Gazing Upward

June27th

79 Comments

Today marks one year since Caroline so bravely entered the Civil Affairs office and walked right into my arms.  Today is a year since a beautiful Chinese girl named Yuan LiYun became our daughter.  It’s amazing to review the last year and trace her progress, adjustment, and growth.  

I remember feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated in November because continually conversing through Google Translate was difficult, and I was so ready for conversations with eye contact.  I was ready to leave our awkward silences in the car far behind us and to be able to ask my daughter about school, her homework, friends, and activities.  For a long time, our after-school car convos were limited to questions like this:

“Hi Caroline! Did you have a good day?”

“What did you have for lunch?”

“Do you have a lot of homework tonight?”

Caroline’s English has improved dramatically in the last few months, and she’s beginning to read books on a 3rd-4th grade level.  I certainly couldn’t pick up a language that quickly!  Our communication is on a whole different level now, and we rarely have to dart to the computer now for translation.

As recently has April, I would struggle to find Caroline breakfast food she’d find satisfactory.  In China, they often eat dumplings or noodles in the morning. She wasn’t used to, and didn’t particularly like, common American breakfast fare.  Now she’s enjoying cereal, yogurt, fruit, pancakes, bacon, and muffins.  This doesn’t seem like a big step forward, but it is in this mom’s mind!

While Caroline remains very guarded emotionally, she’s begun to share more with us and even wrote for the first time in our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards that she loves us.  She’s warm and affectionate and often initiates hugs with us now.  In fact, she even enjoys our “family hugs” which got started a couple years ago.  It’s when one of the littles asks for a family hug and we all huddle up and lean in for a tight embrace.  We might do this 3-5 times before we put the kids down.  Caroline readily jumps in for these….and I’m not sure I’d say that many 13-year-olds would dig this expression of family love. 🙂

What I’ve noticed most in the last year is Caroline’s transition from spunky young girl to blossoming young woman.  If you look at pictures from last summer, you’ll notice how much she’s changed and matured.  (You can find links to some of last summer’s posts and her adoption video on the Adoption and Orphan Care page under the Categories tab above.) In some ways, I’ve grieved this quick growth because I missed nearly all of her girlhood. But I’m thrilled to see her grow and thrive after such a stressful transition in her life.

Caroline made this cute backpack last week during a sewing session at a creative arts camp!

I explained my blog to Caroline a few days ago and asked if she would like to write anything to share.  I told her how hundreds of people had prayed for her and and followed her story, and that they’d probably love to hear her thoughts on the last year.  Below is what she wrote this morning…I’ve left it unedited with the exception of a few notes I inserted for clarification.

As you’ll read below, she’s still unsure about God and Jesus Christ.  She’s in a great summer Bible study, and she told us the other night that she thinks she might be ready to believe soon.  We covet your prayers for her salvation. I know that my life and heart drastically changed after I became a Christian my senior year of high school. I know the healing that only God can bring about, and I know there are many wounds in Caroline’s heart that could be filled with the security, redemption, love, and peace of Jesus.  I long for her to have eternal hope and for her to grasp His incredible love for her.

After reading her letter, I’d love for anyone to leave a comment for Caroline if they feel comfortable. Whether to offer encouragement, congratulations, “Happy Gotcha Day,” prayers, or even your own testimony of faith, I think she’d be touched to hear from you.  I know only a very small handful of my readers usually comment, but this is one time I ask you to not be shy. 🙂  She has no idea how many lives she’s touched through her journey so far.

We are so proud of Caroline’s accomplishments and her courage to leave everything she knew to start a new life in our family.  We feel honored that God chose us to be her parents. And now I’ll leave you with her thoughts on the last year…

Dear Everybody,

Today is I had been came America one year! (It’s actually one year since we met…we traveled home 10 days later.) I know that’s really excited! Me too!

In this year, I need thank you for my Daddy and Mommy. Thank you for they adopt me for their daughter. I have a happiness family.  I believe something is control my life, but I don’t know.  In here, I know you will said God.  Next, you be really sad… I don’t trust God! Because education of China is atheism. I live China 12 years.  Now I 13. But I try. I going this way. And I really stubborn.

One thing about food, which I really hate, but Americans really like.  Cheese.  In China, most people don’t eat cheese.  So now you can understand why. (PS: I don’t like chocolate too. But I not hate it.)

The 2nd thing is my English is pretty bad, sometimes speak the wrong way.  But I geting better, right?  For that, Dad and Mom find many way to help, like tutor, and now is read 4 books each month. Then I will get a new Chinese book. That’s good idea! Just for the book, I have to keep read!

I go to middle school next year. I nervous about it because I don’t know every thing! But I know I can do it!  Secondly is my age, in China the elementary school are six-year system.  When you 13 year old you start going to middle school, that’s normal. But in America is different, when you 11, you go to middle school, 13 year old you’re in 8th grade, so when I tell people my age, they’re surprise, but my English is too bad for 8th grade. (Based on her previous education and the advice of other adoptive families, we held Caroline back two years, so she just finished 5th grade.) That what I’m worried the most. 

In a word, the first year pretty well!  I had lots good friends, sweet little sisters and brother, grate family. I really gratified. (I think she means grateful?)

Love, Caroline Brown

79 Comments

  • Comment by Erika B. — June 27, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Caroline, I want you to know how much you have inspired me this past year. I can’t imagine how difficult the changes in your life have been, and you have faced the challenges with such bravery…I know you will accomplish great things with your life! My brother-in-law came to America from China when he was about your age, and his stories about adjusting to the cultural differences remind me of yours. I hope and believe that in time, you will come to love and appreciate cheese just like the rest of America!! Thank you (and your mom) for sharing your life with us.

  • Comment by Amy Parker — June 27, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline!

    Kelley, I saw your sweet “older” 3 this afternoon as we were leaving the pool- recognized them immediately but didn’t say anything because they would have no clue who I am. They are all wonderful. Congrats on Maryn, she’ll be as pretty as your other 2 daughters for sure.

    Blessings.

