Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Farewell, China

For 814 days, our daughter was an orphan. She lived among hundreds of other children. She was cared for but not loved. She learned to rock herself to sleep when no one was there to do it for her. She learned to not make a sound when she cried. She had no one to teach her and encourage her to achieve developmental milestones. She was surviving but not thriving. She was not living any kind of life she deserved.

After 814 days, she was an orphan no more. 

Ten days ago, on Monday, July 31, 2017, we met our daughter. She was scared and distraught. She was withdrawn, frozen, and terrified to make a sound. So, she cried. Silently, she cried. The tears rolled down her anguished face as she tried to make sense of the absolute trauma she was experiencing. All she had known was a life of surviving and now, even that life was being taken away. What she didn't know was a life filled with love. What she didn't know was that we loved her before we ever even met her.

Ten days later, she knows she is loved.
Ten days later, she knows she is cherished. 
Ten days later, she knows she is ours.

Ten days later, we know we can't live without her. 
Ten days later, we know we adore her.
Ten days later, we know we are hers

So many people have so kindly commented about how "blessed" and "lucky" Bella is to be joining our little Lu Crew. But, oh, no, no, no. This girl is the blessing to US. WE are the lucky ones. Our lives are richer because she is a part of it. My goodness, we are so thankful for this amazing little girl.

For over two years, she didn't understand how amazing she is. She didn't realize that she spreads joy wherever she goes. She didn't know the impact she would have on so many. Now, we will make sure she knows, every single day. 

Sometimes, we all just need someone to remind us that it's okay to let our light shine. What an absolute honor and privilege it has been to be that encouragement for our girl - to let her know it's okay to shine. Shine away, baby girl, shine away. You are a light in this world, and your light will never be dimmed again.

Ten days ago, we didn't know our daughter. Now, we don't know what we ever did without her. 

It's time to go home now, Bella Luton. Adventure awaits...


  1. Praise God! He has heard the prayers of His people and He has answered. Did we ever really doubt it? No! Because we know how good He is. I pray for His hands to be around the rest of your journey as you come back to the States with your little girl. God bless each of you, Clay, Lindsay, Banks, Raleigh, Harrison and Bella Luton!

  2. I've loved reading these posts! Such a great story!

  3. I was friends with Clay in High School and have loved reading your blog! Praying for a safe trip back to the states and an easy transition with your beautiful children! It is my hearts desire to adopt one day and reading your blog made me long for it even more! Thank you for sharing!!!❤️