In 2007, China Insight followed the journey of Adam and Tracy Emanoff in their adoption of daughter Charlotte Rui from Changsha, China. The adoption process began in 2005 and the Emanoffs picked Charlotte up in Changsha on Oct. 29, 2007.
On Oct. 29, 2007, Adam wrote, “Today is the single greatest day of my life......I became a parent. So far [Charlotte’s] absolutely awesome! She didn't cry much after we got her. She's so inquisitive and curious about everything going on.” Charlotte connected with Tracy right away. Even though she took a little while to warm up to Adam, that in no way dampened his enthusiasm about his daughter.
On Nov.4, 2007, he wrote: Speaking of Charlotte!
She: walks on her own a bit, babbles, sings, plays in her baths, laughs, smiles, tasted ice cream with me, LOVES noodles, goes to bedwell (usually), takes two naps (sometimes), loves juice, doesn't mind the Bjorn or stroller, likes to wave, has straight eye lashes, is the cutest baby ever!!, points at stuff, loves mommy, fed me a Cheerio at dinner last night, likes to go upside down, feeds herself, has a runny nose, doesn't like us to wipe it, got her fingernails cut by me for the first time, needs more hair, got called a boy, sleeps in her crib, doesn't cry when I'm the only one in the room when she wakes up, doesn't mind short airplane rides, likes bus rides, loves Banana Puffs and Cheerios, is super cute when she wakes up in the morning.
One year later, the Emanoffs are still overjoyed to be the parents of Charlotte. Once again, we asked Adam and Tracy to tell us, in their own words, what their first year as parents has been like. Tracy wrote Our First Year with Charlotte Rui and Adam wrote One Year: A New Parent’s Perspective.
Our First Year with Charlotte Rui
The last year with Charlotte has been nothing short of amazing. Adam and I often say that we feel like we won the jackpot. Charlotte has such an upbeat personality and she clearly loves life. She seems to make an impression on everyone who meets her. She is quick to laugh and smile, is extremely intelligent and always excited to try new things on her own (or, as she says, "my-do-it!), she is a great sleeper (after the initial jetlag ended after we had been home a couple of weeks), she is very social, she goes with the flow and she loves her Mommy and Daddy as much as we love her. Not to say that she doesn't have her tantrum moments (she is two, after all), but her easy-going personality tends to shine through, and those moments are really few and fa rbetween (so far!).
We were lucky in that it seemed that by the second week of our trip to China to get her, she had settled into her role as our daughter as easily as we had settled into our role as her parents. She was leery of her new Daddy at first, but by day 5, she finally accepted him. She called me Mama on the first day we had her, and of course I had waited a lifetime to hear that. Once home, Charlotte was happily welcomed into our extended families. She sees both sets of her grandparents often as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends. She goes to daycare with her best friend Amelia, also adopted from China.
We had a big party for Charlotte's 2nd birthday, as it was our first birthday with her. She had a blast with everyone and once she realized all those presents were for her, you could not wipe that smile off of her face. We also had a fun-filled day of celebrating one year since we got her on October 29th.
We have a great network of China adoptive families in town, and we get together often for parties as well as cultural festivals including Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival. Charlotte loves all things Chinese - her books and movies about China, Chinese food (noodles are her favorite) and she will proudly say "China!" when you ask her where she was born. She can also tell you that Mommy was born in Michigan and Daddy in Washington. She also loves going to parks, riding her bikes, being outside, coloring and puzzles. Her favorite movie, which we watch often, is Bee Movie.
She fits so well into our lives, and we are a very happy family of three. It feels like we were always meant to be a family.
One Year: A New Parent’s Perspective
One year equals: 31,556,926 seconds, 525,948.766 minutes, 8,765.81277 hours and 52.177457 weeks.
Some of those numbers sound rather large and make a year seem like it could take a while to pass (unless you consider one year equals only 12 months...). Take the minutes it takes to fill up a year - surely anything in the thousands has to take a long time. Ever try counting to a thousand?
Looking back over a period of 8,765.81277 hours, I'd like to share with you what it's been like for me, as a new parent.
So far I've learned that hidden among the large numbers that make up a year, there are small numbers that at first glance seem minute, but truly mean a lot. For example:
36 - Thirty six inches is her height according to her Winnie the Pooh wall chart
145 - Roughly the amount of times a day she ends sentences with "daddee-mamma"
2 - Two years old was the first birthday celebration we got to share with her
6 - The number she counted to, in order, and all on her own
15-20 - The number of times she's used the poddy chair
For me, as a new parent, each one of these numbers appear small on paper, but when they happened for the first time, their significance suddenly grew that small number exponentially in my heart. I was so proud of her counting to six!
Or the poddy chair - the level of excitement in our house was huge when she started using her own poddy chair. These small numbers are suddenly worth more than any large number.
In fact, I can't think of anything that could take their place. If you're reading this and you are already a parent, you know exactly what I mean. Before I was a parent I expected there would be feelings like this. I expected to be excited about the small acts and small numbers. But just like when Charlotte was placed into our arms for the first time, I had no way of comprehending just how much these feelings would spill out and overwhelm me. Words just cannot explain.
Our time together has been nothing but special so far and extremely positive. Charlotte is teaching us things everyday and has been a jo yto parent. As new parents we've been blessed with support from our immediate family and friends, not to mention a smart, lively, and bubbling little girl.The time we've spent with her so far has flown by, but at the same time it feels like she's been with us for far longer than 52.177457 weeks. And it's been absolutely wonderful. I absolutely love being Charlotte's"Daddee" and am having a blast counting the numbers, large and small.
A lot can happen in one year. Large number or small....