Sunday, September 11, 2005

If she could talk, she’d say, “I’m not a baby, I’m a little girl!”

IMG_4652.jpgYes, that is just what Sydney would say. She has engagingly made her way into the toddler stage, and she continues to blow kisses, wave hi and bye, and use 2 dozen baby signs to interact in this fabulous thing called life. Several people have asked if her personality has changed since she came home from China, and the answer is obvious in the pictures and from the many stories shared around the nation from people who know Sydney - she is the party-girl, lampshade adorned and winning smiles everywhere she goes. The maturity and experience that come with walking, baby signing, and interacting with us for 6 months now have introduced some battles-of-the-will, testing of the waters, and character shaping that are typical for a 17 month-old and take us to our Lord in prayer to find wisdom and guidance.

IMG_4699.jpgWe think she is a blast. Rollin just rolls with laughter when she mimics and imitates and charms his socks off. We also realize that we have a precious gift that requires much prayer and discernment to shepherd through childhood. It used to be that evenings were spent reading, listening to classical music, researching vacations - now we find ourselves sitting on the sofa after Sydney is asleep doing a "post-game" recap of successes and mishaps and making a plan for the next day of shaping influences for her. We love it - and it helps so much to be talking through our parenting together rather than feeling like we do it all by reflex and finding ourselves behind-the-ball. Needless to say, this parenting job is WORK and is worth it.

Our adoption story continues to unfold - and the next chapter called "Number 2" is about to be written. Starting the home study process, paperchase, and waiting is surreal considering the fact that a little girl named Sydney is our daughter - we are a family - and she sits on the sofa with us reading books while we fill out forms and request birth certificates again for an adoption of "a healthy 0-12 months old boy, girl, or twins," just as we did 18 months ago before Sydney was born.

It is humbling to think that, Lord willing, our next child has been conceived already and is being cared for by our Father until we can hold her/him/them (?!). It doesn't take away from my delight in Sydney to think of her sibling already - in fact, I feel greater love and appreciation for her knowing she has a family that will continue to blossom and bring her joy and friendship. I pray that we prepare her to be the oldest, a leader and role model and shepherd herself, just as we try to be those very things to her.

Enjoy our pictures at our Shutterfly Collection, and know that our daughter is thriving in the Bredenberg family because of the great father, Son, and Holy Spirit who taught us to love her.