  • Comment by Kim — June 27, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Beautiful update Caroline! Thank you for sharing! My Ben (adopted last June at 33 months of age) does not like cheese either! BUT, he LOVES chocolate!! You have experienced so much in the last 12 months and should feel very proud of yourself…and loved. You will face many challenges in life but with the support of your family, friends and belief in yourself – anything is possible!! Best of luck in this next year and I look forward to reading your next post! 🙂

    Our new journey to our daughter: http://www.journeytolucymei.blogspot.com

  • Comment by Anna Bryant — June 27, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Caroline! It was so great to see you last night, and I’m amazed at how much you’ve grown and especially how great your English is! You make your parents so proud, and I know Carter, Grace, and baby Maryn love you so much too. If you ever need anything, please call me! You are such an inspiration to us all! We all love you. Miss Anna

  • Comment by Lynn Martin — June 27, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    Caroline, you are a beautiful young lady and I am so proud of all you have accomplished this year. You have been blessed with a very, very special mother (and daddy). Thank you for your post.

  • Comment by Lisa B — June 27, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    Caroline, Happy Gotcha Day! My 2 married daughters and I have read all about you over this past year. We are so thankful that God brought you here and placed you in a family HE had picked out for you. It has caused my faith to grow as I have seen Him at work.

    We are so proud of you and all that you have done this year. You have experienced BIG life changes and you are very brave. You are right when you say something is in control of your life. It is God! He loves you so much and has a wonderful plan for every one of your days.

    Thank you for your letter today. I think you are doing well with your English. I love the bag you made. It is very pretty. You are a beautiful girl and I look forward to watching you grow up for years to come.

  • Comment by Mikki — June 27, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    Oh, Caroline! What a wonderful letter! I’m amazed at how well you’ve handled all the changes from the past year…… what a brave and remarkable young woman you are! My family is in the process of adopting a little girl from China and I can only hope that she is half as brave as you are! Don’t worry about not having perfect English….. very few people who have lived in America all their lives know how to speak it correctly! (I teach 4th grade, so believe me, I know what I’m talking about!)

    I love the idea of reading four books and then getting a Chinese book! Reading is one of my favorite things to do! I am, however, VERY concerned that you don’t like chocolate! Ha! Just kidding…. but seriously, try Jr. Mints…. they are my FAVORITE!

    Caroline, you are absolutely right when you say that there is something in control of your life. Whether you’re ready to commit to Him or not, God ADORES you. He has brought you to this precious family and He has a future for you that is better than you could ever imagine! Keep thinking about it…. and when the time is right, He will draw you to Him. I think He’s already started a work in you! I will be praying for you as you begin to develop a faith in Him. What a remarkable story you will have!

    Happy Gotcha Day, Caroline!
    Mikki Powell

  • Comment by Cindy — June 27, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    Caroline,Happy Gotcha Day! I do not know you or anyone in your family but I have followed your Mother’s blog since about the time they first learned that you were to be part of their family. You have had an amazing journey and the future holds many great things for you. I have enjoyed watching you grow and become a lovely young lady. In case no one has told you, all American girls are a little nervous about starting middle school, but once you start you will find it is a wonderful time in your life. Do not worry about not understanding God, sometimes God’s love is planted as a seed and it just takes time and nurturing to understand his unconditional love for you. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family. Keep your beautiful smile!

  • Comment by Mary Ann Wilkerson — June 27, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    Happy Gotcha Day! I enjoyed reading your letter so much. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with all of your mom’s blog readers. I hope you will write another letter sometime.

  • Comment by chinazhoumom — June 27, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    Caroline,
    Happy Family Day ! What an amazing year you have had. I know that your family and friends are so proud of the things you have learned this year and the changes that have been made for you and around you.

    Courage. One word that sums up transitions into a new life. A life that opens the doors and windows to where you wish to go and what you want to do when you grow up.

    My grandmother came to America when she was 16…many years ago. She spoke some English but not alot. She too had to learn the language and customs. From how things are done in America, to how to drive a car, to all new kinds of food and holidays. She missed some of them and some she was happy to never see again. I think this may be where you are. You will always carry parts of China,and always be Chinese…now you have the addition of American on top of that…so this gives you many layers of life to look back on but most important to look forward…

    So raise your head high, do the best you can every day…and each day it will get a little easier. When things get tough, turn to your family for support. They will help lead you on your journey.

    From one Carol to another Caroline – Best Wishes always
    Carol in FL

  • Comment by Julie — June 27, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! It brings me great joy to read your letter and hear that you are doing so well. You are a beautiful and smart young lady! Continuing to pray for you and your family!

  • Comment by Stacey — June 27, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    You have so much to be proud of in your first year here – your english is really good, and you’ve found so many activities you enjoy and are good at! Not to mention that your mom and dad love you so much and you are such a great big sister. I have really enjoyed our visits every few months, (especially when you came to Chattanooga!) and my kids think you are super cool! 🙂 Even if trusting God is really hard, know that so many people here pray for you all the time and know that He has a great, great plan for your life. Happy Gotcha Day!
    love,
    Stacey
    (Ben and Katie Beth’s mom)

  • Comment by Amy Lanier — June 27, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! Wow, your English is amazing, you clearly have been working so hard! I really enjoyed reading your letter and think you should write more about your life and experiences. This would help us know how to pray for you, too! I’m so glad you are in a Bible study and simply asking questions about God and Jesus…and I pray that God will reveal Himself to you and at some point you will be able to take that LEAP of faith! I believe God will use you mightily to be a LIGHT to many others!! By the way, you are a beautiful girl and that is a super cute bag you made!
    Love, Amy Lanier

  • Comment by Lauren Hanson — June 27, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    Caroline,
    Happy Gotcha Day! I worked with your mom last year, and we all prayed for you and for your family. It has been such a blessing to follow your story and read your mom’s blog.

    Your English is fantastic! You are learning so fast! Don’t be worried about middle school – you will do great and learn so much! Thank you for sharing this letter with us!

  • Comment by Melissa Freeman — June 27, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    Dear Caroline, This is Dutch’s mom. Do you know Dutch from school? I love that you are here and have such a wonderful family. Your mom loves you so much. I remember when she would talk about you even before you came home. I hope you will like America more and more. Don’t worry about not liking cheese. It’s not good for you anyway. Also don’t worry too much about middle school. You will do great. The teachers are very nice and I’m sure you are very smart. I will keep praying for you to find peace and joy in your heart. YOu are a beautiful girl!

