The Best Day of Her Life! {She’s 10!}

Friends,  yesterday was one of the most exhausting and most rewarding days of my life. 

I don’t really even know where to begin with all that I want to share with you.   But yesterday was one of those days that pulled at ALL my heart strings.  

This Girl. 


This girl turned 10 years old yesterday. On her 9th birthday, she was in an orphanage.  No presents.  No party.  No family.  I’m not saying that for dramatic effect.  It’s the truth.  And I have to remind myself of it daily to try and somewhat comprehend what she is thinking and feeling each day with all of these “firsts.”

She has been home with us for 10 months now, and almost since the first day she has asked me continually, “How many days until my birthday?”  

This girl has been waiting not-so-patiently for her birthday for 10 months.  But honestly, she has been waiting for this day much longer.   Something about yesterday felt like it was a dream come true for her.  I wondered if last year, as she laid in her bed at the orphanage, if she may have dreamt about what it would be like to have a REAL birthday party with REAL friends and a REAL family?  For some older orphans, that dream never comes true, and it breaks my heart.  I am so very grateful that the Lord rescued Sania, and that HE picked us to be her family.  

I’ve never seen her so happy.  She woke up to a birthday balloon and flowers, and she asked me, “Why you do this for my mommy?”   Because I love you, sweet girl. 

While eating breakfast she turned to me and said, “I’m happy, mom.  VERY happy today.”   I know, baby. :)

I dropped her and Eli off at school, and I was so excited for her because I knew her teachers and classmates would be telling her Happy Birthday and making her feel special.  I knew that sweet little 3rd grade hands would be drawing Happy Birthday messages on scrap pieces of construction paper and laying them on her desk. 

I told her that I would be bringing cupcakes to school that day for her (and Eli who’s birthday is tomorrow,) and she asked, “Mommy, why you do that for me?”  Because I love you, sweet girl.

Jonathan helped me take the cupcakes and drinks to the classroom yesterday, and when I walked in the classroom, Sania jumped up from her desk and jumped up into my arms.  Literally.  She jumped up to hug me and wrapped her legs around my waist just like a toddler.   The kids in the classroom giggled a little at the sight.   But no worries, Sania didn’t hear a thing because she was too busy squeezing my neck and saying, “I love you, Mommy!  I love you, Mommy!”

As I sat her down, she told me how happy she was, and how happy she was that I was there.  I showed her her Hello Kitty cupcakes, and she said, “Aw mom, why you do this for me?”  Because I love you, sweet girl.

She could barely contain her excitement as she passed out the cupcakes to her friends.  Eli was passing his basketball cupcakes out at the same time, and I couldn’t help but just marvel at how much my little girl’s life has changed since last year. 

Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Sania and Eli, and she just smiled from ear to ear.  What was going through her little mind?  Not only did she have a classroom full of friends singing to her, but a fiercely protective and devoted brother beside her as well.

Speaking of protective… you even know how much her daddy loves her?!  Oh my word.  Cy is head over heals in love with his little girl, and I couldn’t help but cry when I saw what he wrote on our Facebook page yesterday…


That night, we had a small little swim party for her with a few of her friends from school and church. 

Sania was beyond excited at having a real party, with real presents, real cake and ice cream, and a real family.  It was like she couldn’t believe that it was actually happening.


Cy took this video of us singing Happy Birthday to her on his phone.  I have watched this video a hundred times, and I have fought back tears every time.  You can see and feel the complete and utter JOY inside of her.  You can watch her eyes as she looks around the room as if she is trying to soak in every minute and every word.  After she blows out her candles, she claps in excitement and gives me the biggest hug!!  I will never be able to put into words the JOY that we were all feeling.  It wasn’t that she was getting cake and ice cream and presents….it was about the fact that our little girl was no longer lost or forgotten.  She was no longer alone.  She is and forever will be surrounded by the love of family and friends.  And most importantly, the Love of God. 


IMG_4128 from Beneath My Heart on Vimeo.


That night, as I tucked her in bed, she could barely hold her chlorine-blood-shot eyes open as we recounted the events of the day.  She was exhausted, but told me that today was the best day of her life.   :)  I rubbed her cheeks and kissed her forehead and told her Happy Birthday one last time and that we love her forever. 

