Time hop on FaceBook is making me emo. Today it reminds me that four years ago today, we were separated from our baby girl by 7,000 miles and several months.
That she was celebrating her birthday without us, again, and that, apparently, I thought Matilda was the perfect name for her teeny self.
All these things have changed.
We have since flown to get her and today she celebrates her third birthday at home, surrounded by those who adore her. She is still teeny tiny, but her name is Maggie, despite having a Boat and Tote bag monogramed with Matilda.
Until you have done it, you can’t imagine what it is like to sit here, in your comfortable home, while your children play and bicker and knowing that somewhere across the world there is a child who should be a part of all that but isn’t yet.
Maybe your child is healthy and in a good situation.
Maybe you could send him or her a birthday cake and some presents and her caregiver will snap some pics that will make you cry.
Maybe you will have none of that and your baby will be in a crummy foster home that isn’t caring for her well and maybe you will be watching her weight go down each month and you will worry you won’t get there in time.
Maybe you suspect that this day is no different for her than the one before or the one after.
Maybe it is marked only by too little food and no stimulation and no one adoring her.
Can I just speak into that hurt for a sec?
You might wake up on the morning of your waiting child’s birthday and feel hopeful that it’s their last one away from home. Or you might be heart sick that you aren’t together. I suspect it’ll be a mixture of both with a whole bunch of other emotions thrown in for good measure.
I hope you will sit in that sad for a bit and allow yourself to mourn that this is not the way it should be, that children ought never to have to pass a birthday in an orphanage and that your arms feel especially achy and empty today. I hope you sit there for a bit and allow yourself to feel those feels because they are ok.
And then I hope you get up and keep moving about your day, working and doing all your things because life goes on, even today it goes on.
You will parent and wife and friend and daughter and son and neighbor the heck out of today because you are strong, even if you don’t feel it.
You will spend the day whispering a thousand prayers to the One Who Sees, that he might send a director, a nanny, a friend to your child that will speak to her of being loved, will grab her up tight and make her feel safe for a bit. And you will surrender to the possibility of this not happening and be ok knowing that when she is home you will snatch her up tight and will make up for every lost hug. Every. Single. One.
Dear one, at some point in this process you may wake up on the day of your waiting child’s birthday with a brick on your chest and your tears making tracks to your pillow. You may bake a cake and sing, and I hope you do. You should mourn this loss of celebration, you really should. But then you need to brush yourself off and do your day.
Acknowledge that Father sees and knows and that he is bringing her home to your arms where she belongs. And someday, you will wake up to her little bird self standing next to your bed and she will be yours and you will have a party and the gift of all this will bring you to your knees.
It will. Someday, dear you. Soon.