  • Comment by Joyce — June 27, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Dear Caroline,

    I know your Grandparents (your mom’s mother and father) and I am inspired by your story. English is not an easy language to learn so you are pretty amazing! I went to China this year, Shanghai. I only learned a few words of Mandarin. Learning a new language takes time so be patient with yourself.

    Thank you for writing something for us and for your honesty. You have experienced many changes in your life this past year and have handled them beautifully. Try not to worry about Middle School. I will pray for you as you get settled into the new school. I hope you have a happy summer and lots of sweet times with your family

    Love,
    Joyce Daley

  • Comment by Emily Jones — June 27, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    Caroline, Happy Gotcha Day! I live in Birmingham and have lots of mutual friends with your mom, and I went to Rhodes College like your Dad. I have been reading your mom’s blog for several years now and have prayed with your mom and dad as they sought to adopt you, travel to China, met you for the first time, and brought you home. I’ve also been praying for you and your transition to America, your new family, school, language, etc. You have been through so much in the last year, and I have been so impressed with your courage, bravery, humor and spunky personality. I am so glad that you are here and part of the Brown family! I will pray that God will give you the courage to trust in Him and His son, and I will pray that he will bring you healing and redemption where you have suffered. You don’t have to do anything to deserve it or earn it – now or ever – just believe in Him. Your English is great! I cannot believe that you were able to write the letter you did just one year after coming to America. Hope we can hear from you again! Good luck with middle school!! I hope you love it!
    Emily

  • Comment by The Mom — June 27, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    You don’t know me, but I feel as though I know you. Your Mommy has been so good to share the story about how she and your Daddy longed for you before they even realized that you would be their daughter. You have been special from the day that you were born. I am a Christian, just like your Mommy and Daddy. I know that you are not sure about what you believe and that is okay. God is so big. He can handle all of your difficult questions and even your uncertainty. You might not feel as though you know God, but He knows right where you are and everything there is to know about you. And He loves you. Even more than anyone on this earth if you can believe that?! He had his hand on you when you were growing in your Chinese mother’s womb. He knew that you would end up living in America and growing into a beautiful and very special young woman. Thank you for having the courage to write your letter and to be willing to share it with all of us. It makes us feel very special. You are a brave young woman. I cannot wait to see your story unfold. I know that God has a marvelous plan for your life. He loves you so very much. Please know that I am one of many who remember to pray for you whenever you come to our mind. Blessings…

  • Comment by Christina Hamby — June 27, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    Caroline, Happy Gotcha Day! I went to high school with your mom, and she was one of the nicest people in school. The two of you are lucky to have each other. You sound like such a sweet, intelligent young lady. I can’t believe you have been in the US for only a year and wrote such a lovely letter! Don’t worry about middle school, it will be a transition, but remember, it is new for everyone in your grade. Everyone is new to middle school, new people and teachers and classrooms. Everyone is learning. You are so pretty and kind that your classmates will adore you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I hope your mom keeps us updated on school…but for now have a fun summer with your new baby sister and the rest of your family!

  • Comment by Julie — June 27, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Caroline,

    Happy Gotcha Day! I don’t know your family, but I read your mom’s blog because I think she writes beautifully. I love to read about how she learned she was going to be your mom while you were still a baby in China.

    I work at a small college in Kansas where we have many people who cannot speak English very well — people from China, Vietnam, Mexico, and all over the world. I am always reminded of how much these students have to learn (in addition to what they are learning in their classes).

    You are going to do great in middle school. I have two daughters in middle school, and they don’t know everything either! Ha!

    I hope that you will give God a chance to work in your heart. Being a follower of Christ isn’t always easy or fun…and sometimes there are things that you just don’t understand…but He always has a good plan for our lives.

  • Comment by Vicky Simpson — June 27, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    Caroline, I have followed your journey and I think your are doing great! Just as you stepped out in faith and learned to trust your mama and daddy, I pray that you will let that same faith rise up in you and trust that what they are teaching you about Jesus is true!

    I loved your letter and pray that you do well in school!

    Happy Forever Family Day!

  • Comment by Ezza — June 27, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day!!! Caroline, thank you so much for writing! I am so impressed with your English after living in America for only 1 year!! You are such a beautiful girl. I thought that when I saw your picture for the first time and you keep getting more beautiful! It was neat to read your letter and get a glimpse of your personality! I’m so thankful for your family too and from reading your mother’s posts, your family is very thankful for you. You are such an amazing girl and I think you will love middle school! After your first day or week of middle school you won’t be so nervous! I grew up atheist too, but now I believe in and trust God after I learned more about Him. I hope you will keep writing more on your mom’s blog!!

  • Comment by Alli — June 27, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Caroline – you are an incredibly beautiful, mature, and caring girl. I have so enjoyed reading about your first year in America through your Mommy’s blog and I am so happy that you took the time to write us such a sweet letter today! Like you, I came to the US from China as an elementary school student not speaking a word of English and having little knowledge of the culture – but twenty years later, I couldn’t think of anywhere else as home (and I’ve even learned to love cheese and chocolate!). I know that your future will be full of marvelous and bright experiences, joyous times with your family and friends, and an abundance of love. I encourage and pray for you to always hold on to your spunk, to always be as optimistic as you are now, and to always reach for the stars. There are so many people who love and care for you both in your everyday life and through your Mommy’s blog – we are all rooting for you to be happy and comfortable and to know that you are so loved and cherished.

    祝贺你来到美国的一周年!

  • Comment by Sheryl — June 27, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

    Sweet Caroline,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! I so enjoyed watching your journey unfold last year and it encouraged me to see your bravery in coming to a new country with a new family! You are a beautiful young lady and I look forward to seeing what God does in your life in the next year!

  • Comment by Anne — June 27, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Hey Caroline,
    Happy Gotcha Day! I do not know your family personally, but like others, I have enjoyed reading your mom’s blog. I have a 12 year old and I cannot imagine how brave you must be to have taken this journey.

    To think that a family in Alabama felt they had another daughter in China and that they found you….it was meant to be 🙂

    I love that you are a reader and that you continue to read in Chinese. I think being fluent in English and Chinese could be a big part of your future. Can you imagine the places you will go? I truly think that you will do great things.