As I closed the door to her room, I smiled as I thought of how different her sweet little dreams would be from last year.  Her birthday dreams had come true, and God gave me the blessing of being a witness to it all.  I am forever and ever grateful.


Several times today, Cy and I have talked about yesterday and how we both have never seen Sania so happy.  We both have had many amazing, wonderful, heart exploding times with Sania over the past year, but yesterday…well, yesterday takes the cake!  Literally.   :)   Seeing the world through her little eyes has been life changing.  To see the healing that God is doing in her heart is inexplainable.  And to experience the love that we have for her is beyond anything we could have ever imagined. 

In a world that seems absolutely crazy at times, we have simple moments like these, and we realize that this is what life is really all about.  TO GOD BE THE GLORY.



  1. There are really no words to adequately express the pure joy here – your story is incredible – I can’t get over the excitement in her eyes – she is watching everything and everybody – and I love the way she blows out the candles- it was the first time – her lips weren’t sure what to do. So much love – happy Mother’s Day to you and all your gorgeous children

  2. Hi Traci!
    Your post today has certainly pulled at my “heartstrings”. Your blog has been a Blessing for me as well as many others I am certain. What a reflection of God’s Love your writings have been! The love you pour into your family is amazing and I know God smiles every time he sees what you have done with his Blessings! I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend and soak in all the love of your precious children!!!
    Love, Carlie

  3. Oh my goodness Traci! I have goosebumps from the emotion of sweet Sania”s first birthday celebration with her forever family. I’m so very happy for you all. Continued blessings!

  4. There is so much gratefulness I feel in my own life when I read your story. You continue to “blow me away” and remind me of all of the wonderfulness in this world. I am so happy for someone I have never met and yet feel like if I met you, I would already know you, your sweet husband and children. Thank you for your hand written therapy. I adore your story. Have an incredible weekend and Mother’s Day. You certainly have made mine.

    1. Aw, thank you, Dawn Rene! I am so glad that the Lord uses the internet to bring us all together and make us feel like friends and family. If we met, we would instantly hug you, and I would probably be a lot louder than you expected. haha!! xoxo

  5. What a Special day for Sania and for your family!!
    The ending of the video is the Best!! So great to have that. So Precious!
    The whole day makes my heart so Happy!! Thank you for sharing!!

  6. This is so precious. I’m glad you let us be a part of it by sharing your heart and video and pictures. You all are truly blessed. This makes my heart so happy.

  7. I second what Carlie said. Very well put! And you’re blessing your readers by sharing this beautiful story.

  8. This was so moving and beautiful. You have been the best gifts for each other, and are lucky that God brought you together. Happy Birthday lovely Santa, and Eli too!

  9. What a lovely blessing you and your family are experiencing. Sania is truly a blessing from God. Her to your family and you to her! Such a sweet little girl, she deserves the best.

  10. I am so happy for Sania that she had a beautiful and blessed birthday! Tell her Happy Birthday for me! God bless you, Cy and family for being a blessing to Sania and making her dreams come true!!!! Enjoy the memories!

  11. You don’t know me but it doesn’t really matter. I have been reading about your family and you sweet little girl Sania. I can’t imagine how hard it was for you to be patient and let God take care of all the arrangements to be able to bring her home. My husband and I reading all about the anticipation of Sania’s Birthday. As I read what you wrote I had to stop so many times because of the tears that were pouring down my cheeks then looked over at my husband and he was doing the same. Thank you so much for shareing this sweet little girls life with myself and my husband. Hope you have a blessed day! Crystal Coleman

    1. Aw, Crystal! God bless you for your sweet and tender hearts. Thank you for following our adoption journey. We are so thankful for readers like you! xoxo

  12. Oh how my heart is overflowing with the blessings and goodness of our Precious Lord!! I have followed your blog and story with your precious Sania and was so devastated when there was a chance you might not get her…. But then to watch a true miracle from God to intervene and give you this blessing!! Oh what a Savior!! I thank you for sharing your lives with us! May God continue to pour out His goodness and mercy in your hearts and in your home… He is a good, GOOD Father! One more time sweet Sania… “Happy Birthday to you sweet girl! I wish for you the very BEST that God can give!!” Love and hugs to you! ❤️

  13. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience!! Just gives us a small picture of our Abba Father’s love for each one of us💞

  14. This is pure joy to share in this birthday celebration for Sania!! Many times we can’t comprehend the many things God has prepared for us on our journey through life or that of our loved ones. This leaves me so speechless and yet Praise for God that He brought you & your family and Sania together. Hugging each of you with such joy-thank you for letting us all be a part of it!

