This Girl Right Here

December 26th is a pretty big deal in our home. It’s this girl’s birthday and yesterday was a big one for her! Jubilee Promise turned 21!!

A little trip down memory lane to find our princess…

Days, weeks, months and years…just waiting for a family..

Meeting Mama for the first time, December 2009.

I was stunned at how teeny-tiny and frail she was! It turns out that although Jubilee was days away from turning 8, she weighed only 27 pounds! Let that sink in. Precious girl had been nearly starved.

For months after coming home she ate and ate and ate and ate. The table would be cleared, the dishes done and she would still be eating. 

Emma went with me to bring Jubilee home. So many memories of that trip!

Emma, Jubilee and I reached home on Christmas Eve 2009.

Meeting daddy and some of her siblings….our new home built after the fire is in the background….We moved in just as we were leaving for China to bring her home.

Daddy introduced Jubilee Promise at our Christmas Eve Service. She understood zero English, but loved being in her big, strong, kindhearted daddy’s arms.

You know friends, Jubilee was the first “lifer” we brought home. We knew when we signed the paperwork that we would get to keep her for the rest of our lives. Her needs were/are profound. And we have only one regret. That we couldn’t get to her sooner.

This girl is such a joy to all who know her. She’s tenderhearted, kind, helpful, loving, and has a great sense of humor.

Daddy Daughter Dance right after she came home.

And slowly, we can see the smiles beginning to emerge! The healing power of God through the love of family. From discarded orphan to needed, wanted and celebrated in her forever family!

Dw and I are convinced: The only true need a special needs treasure has is for a family – forever!

Jubilee loves her brothers fiercely and “Gray-ah” is one of her favs. He thinks she’s pretty amazing too.

Jubilee went with me to Uganda in 2021 when Emma was about to deliver. She had a blast and can’t wait to go again. She loved being with Emma and Josh and their family. And from the pictures you can tell she love, love, loved being with the Gems!

Oh! And she’s a baby whisperer. Graham and Savannah are foster care parents. They’ve had close to 20 placements. They currently have a precious newborn and this is how you will find Jubilee. She talks to the baby so tenderly and holds the baby for hours. (I actually should record Jubilee.)

She adores Ruby and comes to see her as soon as she wakes up each morning. She has two nicknames for Ruby… “No-Joe” and “Jay-Lo”…LOL. She’s never heard of the “famous” J-Lo but Elizabeth and I get a kick out of her calling her Jay-Lo….

She’s my shadow, somedays my “skin” and always my best buddy – such a beautiful gift from the Lord.

We celebrated Jubilee all day yesterday and last night, per her request, we had potstickers and homemade Oreo cheesecake.

Happy 21st Birthday Jubilee Promise!! Mama’s heart aches that you waited eight years for us to get to you, enduring all kinds of yuk. But you know Jesus now, have been baptized and there’s no doubt, the Lord surely blessed us beyond measure when He gifted you to us. You are a delight to all who have the pleasure of knowing you. And you have a pretty sweet fan club out in the blog world too.

Oh that every family would have their own Jubilee Promise! The world would be a sweeter place, for sure!

If you are able, please wish her a Happy Birthday. I will read with her all the messages and she will beam from ear to ear.

51 thoughts on “This Girl Right Here

  1. Happy Birthday Jubilee!!! I can’t believe you are already 21!!! It’s been an honor and privilege to celebrate you through your mama’s blog and FB posts. Keep shining Jesus!

  2. Happy 21st Birthday Jubilee! I remember reading your story through your Mum’s blogs and can’t believe how quickly the years have passed. It’s my birthday in a few days too so I’m clearly in very good company. Hope you had a wonderful day & a blessed year.

    1. Vicki! We want to wish you a Happy Birthday too. (She’s not a woman of a huge vocab but I helped her realize we should wish you one too!) And when I read her your comment she thoughtfully said, “Wow. That’s cool”. Haha.

  3. Happy Birthday beautiful!!! You are such a bright light and pure love! May you enjoy your day and many more to come! With a big piece of yummy cake, too, of course!

      1. Jubilee Promise! You are truly a gift to others! God bless you every single day! Thank you to your mom for sharing your story. The pics are so sweet! May your 21st year be filled with Jesus, Joy,Love, Friends, & Family!!! Love, Sherri

      2. Happy birthday Jubilee! I have read your mamas blog for years and seen you grow from a sweet little one to a beautiful young woman. This world would be a better place if we would have more people like you. People who have a gentle spirit and who shine the light of Jesus.

        1. Jubilee said, “Oh wow” when I read her your comment and then she questioned, “Shine the Light?” I explained to her how she reflects Jesus and shines His light. She said, “Oh yeah!”