    Enjoy your family and the rest of your teenage years….the world is waiting on you Caroline!!! What a bright future you have.

  • Comment by Caroline H — June 27, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    Thank you so much for writing to everyone to let us know how you are doing! I have prayed for you and your family often since your mom has been sharing with us on her blog. Your mom and I both went to college at Auburn, and have many mutual friends. I think adoption is one of the coolest things ever, and I am so glad you were placed in a loving home. You should always remember that you are very special because you were CHOSEN by God and by your parents! I hope you enjoy Middle School and I will be thinking about you during this scary time. Just remember, when you are scared or nervous, there are so many people that love you and pray for you EVERY DAY! Enjoy your summer and your new baby sister!

    Love,
    Caroline (we have the same name!!!)

  • Comment by Rachel — June 27, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! Thank you for sharing your first year with us in this letter. Your English is very good, you should be very pround of yourself. I hope we hear from you again.

  • Comment by Taryn — June 27, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day, Caroline! I am so glad that you are now an Alabamian and have your happiness family! I have loved reading about you and getting to know you through your mom’s blog. Good luck with Middle School! And keep up the great work with reading. I am sure one day you will love it as much as your Mom does!

  • Comment by Christy Magbee — June 27, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    Caroline…Happy Gotcha Day!!!! I have known your mom for quite some time and keep up with her and everything with the family on this blog…when I found out about you I thought what a blessing that this little girl is about to receive. You have such a wonderful, loving, supportive family that will always be there for you thru everything..the good and the bad. We as parents at times thing that God has blessed us with this young child to take care of and teach when sometimes its the other way around..They are your blessing! I know its a huge struggle having that unknown and feeling like you may not fit in but we are all here for you to support you and help you along the way either physically or spiritually. Keep going and let’s see what this next year holds for you. Your such a beautiful young lady. Take one day at a time, one hurdle at a time…eventually it will be second nature.

  • Comment by Mary Pat — June 27, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    Caroline, I was so excited to hear about your past year. I also don’t know your family, but I have enjoyed getting to know your family through your mother’s blog. You did a great job writing about your first year. Did you know that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn?

    I was excited to learn that you like to read. Have you ever read the Jenny McGrady books? These books are some of my 13-year-old daughter’s favorite books.

    By the way, you are absolutely gorgeous. I always enjoy seeing pictures of you and your brother and sisters. Congratulations on your new sister!

    I pray that you continue to seek the Lord and I believe that He has great plans for you!

  • Comment by Scott (Daddy) — June 27, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

    Caroline,

    One year ago, I sat with Mommy, Carter, Grace, and Aunt Noelle and waited to meet Yuan LiYun — a beautiful girl who we had chosen to be a part of our family and who we chose to love with all of our heart from the moment we were matched with you. I was nervous and excited. All of a sudden, I saw you walking toward us with a huge smile on your face. You were full of confidence and determination, the same traits that I would observe again and again over the next 365 days.

    Over the next few days, you began the process of getting to know these foreigners who were now “family.” But you did it with spirit and openness — you played and swam with Carter and Grace, despite their repeated meltdowns and demand for attention. You listened to our instructions and tried to follow them, even when you did not fully understand them. You tried new things. When we asked whether you wanted to be called LiYun or your English name of Caroline, you typed into the translator, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

    I do not know all of the details about what you left behind in China. I do know that you left everything you knew. I do know that you walked onto a plane bound for the other side of the world with four Americans that were closer to strangers than family. And I do know that you did so willingly. To say the least, you are courageous and brave.

    During the ensuing year, you have proven yourself to be such an amazing person. I know it has not been easy. New home, new language, new customs, new food, new friends, new rules, and parents learning to parent a teenager — more than enough challenges for anyone. Yet, through it all, you have shown an amazing adaptability, a determination to learn, a willingness to give people, foods, ideas, and experiences a chance, and a simple persistence in making this new place your home.

    I know that challenges remain. We will face them together. I know that you do not always like my questions. 🙂 Don’t worry — I want to know you more, so I will keep asking them. As I have told you, that is what Daddy’s do.

    Last July when we were at the lake, I told you that I love (我爱你). You asked how I could love someone that I had known for only two weeks. I answered that I had chosen to love you — from the very day we chose to adopt you. You are my daughter; that will never change. I love you still and will do so every day for the rest of my life.

    You are an amazing young woman whom I am so proud to call my daughter. Although it has only been one year, I feel as if you have always been a part of our family. I am so thankful that you are.

    Happy Gotcha Day!

    Love,
    Daddy

  • Comment by Ashley — June 27, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

    Hi Caroline! Happy Gotcha Day! I prayed for you for many months before you arrived in America and I am so excited to see you with your sweet family here! I lived in China for a year so I remember many of the things you mentioned (that most Chinese are atheists, don’t like cheese etc!). Maybe one day we can get together and I can show you my pictures- I love to be able to reminisce about China- it is a wonderful place and I miss it all the time! Thank you for sharing with us. You are a beautiful and very brave girl!
    Ashley

  • Comment by Natalie — June 27, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

    Caroline–What an awesome and brave girl you are! I have enjoyed reading about your adoption journey from your mom, and it was a great surprise to read something written by you. When I got older I started doubting God even though I had been raised in a Christian household. Some things about Christianity didn’t make sense to me. I questioned my faith. Then I experienced a terrible life-altering experience. It was in that place that I found the love of Jesus Christ. He provided comfort, hope, love, caring and healing. Looking back on it, he carried me through the whole situation, because there is no way I could have made it through that on my own. That’s when I realized that you can’t make sense of being a Christian and having faith in Jesus. There is no logical explanation. It’s a leap. But it’s a leap filled with unconditional, joyful love from the one who created you. P.S.–Great job on the backpack! You are very talented!

