She was born in Jiangxi, China.
At just one month old an orphanage became her home.
Six months later, she was placed with a foster family in a very rural part of China.
One year after that she was taken back to the orphanage for two days before she would meet us.
She would then, at just 18 months of age, be handed over to two people she had never met.
Two people who looked very different than her.
Who smelled different.
Did everything different.
After a week in her Province, seeing the sights of her homeland, she would fly with us to Guangzhou.
After another week spent exploring new areas of her birth country together / medical evaluations / paperwork appointments, we would then fly halfway around the world to America.
She would live in Oklahoma for just four months before uprooting again and moving to Ohio.
That's a lot in just 2 years.
Her little life has been so full of changes and transitions
She has every right to be a sad, timid, unsure little girl.
But this sweet child is absolutely full of love, joy, and happiness.
For her 2nd birthday, our first birthday together, I wanted to celebrate all of her.
The part of her that will always be rooted in China.
The part of her that will grow and bloom in America.
And the wonder and excitement of future journeys God has in store for her life.
So, we had an Oh the Places She'll Go! party and incorporated all of Mina's most favorite things:
Hot air balloons (and regular balloons), pandas, sweets galore, Chinese food, flowers, and books.
We had our own little Chinese buffet!
Shortly after we returned home from China, I made a little board book to read to Mina about how she joined our family. From her finding ad to our airport homecoming, I want her to always know the story of how she joined our family.
Some of you might remember my post about Daisy, I wanted to include a little memento for her too.
Mina's Panda dress had the line "Babies are hopes and dreams wrapped in love" all over it, which I loved.
For the meal, some of us used chopsticks while some just shoveled in the yummy-ness as quickly and as easily as possible...
The entire day, Mina's birthmom was on my heart even more than most days.
When Mina was "found" there was only one thing with her: a torn piece of paper with her birthdate on it.
There is a Mama in China who knows the significance of July 26th, 2011.
I cannot begin to imagine how hard that date must be for her each year.
On every birthday, I want to find some way to incorporate her.
I had a white heart put on the basket of the hot balloon banner and on the invitation to represent her and her love for Mina. (The banner is going in Mina's room after the party.)
And for our birthday meal, everyone was given a black plate, but I set a special clear glass plate out in honor of Mina's birthmom. Once everyone was seated at the table, and Daniel prayed for our meal and thanked God for Mina's life, I went into the party room and saw the place-setting sitting there. I couldn't help but wipe away the tears. I waited awhile to join the rest of the family. I wanted there be an empty seat at the table, next to our Mina.
For Mina's birthmom -- the woman who knows more about sacrificial love than I ever will.
For the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart and Daniel's heart to follow God's beautiful plan of adoption.
For our baby girl who I pray will one day know her true Father and follow Him all the days of her life.
For those who are interested in the party details...
Invitations: Simplicity Papers
Hot Air Balloon Banner: The Little Canopy
Hot Air Balloon Paper Goods Cake & Cupcake Toppers: Blubel Studio
Cake, cupcakes, treats, and flowers: Whole Foods
Giant Panda: Amazon
Jumbo Balloons, Polka Dot Cups, Plates, Paper Straws: Sweet Lulu
Panda Paper Plates: DollarTree
Mini Pink Chinese Take-Out Boxes, Hot Air Balloon Lanterns, Paper fans: Oriental Trading
Ribbon, Ribbon Poms, Polka Dot paper: Hobby Lobby
Panda Bento Picks: All Things For Sale
Meiji Hello Panda Chocolate Cookies: World Market