Erin celebrated her 11th birthday with a slumber party and friends old and new this year. No special themes, just a chance to hang out, have fun, and lose some sleep.
I am not reflecting on today, Aidan’s fifth birthday, in the way I am accustomed to remembering my children’s birthdays. Usually, I think about the hospital stay on the day of their birth, the visitors and doctors, the screaming squishy face that gets gently handed to me, and the solemn quietness at some point where my baby and I just study each other. There is much joy in those memories.
Obviously, I know nothing of Aidan’s birth, except that there were probably no doctors and maybe not even many visitors. There may have been more grief than joy because his birth mom worried how she was going to care for him alone. I do know, from meeting her, that she lost friends that day because many deserted her in her shame of having a child with no husband. Adding a child to her life made her more alone than ever.
I also know it probably wasn’t five years ago today that Aidan was born. Our dentist believes Aidan is at least 6 1/2, maybe even almost 7 years old—the same as Maura. But the adoption specialist says she rarely recommends changing birth dates because children from other countries have so much to catch up on. So Aidan will start Kindergarten in the fall as a 5-year-old/6-year-old, which will not be much different than the rest of his class.
So though Aidan is not actually 5 today, there are two things I am reflecting on today. One is that I do know that exactly one year ago today (which is probably how Aidan got his official birthday), Aidan and Eva’s birth mom did the most unselfish thing any mom could do. She put her two beautiful children’s needs ahead of her own and brought them to the court to ask that they be given to someone who could care for them as she no longer could. There are many other choices she could have made that day, but she chose life for her two children. She had no idea where they would go and had to trust in her God that he would be true to His Word and take care of the fatherless. After our brief conversation with this beautiful lady (through two translators), we could tell that a huge burden had been lifted from her. She finally smiled and knew in her heart that she had made the right decision, and her shame was lifted. She knew that she had made the most courageous decision of her life, and those who shamed her could not take that away from her. She knew that her children would be well taken care of and loved and have a chance in life.
The second reflection is that though it is not Aidan’s actual fifth birthday, it is his first birthday celebration! The first time friends gathered around him, the first time he opened more presents than he could count, the first time he was embarrassed as people sang Happy Birthday to him, and probably the first time he’s had a family who celebrated his birth. I pray we all grow closer and closer together as God works out the sometimes painful, but beautiful, process of grafting us together.
Here are a few pictures of Aidan’s special day:
Life has pretty much gotten away from us, at least when it comes to updating this site. Michael is back at work (after being on sabbatical last fall) and Suzanne is working hard to finish her master’s thesis. Oh—and we have five kids here now. But we did celebrate a milestone today: Eva’s first birthday. Our friend Emmary brought over two of her children, Ella and Eli, to join in some fun with Eva and Aidan. Later this evening, Eva shared her cake with the family. Here are a few photos from the day.