When Jackie and Ivy took the first picture together, Jackie smiled a beautiful toothless smile. Her two front teeth were still invisible.

Today, a month later, both front teeth are half way out, white and straight. Jackie looks older and wiser.

I just got a call from our adoption case manager. Strangely, we feel more connected to one another. I took a chance and spoke up, and she responded appropriately and timely, empathizing. At the beginning of this week I had sent her an email, an update with two FaceTime screenshots from the morning chats with our daughter, and a picture of me with the girls, taken by Conrad on our last hike in the woods. My email was rich with emotion. Raw. Pleading for efficiency for when we get the green light to bring Ivy home.

Today she said my email inspired her and she shared my initiative (of documenting our FaceTime chats) with other families caught in the same adoption stage. Staying in touch with our adoptive kids, during this trying time, is as much part of our particular adoption journey. So our case manager asked me to send her an update at the end of every week with the highlights of our ways of connection with our child. She will add them to our file.

We’ve kept busy this week. Very busy indeed. Today, as we slowed down, I felt again the weight of the wait. The days blend in. Jackie is restless. And she gets into trouble so often. She even said: “when I’m bored, I’m tempted to do mischief”.

Yesterday she finished her school work, all in one day. She is laser focused when she wants. The prior two weeks, she has been reading lots of books from her growing library. Then, in just one day, she did all the book reports. In her kindergarten notebook she wrote the title of each book, the author and she drew the characters.

As I’m writing this, Jackie is playing chess with her daddy. This morning we saw Evelyn on FaceTime. She was playing with her cars in bed. “Her cars run on naps, not on gas.” She tells us she loves us and she tells us everything she remembers doing with us in Cluj. Her bunkbed below Jackie’s. Her toys. Her dog. Her grandparents. The food I cooked for her. And she associates my love for her with the yummy food I made to nourish her growing body.

As the days pass, I notice how much she changes, and while I’m excited for her development, I just wish I was part of it full time. Last week I brought her a ton of pictures from our time together, so she can pour over them to her heart’s delight, at her own pace.

We will prevail. Though the world as we know it, will never be the same. We will come out stronger, more considerate, more generous, more connected. So help us God.