  • Comment by Kindel — June 27, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

    Dearest Caroline,

    Happy Family Day! I started following your mom’s blog about the same time that your sister came home from China becuase we have a daughter that is from China and is your sister’s age. Your mom and dad love you very much. I have had the opportunity to visit China twenty years ago and then two years ago, both times wanting to bring home girls from China. You have made great strides to simulate into the American culture. There will continue to be good days and bad days. Especially with the food, as I am half Chinese and half American (dad is Chinese and mom has blonde hair and blue eyes), I can totally relate to the different types of breakfast foods. Also, I know that your mom and dad have your best interest in mind, even though they may not understand everything that you are going through they are their to support you, encourage you and be your forever family and more importantly in the future your friends. Continue to grow, explore and learn about maybe, just maybe, you will learn about the love the Jesus has for you. Many well wishes for you Caroline! You are beautiful both inside and out and your Mom just gushes about you on her blog.
    Warmly,
    Kindel
    PS… There is a great conference for teenage and preteen girls that Women of Faith put on…. Check it out that may just inspire Caroline. Lots of great stories and praise songs along with taking maybe an American cousin or close school friend. It is called The Revolve Tour. Check it out! 🙂 Keep inspiring Kelly and Caroline! 🙂

  • Comment by Martha — June 27, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

    Sweet Caroline,

    What a joy it has been to get to know you over this past year. I remember being at your house with Jackson (the dog) while your Mom, Dad, Carter, and Grace were gone to China to get you. Your mom sent Miss Lindsey and me an email with some pictures to let us know you were officially theirs. We were so excited! In fact, we had some of OUR friends over to YOUR house for cookie cake and a Happy Gotcha Day party. That’s right, we had a Gotcha Day party for you before you were even home. Even our friends that didn’t know you were thrilled! Remind me sometime, and I will show you the pictures! We had the best time buying you fun surprises for when you got home and printing pictures to put up in your new room. More than anything, we wanted you to know from the very beginning how excited we were that you were here and what an awesome family you had. You had been prayed for and over for a long time, sweet girl!

    I also remember the first time I babysat you last fall…you still weren’t sure about many English words and I certainly didn’t know any Chinese. It was kind of a rocky start, but by the end of the night, you were playing Wii with me and I knew we would be friends. I also want you to know that I have been, and will continue to pray for you. I will pray for the Lord to continue working in your heart and life and for you to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so at just the right time He will draw you into relationship with Him. Believe me, falling in love with Jesus is the best decision you will ever make. He loves you more than you can ever know and wants more for your life than you can imagine. I’m enjoying hanging out with you, Carter, Grace, and baby Maryn this summer. Be thinking of some fun stuff you’d like to do and we’ll see if we can make it happen! Happy, happy Gotcha Day, Caroline!

    Love,
    Miss Martha

  • Comment by Natalie — June 27, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    Hi Caroline!
    So glad you wrote to us on your mom’s blog. You sound like an awesome kid! And sooooo creative–I LOVE that bookbag you made! 🙂
    I’ve been reading your mom’s blog for a long time now and have been praying for you long before you met your mom and dad last year. We are so glad you are home here in the U.S.
    ~Natalie

  • Comment by Jennifer — June 27, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Hello Caroline,

    What a sweet letter you wrote on your moms blog! So proud of the growth you’ve made in the last year. I’ve followed your moms blog since they traveled for you! God has done some great things in your family and in you, and one day when you let him into your heart you will understand a little better his never ending love for us all!

  • Comment by Kelly — June 27, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    Dear Caroline,

    What a brave young woman you are! I have enjoyed following your journey home to your forever family. I am amazed to see how well your written English is. The true test of how well someone knows English is how well they write! You my dear, are moving at lightening speed! I am a reading teacher and was THRILLED to hear how well you are reading! You are doing the right things. Just keep reading and your written and spoken english will catch right up. You are a very smart girl!

    My daughter is from Guangxi province too! She seems to like cheese, but she is not a fan of milk. You have a very beautiful province! We enjoyed our visit there so very much! We also think that Guangxi girls are the most beautiful in all the world;-)

    Please know that I will continue to pray for you. I know Jesus loves you so very much and must have some pretty big plans for you!

    Many Blessings,
    Kelly

  • Comment by Cindy Love — June 27, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! I had the joy of meeting your family before you came home. You are so blessed to have such wonderful parents and siblings. I know God is working on your heart and I pray that your faith grows and that you can feel His love more everyday. You have accomplished more in a year than most of us could ever dream of. You should be so proud of yourself. I know your parents are very proud! You are such a beautiful young lady and It has been a joy to watch your adoption story unfold. God has big plans for you and I look forward to following along. Thank you for sharing with us. Many Blessings!

  • Comment by Beth Goff — June 27, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    Caroline, beautiful words! You were prayed for by so many of us and I am so thankful that you got to write on the blog. I hope you write more often! We know God has BIG plans for you. You are an amazing young woman! Many Blessings!

  • Comment by Mary Louis Quinn — June 27, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    What a sweet letter, Caroline! You should be so proud of all you have accomplished in this past year! You are amazing and have many people who think about and pray for you!

  • Comment by Lynne Brown — June 27, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    Happy Gotcha Day! I have enjoyed your momma’s blog since just before you came home from China. You have done a wonderful job writing about your first year in America. Best wishes to you and your whole family!

  • Comment by Ericka J. — June 27, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! Thanks so much for sharing with us on your Mom’s blog. I loved hearing how you’re doing in your own words. It sounds like you are adjusting really well! I can’t believe you’ve picked up English so quickly – it is such a difficult language! You should be very proud of yourself!

    I think it’s great that you’re reading English books now. Reading is one my FAVORITE things (and I know your Mom loves to read too!) When I was in school, I used to get in trouble for reading books I liked under my desk during Math class. Oops!

    It has been amazing to get to know you and to see you “grow up” so much in the past year through pictures on this blog. Your Mom is so great about keeping us all updated and telling us how special and sweet and beautiful you are! You have a very special family and God has a very special plan for your life. I will be praying that He helps you understand His love for you more and more each day. I look forward to meeting you someday soon!

    Much Love,
    Ericka

  • Comment by Eileen — June 27, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    Caroline,

    Your English is amazing! I could not write a letter like that in Mandarin if I’d only lived in China for a year! Our daughter is from the Guangxi province and we met her in Nanning! Our guide in China was David too! We thought he was very funny!

    Our son was adopted from China (Kunming) a year ago also. He is almost 5 years old and he doesn’t really like chocolate either!

    Eileen

  • Comment by Katie B. — June 28, 2012 @ 3:45 am

    Hi Caroline!

