The last two months have been a blur. Days have turned into long nights that turn back into long days. I knew it would soon be the first birthday party Bailey would celebrate out of the orphanage ( and most likely the first one ever celebrated). Honestly though, I was so tired I didn’t want to do anything!
The day arrived and I battled a headache and fatigue. She wasn’t feeling great either and long story short, we wound up starting her on antibiotics. By late afternoon I crumbled. All I wanted was an asprin and a warm bed. This girl, still adjusting to her new life, continued clinging to me everywhere I went.
Bodie could see I needed help ( probably after I fell to the floor sobbing). He took over with the kids while I got a moment to breathe and make dinner. It wasn’t what I’d dreamed for her first birthday with a family.
I fought the guilt that I should make things better for her. I knew the biggest gift she had was us and in a few days we’d have a real party. We sang, had some cake and went to bed.
Sunday came and we began to decorate. Bailey had no real understanding of what was going on but tried to comprehend the word “party” that seemed to make her brothers so excited.
Her First Birthday Party
As people arrived, she grew quiet. She allowed aunts and grandparents to hold her but stayed quiet for most of the afternoon. It was an observing posture. She definitely didn’t want the attention to go away but was a bit nervous about it too.
When all the cousins went outside to play, she made no effort to cry to follow as she usually does. She was simply satisfied to be with the adults that wanted to give her attention.
Cake time came and then presents.
Now, she absolutely knows what presents are after receiving them as her welcome home gifts! She remained quiet but relished each bag with treasures inside.
By the end of the night, she’d painted her whole face with the lip gloss she’d received and constantly showed off her pink nails her Aunt painted.
“abby erday” she continued to say patting her hand to her chest. This little one lay down that night lifting her hand in the darkness to examine each painted nail. Then she drifted off to sleep.
The Birthday Gift of Family
Bodie and I talked after the kids were in bed about the changes we’d seen in her these last six weeks. We talked about how sweet she was. We talked of how, even in the midst of loosing the original girl we’d felt called to adopt, God had stretched us because he knew.
He knew that even though her diagnoses looked scary to us, she was the one for our family. We pondered whether the other girl would’ve been too much for us. We pondered whether God was actually saving us from a lot more mommy breakdowns.
Who knows exactly why things happen the way that they do. One could circle around and around trying to figure things out. Why did I marry who I married? Why didn’t I wind up being a nurse like I always planned? The point isn’t to go backwards but forwards.
The world we live in tells us that we need to have things planned out. From kids to career to dinner for the next week. I understand there is a wisdom in planning but there is also a wisdom in letting things go. If I’m committing my ways to God but he allows grief in, do I keep going?
I’m so glad that in this adoption we did just that.
Someday Bailey will be 18 and wonder “What if I’d stayed in Ukraine?” “What if…” I can almost guarantee she would NOT have been adopted by a family in Ukraine with her special needs. Though what if another international family had brought her home?
There were so many possibilities, but she got this family. Not because of chance, but because a family somewhere believed in a God who is for orphans: a God who counts every human face as precious.
While waiting at Bailey’s orphanage, Bodie and I looked a pictures of the orphanage children on the wall. After several minutes of looking at these kids faces we noticed the photo’s were taken in the early 2000’s.
“These kids are all grown up now…” We realized.
That’s all they got before they no longer had the chance to have a Mom and Dad.
We are so thankful we saw this beautiful girl on Reecesrainbow.com before it was too late.
Celebrating Her Birthday with Family
So how did we celebrate Bailey’s FIRST Birthday this year? We celebrated with family. We celebrated by saying “I love you” and hearing her say “i-wuv-oo” back, just so she could get us to say those words again.
She just LOVES those words…
Honestly, we didn’t get her any physical gifts. We knew there would be an abundance. This three-year-old didn’t care because all she really wanted was “worth.”
I hope you are realizing your “worth” sweet girl.
Happy FIRST after three years!
From the Hilltop,
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