Monday, January 23, 2017

Three Birthdays, Three Families

Independence at its finest
It's already the 24th in China, and that means it's already Jordan's birthday! He's officially two! And, boy, is he really two. I won't say it's the terrible twos, at least not out loud or commit to it in writing, because while frustrating it's great that he is developing normally! He's asserting his independence more and more every day, and I don't know where he picks up half of the things he's learning but he does. I stopped counting words that he says and uses correctly, because it would occupy the majority of my day, and since he's been using the "two by two" (two word phrases by two years old) for a few months now I am unconcerned about his language skills. His physical strength is improving too--still doesn't exactly leave the ground when he "jumps" or have the upper body strength to pull himself up and out of his crib (not a terrible thing), but I've found he very much lives by the motto "when there's a will, there's a way." And boy, does he ever find a way (and the will) when he needs to.

We aren't doing much to celebrate; first of all, it was just Christmas so he has lots of gifts and toys to play with (and some yet to be opened), and second of all...he's two. He doesn't really understand what his birthday means yet. But, we did get him a few things and we'll be having his favorite Chinese noodles for dinner plus maybe going out to get cake shakes from The Little Raven Creamery...because Mommy isn't baking a birthday cake and cake shakes are awesome. In the meantime, while he's supposed to be napping (yet I can hear him singing and playing with his animals in his crib), I figured I would write a letter--to him, and to whomever is reading, to understand a little more what birthdays mean to us, and to possibly other adoptive families.

Dear Jordan, 

We have loved getting to know you these last seven (almost eight) months! Every day, you amaze us with something new, and we admire and love your silliness, your stubbornness, and your resilience. Those three things, while at times (quite) frustrating to us, will get you pretty far in life, and we can't wait to see how God will turn your little light into a big light for Him. 

But at some point, you'll understand that although you turned two, your previous "birthdays" were celebrated with two other families. We'll do everything in our power to support you and help you remember them, and the sacrifices they made for you in love. 

First pictures we received of J.
Approx. 1 year old. 
Your first birthday was celebrated with your Ayi and your Morning Star brothers and sisters, where the common thread you shared were special warrior hearts. Some of them are no longer with us, but most others of them are home with their forever families. Hopefully, someday we can all get together and meet and talk about your shared experiences. In the meantime, us parents try to stay in touch with you and your siblings--because that's what they were to you--and talk about your milestones and setbacks and adjustments to life with your forever families. We also will never let you forget the amount of people who prayed for you and supported you during your time at MSFH, before we even knew you were ours. 

And of course, we will work even harder to help you understand your actual Birth Day. How you have a birth mother and father on the other side of the world, who, we believe with all of our hearts, gave you a chance at life because they loved you so much--the ultimate sacrifice. Because of your complicated little heart, it's bittersweet, since we know that without them making sure you were found quickly, you would not be with us now. Birthdays are so hard, because we know that they are remembering you and hoping you received the care they so desperately knew you needed, yet if they were able to we know that they would have done everything to keep you with them--because that's what we would have done in their shoes too. 

You'll hear your whole life how beautiful adoption is. 

One month old 
But don't ever forget that adoption is courage, and adoption is loss too; and it's okay to mourn for that loss. We understand, because we are right there with you. It's so hard to put into words that we wouldn't give you up for anything...yet know that others bravely did just that. 

So please remember, and we'll help you until you're old enough to understand, you have three families celebrating and remembering you on your birthday, every year. We believe that God placed you here for a reason, and we will do our absolute best to help you learn and grow and find your purpose, as we promised when you officially became ours. We love you Jordan, and so many others do too.

Jordan, and so many others like him, were given financial and prayer support until they were matched with their forever families. Because of organizations like Morning Star, Jordan, along with many others, was able to receiving his life saving heart surgery through monthly sponsorship and donations. You can check out their website here (and maybe spot a picture of baby J), and if you so feel led to sponsor a child please check out their current Let Hope Shine-China Project. Yet the MSF goes a step further, and has what they call their Love Project. Donations to a project such as this would help families like Jordan's: that they would not have to be faced with the devastating choice of having to give up their child...or just give up. These donations enable Morning Star to come alongside these families, and help pay for life saving surgeries, or medications, or whatever is needed for family preservation.

There are many other organizations such as these, but for obvious reasons, this one is near and dear to our hearts. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on their current kiddos. Of course, if you know of others to sponsor or follow, please do so! The ultimate goal for all of these types of organizations is to provide support for family preservation until there are no more orphans. Thank you for your consideration in supporting these at the very least, in prayer.