I write my kids letters on their birthdays. I almost didn't write you one this year, because this is all so new and raw and hard. People might have told you that you are lucky or blessed to be with us. The reality is that you were removed from the only home you knew and landed in a family with 4 kids 5 and under, who had no idea you were coming. On top of that, your life before you came to us was less than ideal. It left you with trauma that was only compounded by the upheaval in your life. There just isn't anything about this situation that is easy. But I want to write to you, specifically in the middle of all of this, because I think we'll look back on this time and not remember what it was really like. We can talk about it now and know how far we've all come when your 7th birthday rolls around.
Your heart is just so sweet. I think I might have shut down at this point, if I were you. But you don't. You get up every single morning, with a smile and a hug, and you want to help with breakfast and play with your brothers. You include Walker in the elaborate games you play with Harris. The thoughtful little gestures that you make towards the rest of the family each day say so much about who you are inside. You very openly love us and accept us as your family.
You are smart! The amount of things you have learned in 12 weeks, in the midst of trauma most people will never know, is crazy. You came to us knowing nothing academic and you've learned your shapes, colors, letters, and caught on to our family rules. When you came I tried to enroll you in pre-school, because I thought there was NO WAY someone could learn enough to get to kindergarten level in such a short amount of time. You proved me wrong! You hadn't had a book read to you and didn't know how to sit and listen to it. Now, you bring books to read and pick up nuances in the story. It's amazing.
You have owned every new experience we've thrown at you. One of my friends called you a bad-ass. While you're not allowed to say that, I'm telling you that you are one :) You'd never even seen a pool but jumped right in. You hadn't been to the lake but you giggled and asked to go faster on a jet ski. You hadn't been to school but put on a brave face and headed to summer camp, then you loved it. You learned how to swing. You learned how to ride a bike. You haven't turned down one thing just because it's new. You've met new friends. While you did grow up in San Antonio, nothing about our home is the same. Nothing at all. But you haven't let that stop you. That is such a gift! I can't wait to see you God uses that fearlessness and enthusiasm in you! You will never be the girl on the sidelines, too afraid to try. You are the one jumping right in, having too much fun to worry about failure or what other people think.
You know how to enjoy life. :)
I was laying down with you last night after a long day of birthday celebrating, and you said, "I didn't grow in your belly like your own kids." You've said that before and I said something lame, not what you wanted to hear. Last night I hope I finally got it right. I said, "You are all my kids. No, you didn't grow in my belly. Out of all the little people in the world, we chose YOU." Your eyes got big. You giggled. It's what you needed. Out of all the things we'll try to teach you, I want you to know right now that you were CHOSEN. You were chosen by us but more importantly you were chosen by God to be who you are and where you are. He saved you for a purpose and has something so beautiful and big in store for you. He gave you a special heart, with an amazing capacity to love and to forgive.
God gave me this verse last week for you. On your birthday, it seems so appropriate.
In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.”
The Lord says this: “I promise that if I cause you the pain of birth, I will not stop you from having your new nation.” Your God said this." Isaiah 66:9
This is painful, for you more than anyone. But something new and beautiful is coming out of it. Six is going to be an awesome year for you and I'm so excited to see you grow. I'm honored to be your mommy. I love you and can't wait to celebrate even more birthdays with you!
Welcome to the crazy, girlfriend. You fit right in. :)