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The 27 Dresses star posted the photos of her and husband Josh Kelley’s adopted daughter, Nancy Leugh Mi-Eun, growing up over the past 13 years on Instagram.
She explained that the first two photos in the series were the first time they saw Nancy, also known as Naleigh, before she was flown from Seoul to Los Angeles.
Photos of Naleigh as a toddler, a young girl and then as a newly-fledged teenager were also included in the series.
Heigl wrote: “Looking through these photos, reaching back in time, grasping at the smoke of memories that still hold this gorgeous, spectacular girl at nine months.
“All folds and rolls and chicken fluff hair. Then mists of memory that hold her at two. All gap-toothed grins and endless giggles and girly sass.
“The memories drift in and out like the ebbing of the tide and I keep trying to chase them, grip them tight in my hands, hold them still so I can live it all just one more time.”
She continued in the heartfelt post: “This girl. This girl that made me a mother. The girl that gave my life purpose. Meaning. Direction. Boundless eternal love. This girl turns 13 today. She is officially a teenager.
“I can’t seem to process it. How did this happen? Wasn’t she my silly, giggling, gap-toothed, roly poly baby just a few years ago... just yesterday?
“God am I grateful… for every new memory I have the privilege of making with this extraordinary girl. I love you Naleigh… Happy birthday my beautiful girl.”
Heigl and Kelley have three children including Naleigh; a second adopted daughter, Adalaide, who is eight, and a four-year-old biological son, Joshua.
She spoke about how she navigates conversations with her daughters about their biological parents earlier this year, telling Parents magazine that she gives her children the option of asking for “as much or as little information” as they want.
“We have said to them, ‘This is your story. We don’t have any information about your biological fathers, but we do have a bit about your biological mothers’,” Heigl said.
“If you guys want to talk more about them, you can have as much or as little information as you want. Tell us what you’re comfortable with knowing.
“I need to protect my daughters and prepare them for the world, because I can’t change society in one fell swoop,” she added.