talk, walk, or even feed yourself.  Your best chance was for us to make you a whole lot sicker in the short term to heal you in the long run.  So, we did.  I’m so sorry, baby girl.  So sorry.  Yet, there was joy, and laughter, in the way you handled every second of it.


DSC_0027-1You healed in ways I can’t explain.  You grew, tried new things, and you have lived more of a life in these past three years then people do in a lifetime.  We decided to just live with you.  Throw caution to the wind, love you for who you are, and LIVE!

We took you to Disney.

DSC_0198-1We put you on every carnival ride we could find that summer.  Sometimes you wondered what the HECK was happening here?


DSC_0093-1But then you’d ask for more, and we’d let you, as many times as you wanted, because…this face.

DSC_0100-1You became like a tiny guide for this family, telling us “See me?!?  THIS is what life is about!”

IMG_2826-1We heard you.  Loud and clear.  And, we all watched at your joyful reaction of adding a brother and a sister to our family.  They’re here, partly, because of who you are, Tess.  Because you are unwavering in your declaration that what you have is what EVERY child deserves.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.51.23 PM-1You are so very right.

Too soon, you were sick again, and it was time for us to do something for you again.  Daddy and I made the toughest decision we’ve ever had to make, consulted every expert along the way, and finally decided that we would take the higher risk option to see if we could get you the physical version of the whole heart you’ve had all along.

That was the worst moment of my life.  Just putting the link there has me working hard to catch my breath.

We almost lost you.

FullSizeRender-3-1We didn’t though.  That gift, the gift of more time with you, has cemented our commitment to live.  And we did, again changed, for the better, because of you.


Pumpkin Patch-4In just two weeks, you will see a “for really real”  unicorn, something you’ve told me you’ve “waited your whole life for!”  In December, I will bring home the sister that you named, the one you INSISTED was waiting for you in China.  You were right, sweet girl, we found her waiting, just the way you said she would be.  She’s about to become ours, and we will become hers, forever, and no matter what, because that’s something YOU taught us.  In January, we will complete the third part of your wish and take you back to see your princesses, where you will introduce them to your Gigi, with the signs you have practiced so hard to help her understand.

  1.  Unicorns
  2. Sisters
  3. Princesses


–FullPlateMom, who so thankful for the girl who showed her the meaning of that word.




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