When my family and I started praying about our adoption we prayed for someone to be a perfect fit for us. Adding a fourth child into a family with 3 dynamic boys, each with distinct personalities and quirks, can be quite challenging and an overwhelming proposition.
Enter Elliana Joy Jing Pollard, or "Jing Jing" as she was known at the orphanage. Her nickname say as a lot: playful, cute, smart, alert, beautiful, well...she's perfect. Come on. Just look at her.
1. She's a picky eater- but she loves McDonald's.
I thought by adopting a daughter from a foreign country it would be great to have child that doesn't eat chicken nuggets. But we made the mistake of giving her one. Now she's hooked. My life is over. But have you ever seen anyone so cute while enjoying chicken nuggets?
2. She smells her food before she eats it.
This one is SCARY. Luke takes a whiff of his food before he eats it. It's a strange quirk, but we can't seem to break him of it. Elli does the same thing. Freaky. She couldn't be more perfect for us.
3. She takes over the bed and turns over "violently."
When my kids crawl into our bed it feels like a space-eating mule has moved in. Elli has the same mule like tendencies- kicks, laying perpendicular to everyone else, and gobbling up space in the bed like PacMan after eating a power pellet. She fits in perfectly.
4. She is crazy...and hilarious.
She can more than hold her own with the boys in rough housing. She makes hilarious faces and she is LOUD! She has an infectious laugh and a great personality. And she is crazy. When she play-fights with us she does these hilarious Chinese Karate sounds, "Ya! Kai-ya! Hai!" She's too cute. She's, well, perfect.
5. She loves Mama- and she's just like her.
Leslie is my number one girl. I have always thought Prov. 31 was a perfect description of her- "Strength and dignity are her clothing. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue" (Prov. 31:25-26). My wife has shown amazing strength, dignity, kindness and wisdom this week. And I don't use the word amazing lightly.
This week has been challenging for us on many levels, but Leslie has remained strong when the rest of us have struggled to keep it together. She has lovingly cared for all of us with incredible poise and grace. She is so beautiful...and perfect for our family.
When I think of a woman I want Elli to be like when she grows up, Leslie's the girl. Elli is in love with her Mama. She does everything Leslie does. She puts on lotion (she even danced with Baba for a few minutes and put a little lotion on my arm). She puts on makeup.
She cares for her brothers. On our first night in Guanzho the boys were wrestling on the bed. Noah fell off and hit his head on the floor. Elli watched intently as Leslie put some ice and a wet rag on Noah's forehead. Later that night Elli walked up to Noah, gently put her hand on his forehead and in the sweetest Chinese words you will ever hear asked Noah if he was okay. Heart melt.
Elli's medical report says she has spina bifida. Her hesitation to connect with Baba and her moments of crying reveal she has a wounded heart. She's got some attitude, she's bossy and she's sassy...but Elli is perfect.
So give me a little latitude, if you will. I'm pretty much crazy about our kids. We're not perfect by a long stretch, but we're perfect together.