Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Her First Birthday Party

This may seem so silly as you read it, but the other day the Lord granted me one of the deepest desires of my heart.  When I first dreamed of adding a daughter to our family through adoption, I was excited to share my life with another precious little one.  I dreamed of tea parties, play dates, and pink tutus.  I longed pretty deeply to once again have fun filled birthday parties to celebrate her complete with theme fun, friends, and memories.  When my baby girl came to me at two years old as an empty shell of death, I quickly came to the realization that my dreams for her may not match the reality that God had for her life.  I'll admit that I mourned that for a good long while, but having experienced these last six years of miracle after miracle as she has overcome so much, I can embrace the beautiful story that God is writing through our baby girl's life even if those plans didn't match mine.

This year our girl has grown so much.  Emotionally, she is walking on some pretty good, stable ground most days.  She still has her moments of course, but for the most part she is really living a full, JOY filled life.  About six weeks ago, our sweet one began to ask, through signing as she is still nonverbal, for "Jillian party" "school friends".  I kept asking her if she wanted to have a birthday party for her school classmates.  To which she would sign, "yes".  I was so excited, but also scared that my sweet girl would look forward to such a big day and then not be on stable enough ground with her emotions to enjoy it.  I proceeded, though cautiously, to plan a day full of all that she loves. We landed on a science theme as it was age appropriate, her favorite school subject, and had the potential to be pretty sensory rich which is something she desperately needs.  We made some invitations and invited all of the girls in her class.  I am told by my Jilly's teachers that she is some kind of attraction among her peers.  My-o-my they love her!  They apparently talked and talked about the party.  Then Jillian asked to invite the boys too.  So, we invited her entire class, reserved our church gym, and assembled a prayer team for my baby girl asking them to pray that she would be emotionally stable to enjoy the party.

Yesterday was the big day!  It was good that I had an hour to myself in the gym setting up because it was a day full of emotions for me.  I shed a tear or two thinking about all that God has done for this miraculous little girl of mine.  Then she walked through the gym doors with her Daddy with the biggest smile on her face ready to celebrate her big day with her school friends.

 Enter the sensory rich science experiments, and one very happy girl.
 I made a lab coat for each party attendee, and bought safety glasses for them to take home as a  favor.  Jillian wore the coat and glasses the entire party just like her friends.
 This is Jillian's special teacher.  She is fluent in sign language, and she has helped my Jillian's communication improve by leaps and bounds this year.
 Look at her smile! 
 Everyone LOVED this experiment.
It was a chemical reaction with hydrogen peroxide, yeast, and dish soap.
 Here she is looking over her cake with eight candles.
 It was a fun, easy science cake to make.
 Photo booth fun is hard to pass up!
When you are the daughter of a youth pastor, you always have big friends too!  We are so thankful for these two girls, and our Emily, who came to help at the party.
One of her school friends, who was sitting next to her at the molecule building table, said, "She is just so cute when she smiles that way!"  I tell ya these school peers this year are something so very special.  I am so very thankful for them, and how they love our treasure.  Who knows..maybe this birthday party thing will catch on as our girl really, really enjoyed it!  She doesn't do gifts well so we asked her friends to bring a donation for our favorite orphan ministry in lieu of gifts.  Her friends brought $165.00 to donate in her honor.  We are grateful, and it is such a fitting way to honor our special girl.

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