We are going back in time a few months so you can share in celebrating Little One’s birthday. She woke up bright and early to a doughnut cake. She happily gobbled up her doughnuts, apples slices, and cheese (We have to have a little protein with our sugar.). She quickly realized and loved that the day was all about her.
Of course, we had to go right from doughnuts to opening presents. When I first sat her down in her little green chair, she was immediately mesmerized by the balloons and didn’t even look at her pile of presents. We thought at first that she didn’t know what presents were. How many times had her birthday been celebrated before? We know it was celebrated at least once while she was in her orphanage’s foster home, because we have seen pictures. Since we sponsored her, we were able to send a care package for that birthday, so she’d even received presents from us, too. Did she remember, though? This time, she was celebrating at home with her forever family…priceless.
Admittedly, I bought most of her presents with a purpose in mind. She received a magnet easel so she could practice reaching, pinching, and placing. She got new books because she loves to read and a new purse because she wants to be like momma. Amazon hooked us up with peanut balls, a toy they use at physical therapy to work on balance and core strength. She loves them, though. Since we weren’t sure of the size she would need, I ordered two, much to the delight of her older siblings. What was I thinking?
We wound our day down with dinner at our local Chinese restaurant (Chad is a regular, so they make him special dishes. And, when we take the kids on their birthdays, they get FREE dumplings! Yes, please!). K requested chocolate cake with chocolate icing for her birthday cake, so we all indulged right before bedtime!
She had a fantastic day, smiling and giggling the whole time. What a joy and privilege to celebrate with her and tell her how thankful we are that God made her. Likewise, the very fact that she has life is a miracle. How we were gifted with her, God only knows. She is a treasure.
Once upon a time, in a country far away, another woman gave birth to Kristiana. We actually have no idea what day, what month, or what year that was. She was not relinquished as a newborn like most Chinese orphans are, but as an older toddler. Chad and I have studied her pictures and tried to figure out how old she could have been. There were several different birthdates in her paperwork, one putting her at age SEVEN! There is no way she is seven, but how old is she?
Below are the first pictures we saw of K. In the first, the empty look in her eyes broke our hearts. In the second, just try to guess how old she was: 18 months? 2 years? 4? Who knows?
Based on the birthdate assigned by *hina, she turned five on her birthday, meaning she would start kindergarten in the fall. This momma was definitely not ready for that, and neither was Kristiana. The doubts about her being five were numerous, so we decided to do a bone age scan to see if a more accurate age could be determined. The results…she is 1 1/2 years YOUNGER than her current legal age (putting her at 3 1/2, not 5)! However, the results of the bone age scan must be taken with a grain of salt. Being institutionalized and poor nutrition can lead to younger scan results, as can having cerebral palsy and being petite in general. Not to mention the fact that, to determine an age, the radiologist compared K’s bone scans to that of children from the United States in the 1950s! So, we petitioned the court to move her birthdate by one year and not a year and a half, and our request was granted. She still shares a birthday with her Mimi, so we are thrilled about that.
At times, not knowing when she was born really bothered me. Our other children bombard us with questions about their births and we can answer with too much information. I can tell MaeMae what the weather was like the day she was born (the actual temperature), but with K, I can’t even tell her the season. Is her legal age even close? How many years of life has she experienced? What did she experience in those years (or year) with her biological family and in the foster home at the orphanage? We will never know and she may never tell us.
The only solace in the uncertainty is our Heavenly Father. Long before I knew Kristiana existed, long before I first caught a glimpse of her face, long before she was even formed, He knew her. He gave her life and a purpose. He placed all those hairs on her little round head, and formed her big, almond eyes, and drew out her long, slender fingers and toes. He put His love in her heart and told her she worth it all.
Her birthday will roll around again this year. She will be more ready for hers after watching Mama, Baba, and all her siblings have cake, open presents, and celebrate. Indeed, we will celebrate her each and every year, each and every day, and thank the Lord she was born.