    I don’t know your family, but have loved reading about your journey to America. I am an American, but I moved to China two years ago. I understand how hard it can be to learn about a new culture and language, and I want to say how proud I am of all your hard work – I know it’s not easy! Continue to work hard to find who Caroline is in America, and never forget how much your culture and past has to offer. You are a beautiful and brave girl! 加油!

    Katie

  • Comment by Rachel — June 28, 2012 @ 6:18 am

    I just recently found this blog, so I haven’t been able to follow this journey from the beginning, but I’m already so touched by the generosity and love in your family! What an inspiration to do better in life and to reach out and embrace people all over the world.

    Caroline: what a brave girl you are! Your note was beautiful, and your ability to pick up a new language so fast is remarkable. Congratulations on your beautiful new family! It’s amazing that you have an open heart and an open mind after what I imagine has been a challenging journey in your life. You are inspiring!

  • Comment by Rachel Knowlton — June 28, 2012 @ 7:00 am

    Dear Caroline,

    I hope you had a very special Gotcha Day! Thank you so much for your letter – it was so much fun to hear from you! Like many others, I do not know your family, but I also live in Birmingham and I met your Mom and Dad briefly at a Lifeline dinner this year. I have been following your Mom’s blog since before they traveled to China to pick up Grace and I have loved reading about how you became part of the Brown family. You are so very brave coming here to America and I am VERY impressed by your English! My husband and I taught English in Changchun, China for one year and we also know how strange it is to move to another country and learn a new language. You are much better at learning English than we were at learning Mandarin! It’s funny that you mentioned you don’t like cheese because that was the food that I missed the most while we were in China 🙂 Don’t worry too much about your English – you have obviously learned so much this year and will only continue to improve!

    You are such a special girl and I will continue to pray for you as you go to middle school and continue learning and adjusting to life in America. God loves you so much and would be so happy for you to know Him and trust Him. Even though children are taught atheism in China, you would not believe how many friends I met in China who are Christians! When I was living in China I really saw how He is not just an American God, but the God in control over everything in this world and He is so, so good. Thank you again for your letter. I hope that you have a very fun summer with your family and your new baby sister!

    Much love!

    Rachel

  • Comment by Kate — June 28, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! I do not personally know your family, but graduated from Auburn and found your mom’s blog through other blogs. I have followed your inspirational story and know that God has wonderful plans for you. You are so very brave and have many people praying for you!

  • Comment by Ashley — June 28, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    Hi Caroline! You are an amazing young lady! The moment I saw your picture (before your Mommy and Daddy announced you were joining their family), my family committed to pray for you. For God to place you into the family He had chosen. For your parents to be brave in the Lord and to be sensitive to His calling. What an absolute joy it was to see how the Author of Life has woven your family together. I know you aren’t so sure about God, and that’s ok. He loves us long before we love Him back. You are a blessing to so many people, Caroline. Happy Gotcha Day!

  • Comment by Beth — June 28, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    Caroline, HAPPY GOTCHA DAY! You are one brave girl, and I know you are going to do great in Middle School this fall. I have been praying for your family (especially you, as I cannot imagine how scary this has been)over the past year. Keep it up!!

  • Comment by Kate Darden — June 28, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Happy Gotcha Day Caroline! You are braver and tougher than many adults I know. I used to work with your Mom at a magazine, but her heart called her to go back to school and learn more about God. I was as impressed by her devotion to a relationship with God as I am with the amazing journey you’ve traveled in your 13 years. God filled your parents hearts with enough love and courage to find you and your sister and make all of your sister and brother a family.

    When I was a little girl I learned that God thinks of all the people in the world as his children–we don’t all act or look the same, or like the same things, but his heart is big enough to love us all no matter what our differences are. God loves you Caroline and he will wait for you to turn to him when you are ready to believe in something as enormous as our Creator and his son, Jesus Christ. God had to send Jesus so us humans who were having a hard time could how to love one another. The Bible tells the whole story, so anytime you are in doubt or feel alone even in that big family of yours, you can read it and know exactly how much love is yours. Your parents are excellent examples of Christ’s love–that kind of love NEVER goes away. I look forward to following your story and so appreciate you writing down your story. Maybe you will be a writer like your mom, because I saw a real gift of expression in what you wrote.

  • Comment by Courtney — June 28, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    Sweet Caroline – Happy Gotcha Day! I can’t believe it has already been a year since you officially joined our family! I still remember anxiously checking this blog every morning and night while you all were in China, to see if your Mom had posted more pictures or an update on how you were doing. It has been amazing to see you grow over this past year. You are indeed, a very brave girl, and we are so blessed to have you as a part of our family! We will continue to pray as you approach new challenges (like your new middle school!). We will also continue to pray for you to seek the Lord with an open heart, and know that we are always here for you. We love you very much!!

    Love,
    Aunt Coco & Uncle Ivan

  • Comment by Judy Moore Tedford — June 28, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    HAPPY GOTCHA DAY Caroline! I met your mom when she was a contestant in the Miss Alabama Pageant and have followed your story through her blog. You are an incredible, brave girl and I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. It is ok to be nervous about middle school but remember that all your friends are nervous too. You are special! Thank you for writing your feelings on this blog. I hope you will continue.

  • Comment by Mary Lynn Brown — June 28, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Dear Caroline – Happy Gotcha Day! Reading all of the comments that people have posted brought tears to my eyes. You have so many people praying for you. We loved reading your letter! We are so proud of you and all that you have accomplished this past year. You will do great in middle school. Thank you for being such a sweet big sister to Carter, Grace and Maryn. I have loved watching you interact with them. You are a blessing to all of us! We love you so much.
    Love,
    GrandMary andPapa

  • Comment by Darlene Lewis — June 28, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    When you were first in my trekker group I didn’t know the journey you had been on and I asked you to read a verse and you did beautifully and bravely! Wow! I have loved every time you have come to our group and listened, discussed, and worked on memorizing our great God’s word. Jesus SEES you and HE is at work in your life – He has a hope and a plan for your life! IN JESUS is peace, joy, goodness and strength. He redeems us from everything unkind and ungodly in our lives. Oh how HE LOVES YOU! As you continue to blossom into a lovely young woman grow in His beauty! I am praying for you sweet Caroline! : )

  • Comment by Susan Wintermantel — June 28, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    Caroline,
    You are precious! I love seeing your beautiful smile every time I come by! I love how sweet you are with your little siblings and my children! God loves you so much more than you know!!! Wow, look at all the people He’s called to pray for you!!! You will bring so much joy to your middle school – everyone loves you!!!
    love,
    Susan
    oh, and I love the bag you made! You are really gifted in creativity and art!!

