Littlest Is Four

I have a lot of heavy things floating around in my heart and head today.  I started to try and write them out this morning, but it was hard.  The weekend wasn’t the easiest emotionally and the words would not come easily so I decided to document our littlest’s 4th birthday instead.

We are still a foster family and have been for 3 1/2 years now.  That 1/2 feels important to me.  I’m not sure if being a foster family is ever easy for anyone, but worth it?!?!  Absolutely.  I hope we’re a foster family until Josh Kelley and myself have gray hair and can’t remember each other’s names. 🙂  Loving our littlest is such an honor.  Loving her birth family feels like just as much an honor.  It’s been a hard, messy road and we’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but every day it seems like we’re learning something new and I hope we never stop learning and growing and seeing how to love and be loved by others.

Last year on our littlest’s birthday we we’re in China.  It was such a scattered week preparing to bring Everett home…locating and having his O2 machine delivered, Hudson getting the flu, gathering all our medical and adoption paperwork, getting everyone packed and everyone running around like crazy people.  On a whim we headed to Chuck E Cheese one night to celebrate her.  She got a store bought cake and pizza and hardly any gifts, but we wanted to celebrate her before we left.

When her birthday rolled around this year we decided to have a party.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a birthday party for one of our kiddos…we’re just not party-every-year-people…and that’s okay.  This year we pulled out all the party stops because our girl needed major celebrating.

She is the fiercest and strongest and most resilient little one.  She works so hard every week.  She is brave and has pushed through so many barriers.  She is working on grieving and healing and she misses her FuShuai so much.  She is growing and learning and changing and we are simply so incredibly proud of her.

She was beyond excited to make all her birthday plans.  Pancakes for her birthday breakfast.  McDonalds for her birthday lunch.  Chickfila for her birthday dinner.  And pink cookies and candy for her birthday dessert.

This girl absolutely lived it up.  She was sure the whole world was celebrating her and knew it was her day.  We all sang our hearts out that morning with a giant stack of pancakes piled high and adorned with 4 melting candles.  As she opened her gifts I laughed as I watched Josh Kelley videoing with his phone and Solomon AND Harper taking photos with their own cameras.  She’s not adored at all. 🙂  We gifted her with My Little Ponies and a baby doll stroller.  Harper gave her a new Elsa baby doll.  And she wore her new Twinkle Toe shoes her birth mom gave her.  This girl was on cloud 10+.

At Kroger they we’re putting out balloons at the end of each register.  She told me how pretty the balloons we’re and I agreed.  She then said, “They must be for my birthday.”  Hahaha, yes, Kroger is really upping their customer relationship services.  She had to get 3 shots on her birthday for her 4 year well visit.  She told every single doctor and nurse all about her big day.  Anyone who even made remote eye contact with her got a magical 4-year-old ear full.  When a sweet man on the elevator asked her what she had planned for the day, she of course shared it was her birthday.  He said, “I bet you’re about 12 right?”  She said, “Well, actually I’m just 4.”  After her shots, which she didn’t even blink for and proceeded to brag to her nurse about all her bravery and lack of tears, she got her birthday McDonalds Happy Meal as requested.

When we got home from the doctor one of the wheels on her baby doll stroller wasn’t rolling.  I tried fixing it and completely snapped it off.  Clearly I don’t know my own strength when it comes to cheap plastic doll strollers.  I looked up at her.  She looked down at me.  Then she flashed a smile and said, “It’s okay.  I forgive you.”  If you only knew that on most any regular day this fiery girl would have lost her mind on me.  Birthdays put everyone in a better mood.  The whole thing made me laugh and I scooped her up and off we went to Target to purchase a new $10 baby doll stroller.

She got a card in the mail, a peach Sonic slush for happy hour, fun phone calls and facetimes and our sweet friend Julie who drives Harper home from school bought her all the fun candies and delivered them in a shimmering birthday bag.  All the smiles, all day long.  We ate Chickfila on Trolls Poppy plates and watched Moana while eating all the sugary treats.  You only turn four once!

The next day was party day and she requested a Pinkalicious party.  She LOVES all the books from the Pinkalicious series, but it’s not very popular so we went with just all the pinks.  There was pizza and veggies and fruit.  Pink gatorade, per her request, and an array of pink candies.  There were our favorite iced sugar cookies hombred in shades of pink, chocolate cupcakes with pink icing and all the sprinkles and ice-cream.  There were birthday plates and napkins, pink Chinese lanterns we got in China with Everett and a ceiling covered in pink balloons.

And then there was my most favorite moment of all:  Watching her as we all gathered around and sang happy birthday.  She reminded me so much of little Harper.  Her eyes were straight up sparkles and she beamed…smiling her biggest smile and seriously soaking up the fact that everyone was singing TO HER.  It made me teary eyed.  She is just so special and she has lived so much in her little life.  What an honor to watch her grow another year older.

She opened her presents and played her heart out.  She told everyone thank you and gave out hugs.  She went to bed very easily that night snuggled up with one of her new My Little Ponies.  Goodness, this girl.  So much spunk and fire and personality and love and compassion balled up into one tall, tiny little body.  I have no idea what the future holds for her, but I know it’s going to be a wonder and she’s going to leave her beautiful mark wherever she lands.


  1. What a SPECIAL DAY for all of you. Birthdays are for celebrating and she’ll always remember this on. Way to go!!!!

  2. Heather Herman says:

    Little Miss sure is loved! You Kelley’s love her so well. Laura- your parties are top notch. Their own brand of fabulous. You kill it every time.

  3. Happy Birthday to your little girl. Hudson’s facial expression made me laugh

  4. I hope she remembers this day forever. I know her heart will remember.

  5. Glenda Hoagland says:

    Happy Birthday to a special little girl.

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