“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” Rose Kennedy
Today is a weird day for our family. It is the birthday of an almost member of our family…. not really I guess. Someone we loved from afar very, very much turns 7 years old today. Often adoption doesn’t turn out like we think it will. While this little one we never met led us ultimately to our Little Miss C, a piece of our family’s hearts lives in kiddo we’ve never met and know nothing about. Weird, I know. A little over 5 years ago we adopted Little Miss C at birth because our adoption in a far away land of a little girl with ‘special needs’ had fallen through before we even got to her. A little one we had pictures of, knew the medical needs of, and the living conditions of. We prayed for her from afar and loved and worried about her in a way most friends don’t understand. As I have mentioned before, too many ‘cooks in the kitchen’ made for a miscommunication on the paperwork end. We were too late, she was adopted – either in country, or by a family who went ‘blind referral’ sometime while our paperwork was being redone. A teensie tiny 5 week window. Timing after that fell through was so perfect for our little Miss that I can only assume it was destiny. And while it was destiny, it is still bittersweet. We still miss the little one that we loved, but never came home.
Happy 7th birthday to the little one who was almost ours. I will never forget those months between us committing to you and then waiting for your file to be officially available to Americans. I will not forget looking at your little hands and feet and thinking to myself “Even if doctors here can’t change anything, she is perfectly fine.” I will never forget the day our paperwork came back saying ‘redo this in blue ink and resend’ and the scramble to expedite exactly as was asked, despite the cost. I remember being angry that we were never told black ink was not acceptable, I remember checking paperwork and emails and cursing governments and agencies that didn’t give us this information earlier; how dare all of them make her wait weeks more. I will remember how a tiny bit of my heart broke off completely one moment on a day in May 2011. An email saying our paperwork was received and accepted in country, but too late to be matched with you because you already were out of the system. We had started the adoption journey open to anyone but once we laid eyes on you, you are the only person we wanted in the entire world. I will always remember your big giant eyes and the fact that your smile looked so much like my husband’s that I assumed it was a sign. I loved that you shared your birthday with Mickey Mouse, obviously another sign. I will never forget taking your pictures out of frames and saying to myself “It was OK to love her before she was yours, nobody else did, you were probably the only people in the world praying for her, it is selfish to wish you hadn’t.”. I remember putting your pictures at the bottom of a drawer because even though you aren’t ours, and it is weird to have your photos up, and it hurt so much to take them down…. I couldn’t get rid of them. We still have them, I swear we aren’t weirdos, but it runs deep little girl I never met.
I’ll never forgetting meeting our little tiny one who took your place and fit so perfectly. Our little one captured our whole hearts completely but I knew in that moment you would still forever live there as well. I won’t forget how I refused to pass down the clothes I bought for you, but it hurt me too much to put them on her when she was the right size. You were an individual to us, you were ours too; even if only for a while.
I have no idea who you are. I don’t know if you are sassy or sweet, my assumption is like most kids it is a little of both. I hope your birthday is everything that makes you feel happy. I hope you have treats and surrounded by family and friends and above all that you are loved to bits. I continue to live in constant wonder of ‘what if’ and also utter thankfulness for the role you played in our personal “Jonah and the big fish” story.
*This was written for my own sanity on the birthday of a little girl we had an informal adoption referral for years ago. If anyone was to hack my site you might find a few posts that were simply written as therapy, but never meant to be published. (please don’t hack my site) I hadn’t planned on publishing it. I scrolled through facebook the other day and saw someone post something similar to this (not exactly, but enough) that I thought it might actually be relevant.