    1. It leaves me speechless too, Pat. And that’s saying a lot for this talker. haha! Thank you for celebrating God’s goodness with us!

  15. Beautiful story of how love can change everything. This pulled at my heart strings! Anything endured to adopt a child is 110% worth it! Fav. post of yours this year! When you have to fight to bring a child home I think it only strengthens the bond they have to you. Sania can clearly feel the love. Thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful moments as a family with your readers.

  16. Amen, to God be all the glory!!!
    So very, very happy for all of you!
    Our Lord is always faithful and once again He proved that with your most beautiful and precious “gift of Sania!” And despite ALL of the sweet and cute and wonderful birthday goodies you gave to her, you must know that “your family” is the GREATEST gift that Sania could ever have!!!
    Rejoicing with you in joy and praising our Amazing Lord!!!
    Oh, and Happy Birthday also to your terrific, Eli! :)

  17. As I read this I kept thinking of God’s love for us. Why do you do these things for me? Why did you die for me? He answers, because I love you. Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture of love.

  18. I’ve been watching your blog for years, but I think today is my first comment. I have two adopted children from Eastern Europe. I have tears from reading your post and seeing Sania’s birthday video. What beautiful moments you will always treasure. Praise to God for the healing He can bring.

    1. Hi Sandra! Thank you for commenting. :) And thank you for following our story. You understand first hand the joys and sorrows of adoption, and how the joys far out weigh the sorrows. God bless your family!

  19. O my goodness I can’t stop crying, this is so precious. You don’t know me but I have been following your story, I just had to comment. This really is what life is all about. Truly shows the good in this world where so much is going wrong. Thank you so much for sharing.

  20. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” – Proverbs 13: 12
    What an amazing testimony of love she has and what a blessing it is to experience her true joy! Happy birthday Sania!

    1. Aw Beth! I don’t think I have ever heard that scripture, and it is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it. And thank you for your prayers for our little girl. xoxo

  21. I just love to read these stories. Thank you for sharing your journey. God bless you and little Sania!

  22. This video and story warms my heart. She’s a special little girl and she hit the jackpot becoming a member of this sweet family! The simple things in life that we take for granted, she’s experiencing for the first time. So happy for you and Sania!

  23. You are so blessed as a family. Please tell Sania Happy Birthday and that she is a blessed young lady with a blessed family. You will always be in my prayers.

  24. So well written…I feel the love everyone in your family and us, your internet followers have for this precious angel. Sania will never be alone again…

  25. I feel as if I have been on this journey with you, Traci. I have shared your heartache and dispare. But to witness the sheer joy of this blessed little girl and see how she has brought so much much love into your family just brings me to tears. Thank you being such an inspiration and for wearing your heart on your sleeve. Your faith lifts me up.

    1. Wendy, you have been on this journey with us! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and for being a part of our journey. We are so grateful to share it with you! xoxo Traci

  26. Thank you for sharing your continuing testimony of faith and family. I am grateful for God’s love and how he uses it to change us, to give us joy when we surrender to him. Bless you and bless Sania Louise as you spread love and joy til we all get home!

  27. To God Be The Glory for putting this wonderful & precious little girl in a True & Loving Home…It makes my heart “swell” with all the Love I feel in this family…And send Prayers of Love & Thanksgiving for you all…

    Happy Happy Birthday Sania Louise……May All your days be filled with the wonderful & Precious Love of your wonderful family….
    Thank You Lord Jesus for all your Love & Blessings Daily…..All my Love & Prayers go with you Always….
    We Serve such An Awesome God Who Performs His Miracles Always……I Love You All…

  28. Precious sweet girl! I had tears of joy streaming down my face as I watched and read your post to my husband. We are witnessing God’s love and family love and how it’s impacted and changed her life, your life as well as touched all of our lives. How beautiful, precious and amazing. Thank you for taking us a long on your journey as well.

