It is the eve of my birthday. Today at school, one of my kiddos guessed I was turning 20, and another said 75. I love the innocence of young children! I was treated to lunch by my coworkers and given many gifts cards, and well wishes. I feel truly blessed to work with such wonderful, caring, supportive people.
Tonight I cuddled with my girls, watching the Food Channel and listening to Mila say "y'all", as she watched Paula Deen cook. (My little one would rather watch the Food channel than cartoons!) Hannah helped drag a laundry tub into the living room. Before bedtime, both girls giggled uncontrollably about something so little, yet so funny. I snuggled up with my husband and watched a movie that he bought for my birthday. Within the evening, I realized (again) that the greatest gifts--birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, or any other holiday are all around me.
That first day we met Hannah, I really thought she would be in need of some surgery for her poor little legs. Two friends; who are very dear to us; after meeting Hannah wondered if she would ever talk, ever walk. And tonight, as she was dragging a laundry tub, singing her heart out, I remembered what a wonderful gift God had given us.
The first day we met Mila, I looked into her eyes, and saw nothing. She was hollow, empty. She made little connection to her surroundings. Every gaze, every sound seemed to take great effort. And tonight, I watched her stand in her stander, "folding laundry", and giggle endlessly when she playfully called her sister "stinky".
My girls are the greatest gifts that anyone could ever give me. To listen to them giggle is one of my favorite things. To know that each of them has experienced family, love, and opportunities in life. I look forward to next year, having four children to love--to be my greatest treasures.
I realize that many would think we are crazy--to take on multiple kiddos with multiple needs. When I hear Mila giggle, I can't help but want to adopt again--to know there is someone out there, waiting for a family. Someone who otherwise would never giggle, never feel the grass between their toes, never feel snowflakes on their cheeks. No birthday gifts, no "Happy Birthday" song, no birthday kisses. Without a family, both our girls would have been sent to an institution. Locked away, both physically and mentally. They would have given up hope. Given up on life. SO many orphan do not live past a year in an institution.
So call me crazy if you will. I am crazy. Crazy in love with my girls. Those girls that without love, would never have flourished the way they have. They are the best birthday gift--ever. I can't wait to open up the next two "packages", bring them home, and add them to greatest gifts!