This Girl

So this girl turned 9 today!
It was a lovely, low-key celebration with just the grandparents. She got Barbies and Princess Legos and girly clothes and art supplies. She is one happy girl right now.  At the moment, she's up in the girls' room working on her Ariel Lego set. 

This was the first time Gina's ever had a "real" birthday party. She counted down all month. Every. Single. Day. She wanted to be involved in every aspect of watching the cake being made (and sneaking tastes of frosting). She loved choosing her own theme (pink dolphins--yeah...of course, she couldn't pick something that already existed in stores) and blowing up balloons and putting up paper streamers. She got her chocolate cake and her homemade coconut ice cream and her Coca.  And she was surprisingly patient and calm--despite the copious amounts of processed sugar and the plethora of gifts!  At certain points, it seemed like she was really just enjoying the moment. She wasn't in a rush to move onto the next thing. She was content. She got to be the focal point for a whole lot of love, and she was content to just soak it all in.  And as her mama, my heart is happy for her. 

Last year, on this same day, I remember driving through the snow to swimming lessons with tears streaming down my face as I sang this song:

"This is a word to all the ones who feel forgotten but you are not...Oh you are not."

At that stage in our journey, she wasn't yet ours. The last thing we had heard was that CR was trying to split the kids up. We had written a letter to PANI pleading with them to keep them together and allow us to adopt them, but we hadn't heard a word back. I didn't know if they would ever be ours, but I knew that they already felt like mine. So the very thought of Gina spending her birthday in an orphanage was gut-wrenching. I wanted so badly to be able to somehow tell her that she wasn't forgotten. That she was loved. That her life mattered and that God had more for her than pain and disappointment. 

And this year, we got to tell her all of that and more. She's the girl I cried for. The girl who suddenly wasn't legally adoptable just a few short months ago. The girl we fought for. The girl we refused to leave behind.  She's the girl I dreamed about, but she's not that sad little girl with the long black ponytail kicking the dirt. Not anymore. Just like in the song..."we're alive, alive, alive in You."  She's alive. And every day, things in this transition are hard, but every day, I'm amazed at the transformation we've seen in Gina. She was the reason our first agency told us that we could never adopt these very children that God handpicked for us. They said it would be too hard. They said she and Landyn were too close in age. They more-than-implied that it would ruin our lives. 

Yet this is happening more and more regularly. A wonderful friend from church asked me awhile back for a specific prayer request. I said, "Pray for my girls' relationship."  That very week, the girls began choosing to play together for hours.  They started giggling at bedtime and making up silly songs. They started becoming friends. Now they call each other "hermana" when they're playing. I told my friend, "I don't know what you prayed, but it's working!"  She told me she was praying that The Lord would knit their hearts together like David and Jonathan. That's some powerful stuff!  Much more powerful than the condemning words of an agency committee. I'm thankful that Jesus' redemptive power trumps "conventional wisdom" and expert advice anyday!  And I'm thankful for this beautiful 9-year-old girl with pitch-black wavy hair who loves dolphins and the color pink and boots with heels and who asks to listen to the same song every time we get in the car because it's the first song she heard me play on the piano and sing when we were in Costa Rica. Happy 9th birthday, Gina MarĂ­a!  ¡Te amamos mucho!


Post a Comment