  • Comment by Terri — June 28, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    Happy Gotcha day Caroline! You are such a beautiful and smart girl with a beautiful family!

  • Comment by Katie Murphy — June 28, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

    Dear Caroline,
    Thank you so much for writing to us! It was very exciting to hear from you in your own words! I’m so thankful that you are now an American citizen and part of the Brown family. As you already can see, so many people are praying for you, thinking of you and cheering for you! None of this is by accident, but has happened because God loves you so deeply and has wonderful plans for your life!
    I also wanted to tell you that we share several of the same interests: piano, martial arts, and sewing.

  • Comment by Silke — June 29, 2012 @ 1:51 am

    Dear Caroline,

    I am so impressed by your English and by how strong you are. I could not go and live in another culture that easily and I am 34…
    Believing in God will come, don’t push yourself.

    I am writing to you from Germany and hope you are having a good weekend.

    All the best
    Silke

  • Comment by Kristen — June 29, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Caroline, Happy Gotcha Day!! What an exciting time! You are a precious young lady and I love hearing about your progress in the last year. My family and I are praying for you! We are praying for your transition to middle school (I teach middle school, I promise it’s not that bad), for your continued learning, and most important your salvation. The greatest thing that has ever happened to me is my relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray you will find that soon! Enjoy your summer!!

  • Comment by Lee-Anne Fenwick — June 29, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Dear Caroline – HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!!! I am SO proud of you for sharing your letter, your heart and your honesty about God. You have been through SO much and I will pray for you to learn to trust in God – and for your faith to become real in your heart very soon. I know fully in my heart that God is real, that He loves you and that He has a plan for YOUR life- and I pray you accept Him 🙂
    I have really enjoyed watching your journey and – after adopting three kids into our family – I want you to know what an inspiration you are to me.
    Much love and big big GOTCHA DAY hugs from Kentucky, Lee-Anne

  • Comment by Holly Pugh — June 29, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Caroline, I first want to say that I do not personally know your family but I do follow your Mom’s blog and have so enjoyed reading it over the past year. She is an incredible woman! I am so proud of you and the accomplishments you have made over the past year. Just think, next year you will have made even more!!! It amazes me to see the Lord at work in your life. I will continue to pray that you will learn who Jesus really is and that you will allow Him to be Lord and Savior of your life. I promise it is impossible to be fulfilled without Him. He has great plans for your life!!! Happy GOTCHA DAY from Troy, AL

  • Comment by ashley matteo — June 29, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    hey caroline, i am so sorry i didnt’ write a comment the other day. i got interrupted and forget to go back and do it. anyways, great job on the letter and wow, i cant believe its been a year since you have been here. i know your mommy and daddy love you so much and we have all been praying for you for so long to be able to be their daughter. i know you still have questions about God and that is ok, but just know that so many people love you and are praying for you.

  • Comment by ronnie — June 29, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

    Sweet girl. I am amazed by you and very proud of you. Our family adopted two girls, three months ago, from China. They are 11 and 13 years old. I hope their English will be even half as good as yours is on their one year anniversary. Your story gives me hope that my children are content. I pray they follow the path you are blazing. May the Lord Shine His Face on you for all of your days.
    Peace and joy,
    Ronnie

  • Comment by cat moore — June 29, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    Caroline, thanks for sharing with us! you have such an amazing story with such a happy ending! We love you and are so happy for your 1 year celebration of the day you came home to be with your new family. you are so special! You are doing to do great in school, praying for you to have a wonderful year full of growth and new life experiences that bring you joy! Love, Cat Moore

  • Comment by Mary Duke Brown — June 30, 2012 @ 7:09 am

    You are so brave, and I’m impressed by your ability to learn a new language so quick! You are doing great! I’m part of your family in KY & I have followed your story via the blog from the beginning. You have been blessed in countless ways & have blessed others w/ your open heart. HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!

  • Comment by Tanya — June 30, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day, Caroline! I have been following your mom’s blog since your adoption. We went to China last August to adopt our 4 year old son, so his Gotcha day is coming up soon too! Your English is great, and you know what, my Mandarin is terrible, though I try :)Being bilingual will be such an asset in your future!God understands your mistrust and he is very patient with you!

  • Comment by Holly — June 30, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    Caroline- I loved reading about your first year in America! I remember coming over to your home to meet you when you arrived here. The first thing that came to mind is how brave you were to travel across the ocean and come to a new country and place where it stays hot and humid pretty much all the time! I am interested to hear what you think about ice cream? It is my personal favorite treat!

    So many of your traits remind me of your mother- kind, generous, smart, honest and creative. It also takes a lot of patience to be a big sister and you have a lot of that too!

    Do you know that God knows the number of hairs on your head? Every thought you have and things you may get nervous about including starting middle school- is of utmost importance to him. Imagine how much your parents love you and multiply that millions of times, God loves you that much. Hard to imagine but it is true! So excited to hear about what the next year will bring for you and your family!

