My little China doll.

Clara was only a hope in my 11 year old mind. I dreamed of Clara for months. I literally heard God tell me that my family was supposed to adopt a little girl. I saw her. I knew we were supposed to get this little girl out there... somewhere.

Mom and Dad had already been praying about adoption in 2004 and 2005 and I hadn't even known. Through God's amazing miracles, within several months I met my sister as she was handed to my mom in HuBei, China in April of 2006. She was known as Fu Mei. The almost 1 year old screamed for days. The first weeks with Clara were far from easy. It broke my heart to see her so terrified. We brought her home and I listened to her cry for hours each night. Her round face was cherry red and streamed with hot tears. I prayed that God would help my sister.

He did help my sister and with a few months she was perfectly fine. She laughed and danced and even tried to sing. There was never a cuter little girl. Kandace and I took her under our own care. We painted her finger nails, dressed her up, and hauled her around everywhere. I can remember when she first put her pudgy hands on my cheeks and said, "I love oo, Taty."

Time passed and she grew up. Suddenly my little sister was not a baby anymore. She was a pretty little girl feeling Jesus' call on her heart. She asked Jesus to save her on sunny day in the back of the van coming home from Boone, NC.
Clara blossomed and is now 7 years old. She is one of the most brilliant children I know. Her pure heart amazes me. Her love for people and her passion is amazing. She loves to talk, yet she also listens. I watch her face sometimes as people talk all around her. She processes things. God has gifted her with an incredibly discerning heart to understand truth. She is beautiful and graceful and loves to dance.... everywhere. Meanwhile in my crazy life, I came to realize she had learned to read chapter books.
Clara and I are very similar... except for the dancing part. I can't dance. She is much further along in her maturity than I was at her age, yet I see myself in her at times. She doesn't like change, she likes order and peace. We are close. Very close. All through highschool I could hear her soft steps up my stairs and hear her crawl up on my bed while my back was turned and I was studying at my desk. While my pencil furiously wrote notes across notebook paper, her crayons did the same as she mimicked me. There were times I was tired of spelling out words for her, but now I wouldn't trade one moment of it. She would sit beside me at the piano and play the melody to songs while I played below her. She knows how to think like me, and I can think like her.

At times I really believe that leaving my Clarie will be the hardest part of leaving home. Not that I love her more than anyone else, but because she sums up home in one little body. Back in the summer I was playing with her outside and she started to cry. I asked her what was wrong. She just choked out, "You're leaving me." She was the first one to admit it. She has always known things... understood things. Before Josh even asked me to marry him, she said what I knew deep down. I pulled her in my arms as I rested my chin on her head.
Since then she has understood that things won't be so "bad." She looks forward to being my flower girl... although she worries that she will run out of petals before she gets down the whole aisle. That's something I would worry about. Thinking of leaving her hurts worse than ever. She really is my baby. I promise her that she can visit us and spend the night sometimes. I'm not leaving forever.
So, my Clarie, thank you for trusting me. You know I'm your big sissy no matter where I go. My arms are always here for you to run into. I love you, my baby... I love you.

This was the hardest family member blog I've written. It's the only one in which I cried while writing. Something about my baby girl.


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