  29. First – you should have given a Kleenex warning! This was so sweet! The joy that Sania gives and has is so apparent. I was excited for her! Thank you for sharing your life. Blessings, peace, grace, more joy and love (if that’s possible) to you and your beautiful family!

  30. Gosh Traci, the love in Sania’s eyes for you in the video is so evident. What a great and loving family you have. God is good all the time!💕

  31. What a fun day for her, and what a life experience for you…You all are such a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing, I love hearing these stories! Traci you are a special woman, with a HUGE heart!

  32. So often when we pray God is quiet. We think He is not hearing. But, oh, that’s the time He’s moving…putting the plan together.
    It took 2 years but His timing is perfect. He always has a plan. What a blessing He planned your lives together with great joy.

  33. Tears of joy and awe are streaming down my face as I write this. Sania Louise’s life (and yours) will never be the same because of your love for God and your willingness to be obedient to Him. You are such a blessing to her, and it is obvious how much having her as your daughter/sister, has blessed your family.

    Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  34. Ah Traci….this is too precious for words. I have tears of joy reading your post and watching the video. You ALL deserve this much happy, and you are right, to God be the glory! Love you all!! ❤️❤️❤️

  35. To God be the glory,great things he has done. This hymn kept going through my mind all the time I was reading this post. Thank you for including us in the celebration.

  36. What struck me, Traci, was the love & devotion of little Eli for his “twin.” Here it was one day before his birthday and he was so gracious and selfless. You & Cy have an amazing family. Blessings to all.

  37. Yes, an incredible story that only the Lord could have orchestrated. Sania is one blessed little girl and you and yours are one blessed family. Loved this!

  38. Wow Traci!! I see the happiness in Sanias face just like you describe! Its as if she is just trying to take it all in! I feel just like others have said previously that she is so lucky to have a family like yours. But your family is also so lucky to have her in return. It has brought so much to all of your lives just by getting a precious little human being that so desperately needed LOVE and a FOEVER FAIMLY!! And to have that come to you from halfway around the world!! OUR GOD IS SO GOOD!! I also feel like others on the blog that even though I do not know you. I feel as though I do!! I feel like getting to know your family thru the blog feels like I been friends with you forever!! But I think the most thing that I wanted to mention in this post is how I noticed that Eli was such a great big brother to her the whole day!! He has been letting his birthday go not as noticed just so Sania’s birthday could standout and be all that more special!! What great boys you have!! Thanks for sharing with us here all about your family and PLEASE!! keep doing it!! Friends thru your blog, Love from Maryland, Shawn

  39. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for sharing this story of Sania’s birthday and more. It brought tears to my eyes and I was sooooo blessed by your faithfulness to go through what you did to get her and the LOVE your whole family has given her. Amazing in 10 months how God has used you to change her life so profoundly. I will personally find you in Heaven someday and give you any jewels from my crown, as You and Cy and your lovely family deserve it. You are so humble….giving God all the Glory and YES……that is what life is all about. Love and Blessings to you all forever and again…… thank you for blessing me this morning with your story and her Birthday day. I felt like I got to be apart of it. I will pray for you and her.

  40. You all are an amazing, giving and unselfish family. I can only say that as a parent as well,our greatest joy comes to us when our children are happy. It is what makes life worthwhile. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving Sania the most wonderful gift- a mother,father and family that will love and cherish her forever! You are wonderful people and may God bless you and your family. What an example you have set for others. Your mother certainly was smiling down on Mother’s Day- you and Cyndi make her proud everyday!

  41. The sheer joy on Sania’s face is priceless; you can see it all over her face in the picture where she’s holding the cupcakes. I have loved hearing the journey but it’s just the beginning. God is writing a beautiful story with your family and I’m so blessed that you’re sharing it with us.

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