  4. Happy happy birthday, Jubilee. You are beautiful. I love your smile. You are a special gift to us from Jesus. I think God was just showing out when He created you! So happy to help you celebrate turning 21!

  5. Happy birthday Sweet Jubilee! I’m so grateful to have gotten to meet you and hear you sing at Joni and Friends Family Retreat a few years ago. I pray some day soon I can come and see you again. Your love and joy come straight from Jesus! Happy birthday sweetheart!! With much love, Jenny Smith- aka Maddie’s mom.

    1. Aww Jenny, how sweet of you to take the time to wish her a happy birthday. When I explained that she was at the retreat she smiled big. Thank you friend. I pray God comforts you. Maddie was such a treasure!

    1. Thank you Jacquelyn. I told her she had some more comments and read her yours. She said, “What’s Georgia?” Thank you for being so sweet to tell her Happy Birthday! She’s so tickled by it all.

      1. Happy birthday precious Jubilee! Maybe someday your family will come to Texas and we can meet in person! Have a wonderful birthday. Jesus loves you and so do so many people here on earth.
        Chris Gould

        1. Jubilee wanted to know, “What’s Texas?” I explained to her and said that actually we are thinking we will be coming through Texas this year! So maybe, just maybe. Thank you for leaving her a sweet comment.

  6. Happy birthday Jubilee! I have a grandson who will soon have a birthday, too! I bet your family sang happy birthday to you! You are precious!!

  7. Happy, happy birthday, sweet girl! I remember praying you home! Just love your smile! I know your day was great, your mama is an expert at making it perfect!

  8. Happy Birthday, Jubilee Promise! It has been such a joy getting to know you through your Mother’s blog. I hope this is your happiest year ever.

  9. Sweet Jubilee! Your smile makes my heart smile! Thank you for the joy you being me! It has been so fun watching you grow up over the years on your Mama’s blog. I hope you had the happiest of birthdays. I can’t believe you are 21! Happy Birthday!

    The Gray’s (from Alabama)

  10. Happy birthday Jubilee! I remember when your mom went to China to adopt you. I have been following her blog for a very long time. It’s a blessing to see you love on the babies. My 21 year old daughter from China loves babies too.

  11. Happy birthday Jubilee!
    You are so very loved by friends far and near.
    You are a blessing and you make our hearts smile.
    God bless you as you turn 21!

    Much love from Texas!

  12. Happy Birthday to this sweet girl! Though we don’t know you, we can see the joy in your face and smile! We wish you and your family many blessings! 🙂

  13. Happy birthday dear Jubilee! What a beautiful young woman you are and a precious gift from the Lord Almighty! I pray that He will continue to bless you as He shines through you. May this year be full of joy and happiness! ❤️

  14. Happy Birthday to my December birthday buddy, Miss. Jubilee!

    Jubilee, You shine our Heavenly Father’s JOY! What a gift you are! Your mom has shared sweet stories of you over the years that God has used to encourage and help many. For me, last year September 7th, 2021, she shared the story of you wearing the: “ No Worries. I got this!!! -God” shirt. That story encouraged me to remember His forever faithfulness only one week before being told a diagnosis on September 14th, 2021… because of God using you I was able to turn around and tell others: God’s got this!!!

    May God bless you abundantly in this new year. Many birthday blessings and much love to you Jubilee!!!

  15. Happy Birthday Jubilee – these wishes may be a bit late but they had to travel all the way from Switzerland. I wish you joy, happiness and lots of babies you can hold and talk to.

    1. I explained Andrea that you live in Switzerland – on the other side of the world and she said, “Oh wow! That’s cool.” Thank you for being so kind to our girl. I always dreamed of going to Switczerland from the time I was a little girl! Maybe because of the Heidi book. Be blessed friend.

  16. Happy, happy birthday to sweet Jubilee! Praying God’s blessing over you today and always! I hope your day has been full of joy and fun….sounds like you had a very tasty birthday meal, that oreo cheesecake was a good choice! 🙂 Sending love from Kentucky!

    1. I read Jubilee your birthday wish and she’s not a woman of many words but said, “Oh wow!” Elizabeth made the cheesecake!! She loves her sissy so well. Thank you Wendy for the birthday wish. We love Kentucky by the way!

  17. Happy Birthday, Jubilee! I remember when your Mama brought you home, and I can’t believe you are already 21! Your family is blessed to have such a sweet girl to love! I hope you have a great day!

  18. I’m super late (don’t get around to reading blogs as much anymore!), but HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY Jubilee!! You have the absolute best smile I’ve ever seen – it radiates joy and happiness!

    Hope 2023 brings you everything you deserve!!

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