I can hardly believe that today is your ninth birthday. It seems like it was just yesterday that we celebrated your eighth birthday–you had just been home about 3 weeks. Time just flies.
Today you are nine! Weighing almost 40 pounds, you sure are a teeny, tiny nine year old. You still wear size five and six clothes. But, you are growing, and that is wonderful. I noticed when I put a pair of jeans on you a few days ago that they are actually getting a little short. I love that–it tells me you are getting bigger.
Today has been one of reflection for me and your Daddy. We marvel at how far you have come in just one year. This time last year you could hardly do anything on your own. You could not change your own clothes, or brush your teeth. You had no idea how to even hold a toothbrush. Eating a meal took at least one hour. You could not hold a pencil, and had no idea what a coloring book even was. You preferred to eat everything with your hands. Walking on any surface that was rough, or uneven, was absolute torture. Running was something you had obviously never done. Your muscle tone was so poor that you tired very easily. You had no idea what it meant to play. We had months and months of potty training issues. You had no idea what a playground was–it terrified you. It broke our hearts.
Precious Haven, we look at you today and our hearts swell. You have come a very long way in a relatively short time, dear daughter. You are growing. You are learning. It is all in your time. We have learned that we have to take baby steps with you–slow and steady is how you prefer to do things. And that’s just fine with us. We have a lifetime to figure this out.
You know what I love, sweet girl? Against all odds, you are proving them all wrong! In your first eight years of life you were told you would never be anything. Words were spoken over you that were death to you. You were abandoned too many times. They longed to find any label for you–“autistic”, “mentally ill, “retarded” were just a few of them. You are NONE of those things!
You are a precious child of a mighty God. His plans and purposes for your life are GOOD–no matter how that may look. He promises you hope and a future. That promise is for you, angel girl. Hope and a future. We hold onto that and speak it over your life over and over again.
I look at you today everything in me praises God. I am so thankful for your life. I am so thankful for the hope that is in Him. I am so thankful that He choose us to be your parents. Us! What did we ever do to deserve the blessing of being called your parents? I will never fully understand it. I am so humbled.
Precious Haven–I want you to know something today. You are one courageous little girl! I admire your strength and your courage. I could never have endured what you did in the first eight years of your life. The emotional abuse, the physical abuse–I could not have done it. It breaks my heart when I consider what they did to you. My heart cannot comprehend it. I try not to go there too often because it just makes me so sad. You survived. You endured much. When you had no earthly father, your heavenly Father held you tight. Someday you will know His great love for you. Maybe you do already? Perhaps He has made Himself so real to you already? We have no way of knowing what happens in your mind. But I bet He has. I bet the two of you have sweet conversations together.
There are days when we would love nothing more than for you to find your voice. How amazing that will be. Every now and then you give us a little glimpse into how that is going to be. When we hear you say, “Mei Mei”, or “Da Da” or “Ma Ma”–it is like a little piece of heaven on earth for us. We long for more–but we know it has to be in your time, not ours. Whether you speak soon, or in a few years, or even never, it is just fine with us. We love you just the way God created you, sweet Haven.
Our prayer for you today is that you will continue to learn and grow. That every bad memory of your past would be healed, in the name of Jesus. We pray that your understanding of English will continue to develop. We long for you to understand what it means when we tell you that we love you, that we care for you and that you are such a treasure to us. You belong, sweet love.
Happy birthday, beloved daughter. How we love and cherish you.
Blood of our blood, heart of our heart.
Your birth so far away, so far apart,
Not your true beginning, nor an earnest start.
A heritage begun in eternity past,
You were lodged in the warmth of a heavenly nest
Of a loving God, ready to come, ready to be cast.
And placed where one can travel no farther,
God made us pursue you harder, even harder
To show you the love of an unrelenting Father.
Abandoned to die where scant brood survive
You stole our heart, and we stole your life
From the grip of Death—he dare not thrive!
No mistake here, no divine misfortune.
Though the object of emotional abortion
You are perfect in every way, in every portion.
And there’s a portion of our heart
That bathed in emptiness till we were apart
No more. Not ever again. For us. For you, our Haven, our eternity’s art.
With immense love,