  • Comment by Alicia Hale — July 2, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day, Caroline! So impressed with all of your progress in learning English. God has truly blessed you with a loving, caring, and Godly forever family. Praying you have a great summer and wonderful start to middle school. With love, Alicia Hale

  • Comment by Ashley — July 2, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    Caroline! Happy Gotcha Day!! You wrote an absolutely beautiful letter…you should be so very proud of yourself and all that you have accomplished. Because of you, and your family’s story, MANY other families have opened their hearts to the miracle of adoption! May you and your family be blessed! Hugs, Ashley & Evan Tibbetts

  • Comment by Christin — July 2, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

    Caroline,
    Thank you for your letter. It was so special to read. I’ve been reading your story from the very beginning from your mom so it was so fun to actually met you in Birmingham. Your parents love you so much and so do your siblings…it was so apparent that Grace and Carter ADORE you!! And I know new baby girl will too!! I am so proud of you. You are such a courageous young lady. I’ve been to China before, so I can only imagine all the cultural changes you have experienced. I’m AMAZED at your English and how much you’ve learned in a year. You’re quite creative too. (LOVE your bag!!) Many blessings as you begin middle school and continue to embrace American food and culture. (I laughed out loud with your cheese and chocolate story…so true! 🙂 Enjoy your summer and Happy, Happy Gotcha Day!! You are one special girl. I cannot wait to see all the good things God has in store for your life. Celebrating YOU across the miles, Christin Deas

  • Comment by Catherine — July 6, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Dear Caroline,

    I have been reading your Mommy’s blog since you have come home but have never made a comment until now 🙂 You have been so brave to embrace your new life to the fullest. How incredible that you have learned English, been to school, and enjoyed playing with your siblings. I lived in China and worked with special needs orphans and older orphans, and I know how different life is there. The culture, food, smells, people are all different. But you have done so amazingly well! I know this has not been easy (it wasn’t easy for me, an american to live in china) but you have accepted the change with much grace. You seem like you are extremely creative, smart, beautiful girl. I know you make a great big sister! I want to encourage you to keep trying! Even when things seem overwhelming, keep working hard–in school, home, and life! I pray that one day you will come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Many blessings to you sweet Caroline Li Yun! ~Catherine Capps in Nashville, TN

  • Comment by Ashley — July 6, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Caroline, Happy Gotcha Day!! I have been following your mother’s blog since they found out they were getting you!! I find you and yo family to be an inspiration. I have never met, your or anyone in you family but I think of you all often, and you are frequently in my prayers. Thank you for sharing a letter with us! It is so great to hear from you. A lot of the things you are worried about are very common for American girls as well. Middle school seems scary at first, but it is a great place to meet new friends. You are so creative and smart, you will love it sooner than you think! Your English is AWESOME!! You have learned so much in one year! I cannot wait to hear from you again soon. Its okay to be confused about God. He will be patient with you and I am proud of your diligence to continue to learn about Him!! You are so blessed and have so much in store!

  • Comment by Deb — July 7, 2012 @ 6:56 am

    Carloine, So happy your first year has gone so well you have had to learn so many things! Wow! What courage you have had!! I read your note and it seems you have very good English! It will only get easier!! Many blessings to you as you start middle school. God knows all that is in your heart and understands your stubburness, He loves you and will be there when you are ready!

  • Comment by bobi bobbitt — July 7, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

    Hi Caroline! I am so happy to be writing to you! I have been following your families journey to you and I am so excited for what God has in store for your future! You have inspired me so much with your amazing courage and beautiful smile! I have been following your mom’s blog for a while now and although we have never met, I feel as if I know you as your Mom talks about you alot and how happy she is to have you as her daughter! (: May God continue to bless you and your precious family!

    p.s Continue to seek and learn about God and he will reveal himself to you!

  • Comment by Chantelle — July 11, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Hi Caroline,

    I just wanted to tell you that I think you are remarkable! I will pray for you that you continue to learn English (though I’m quite impressed with how far you have come in only 1 year!), that you will continue to learn about the Bible and God’s love for you, and that you will somehow find a way to love cheese and chocolate. Ok, I’m only teasing about that last one. My husband doesn’t like cheese either!

    Chantelle in Alabama

  • Comment by Kathie Hikade — July 11, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    Wow Caroline…look at all the comments. So many of us have been following your story. I think you were so very brave. And don’t worry about being confused about God…He understands…and he loves you tons already!! I thnk your new baby sister is beautiful. I love the photos of you holding her!! Happy one Year Anniversary!!!
    Kathie in New York!!

  • Comment by Lindsay George — July 11, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

    Hi Caroline,

    I am a bit late in posting this so I hope you still get to read it. I stumbled across your mom’s blog about a year ago and have loved following your family’s journey ever since.

    I grew up going to a church where they talked about Jesus and God but He seemed really scary and big and confusing. When I was about your age, I went to a week long camp with my friend and her church and they talked about Jesus like they knew Him and He was their friend. I remember being even more confused and wondering if Jesus really did have personal relationships with people, why would He want to have one with me? I thought I wasn’t good enough, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what I believed. I didn’t really think much about it again until high school when I started to really learn about the life that Jesus lived and what He did for us and I really understood what it meant to trust Jesus and to have Him be in control of my life. I know that God can seem big and scary and confusing and sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s even real- that’s how I felt for a long time- but Caroline, I know who I was before I trusted the Lord and I know who I am now and it is not the same person. It is difficult to explain, but Jesus will never grow impatient and can handle all your questions and stubbornness (as you mentioned in your note 🙂 ). He loves you so very much and is big enough to help you with whatever you are dealing with. I am 23 now and although there will always be difficult things to deal with, the Lord will always be there to guide and protect me and I know that He longs to do the same for you.

    Happy (belated) Gotcha Day, Caroline!

    Lindsay

  • Comment by Patti — September 3, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    Dear Caroline
    I have been following your Mom’s blog for almost 2 years. She found my blog and commented when we were in Nanning China adopting our little girl. It was then that she told me that she was going to have a Guangxi Girl one day too – they were already waiting to bring you home. She asked me to share with her what we had done in Nanning and asked for tips on what to see and do. She was already eager to learn what she could about the capital of your province.
    Fast forward almost 2 years – I have so enjoyed reading about your journey. I have learned so much from both you and your Mom. I feel blessed to have this connection. Our little Guangxi Girl is only 4 years old but I see so many of the same traits in her that I have learned about you. We love to look at photos of your family and every time my daughter says “Mama, that pretty girl looks like me!”. And you know what? You do resemble each other so much. It is amazing to watch you blossom and it gives me an idea of what my daughter will look like as she continues to grow. You are beautiful!
    Caroline, this is not meant to be about me and my daughter. It is to tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your story. Like I said we are learning so much from you. As you read through all of these notes, everyone comments on how proud they are of you. I feel the same but more importantly, I hope you are proud of yourself. You are an amazing young woman!
    Blessings to you as you continue on your journey of life. I hope you had a fun summer with your little siblings – and that you are ready for another new year at school.
    Big hugs – Patti in Singapore and Mom to a Guangxi Girl

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