Monday, September 2, 2013
What a Difference...
Seven years ago, we brought home our little Miss Maria. (I know I have pictures of that somewhere but this was the closest I could find...the top one above is from a visit trip)
So Friday I checked on my Facebook. A friend had written on my "wall" that she had heard Maria's announcement on the radio.
And for a brief second I was REALLY confused.
Her birthday is in June.
I had totally forgotten.
Gotcha Day. Forever Family Day. Homecoming Day.
It is called a lot of things by different families. We honestly have never really called it any of those things.
So what is it for us this year?
The 7th anniversary of Maria landing with us, her new family, in the United States of America. (If I remember correctly, her first official time to put her feet on the ground, making her a citizen, was eating french fries at McDonald's in the Houston airport...)
We had sponsored this day with our local Christian radio station this year.
Thus the radio message.
We have never really made a big deal about this "anniversary day". In the early years, it was kind of a bittersweet day. Sweet for our family and the blessing of finally having her home but still a reminder of the family and culture and history left behind for one confused and unhappy 2 year old.
So we celebrate birthdays big. And rarely do we even acknowledge the "homecoming anniversaries".
But this year (in February) when I was trying to decide what day to sponsor, this date came to mind.
So a couple months ago, I jotted down a message to be read and clicked send.
Then I hadn't really thought of it since.
This is a busy time of year. I am trying to keep my head afloat with school. We have volleyball and gymnastics and cross country. We have church activities, outings with friends, etc.
And honestly I didn't think about it Friday until getting the message on FB from my friend.
Then I remembered.
We heard the actual message that afternoon while in the car waiting for Hunter after school.
Maria Elizabeth, seven years ago we brought you home to our family from Guatemala. You dazzle us with your gymnastic moves, get lost in the world of reading, run with flair across the finish line at 5Ks, and loudly sing praise songs around the house. We so proud of the young woman you are becoming and look forward to watching God continue to mold you and grow you into a lady after His own heart. No matter what life brings, we hope you dance, Maria.
Mom, Dad, Hunter, Lauren, Joshua, and Marley Pup
And I could see it on her face.
She asked if we were having a party.
She asked if she was getting gifts.
Because apparently this year, it is a big deal.
When her big sister told her nobody else got gifts, Maria defended herself.
"Adoption is different."
And my heart smiled.
It wasn't said with any sadness.
It was said with bitterness.
It wasn't said with anger.
It was said with pride.
The afternoon was filled with questions about her life before us. (I can only answer some of them since my information is limited.) We looked through the photo album of her pre-family days. We talked about Guatemala.
And then she asked, "Was A. (birthmom) married?"
I told her honestly I didn't know for sure but more than likely not because adoptions were not typically allowed for babies from married couples.
And I saw the wheels turning. Felt a bit nervous about where this conversation might go.
Then, "So if she had been married, I wouldn't have gotten to come here and be part of our family."
Again, said with no sadness.
Unless you know us and our story very closely you will not likely know how much these conversations meant to this mama.
There are no words.
Some tears. A lot of joy.
We didn't really have a party or gifts.
But we did go out to eat (though we are going to have to save her favorite restaurant for another day). And then we walked around as a family (minus one) just enjoying downtown.
Which is where I snapped this second picture.
And my heart is full.
What a difference 7 years makes...