Monday, December 1, 2008


The day of Thanksgiving was one of the most joyful I have ever had. Maybe it was because of the great food. Maybe it was because of the time I got to spend with my wonderful cousins. Maybe it was even because I didn’t have to worry about my problems!

But I know the truth: It was because I got to meet Esther.

This girl is two years old, and was adopted from China. She is my Mom’s-brother’s-wife’s-sister’s-daughter. (Whew!) I had not yet had the chance to meet her, and was really looking forward to it. I had heard about her from my cousins, but was anxious to meet her in person. I knew that her adoption from China was a wonderful story, and was very eager to hear it from Esther’s mother and father (Joyce and Dayton). When Joyce, Dayton, and Esther showed up on Thanksgiving day, I could see that they were so thankful for this sweet little toddler. I later learned that she was born in China and found abandoned in a garden. Joyce and Dayton adopted her when she was nine months old, and she has been a joy to them ever since.

I was so excited when the doorbell rang, and Esther walked through the door. I could not believe how adorable she was! Her sweet face was graced with a broad smile, and her eyes lit up with happiness. I knew instantly that I was going to like this little girl nick-named Essie.

The more I got to know her, I realized how often she laughed. This little child was so joyful and so beautiful, I could not imagine how thrilled her parents must have been when she was presented to them as Yang Fu Yuan. I cannot imagine the emotion of having a long-awaited baby placed in your arms. It is obvious that Joyce and Dayton have fallen in love with her, even though she is from a drastically different culture.

I could not get enough of her laugh. It came straight from the belly, and made every person in the room giggle out loud. My cousins and I thought up every possible way to make her laugh again and again and again. She was so happy, it did not take much.

Every person in the house sat around in the living room that night, not knowing what to do. It did not take long until we were all thinking of something to teach Esther. My mom began to teach her how to bow, and that kept us all laughing for quite a while! Essie began playing “Simon Says” with anyone who would participate, and it began growing later and later. The more we laughed, the more giddy Esther would become. Her infectious laugh spread throughout the room and had all of us rolling on the floor. Her beautiful smile shone and had everyone in a happy mood. Joyce finally announced that Esther truly did need to go to bed, and we soon followed. The next morning, it was as if everyone had a hangover, but not the usual type. We were all still giggling and happy. When we saw Esther the next day, the first thing we were greeted with was a bow and a giggle.

You would not believe how much a little laughter can affect someone. The two days that I spent with this sweet little girl were some of the best of my life. Her giggle showed me that I can be joyful if I only choose to be. I am not typically the laugh-at-everything-am-always-happy sort of person. I tend to be rather pessimistic. My pastor said several weeks ago that we choose to be either happy or sad. He asked this very thought provoking question: Are you joyful or jaundiced? I know which one I am, and I am not proud of it. If you know me well, you probably know that I am not happy all the time (although I don’t think anyone is) and don’t always look on the bright side.

I sincerely want to choose joy over sorrow now. I am going to work on this for as long as it takes so I can be like Esther. I don’t think anything has inspired me more lately than the laughter of my adopted cousin Esther. Her laugh has spread into my life and changed me.

Thank you, Essie, for your impact on my life! I know you can’t even read yet, but you are such an amazing girl. I know you will change many people throughout your life, and I can only say that I am thankful you were adopted by a family that can appreciate the laugh that God has given you. Live for God, sweetheart, and don’t let anything keep you from laughing.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! You have learned a good deal from Essie. Your blog made me smile :).