When we started this processes we had no idea where our third child was. If that child was a boy or girl, whether she was in our country or one far away. If he was a baby or a child. The Lord quickly led us to Korea and as we began wading through the specifics of that country it became a home away from home that we'd never even been too. Our child was there (or soon would be). We were encouraged by the fact that children were eligible for international adoption at an early age, the process moves fairly quickly, and that we'd likely have our child before they were a year old. I never dreamed I'd be going to bed the night before my baby's first birthday with an empty bed upstairs. It's so strange to miss someone you've never met!
As I look back over her first year I don't have the memories that I do with our first two. I have a calendar date of when she met her milestones, but no memories of clapping and jumping around like an idiot when she first smiled or sat up. I viewed her first steps in a photograph where she grinned and eagerly walked between her foster mother and social worker. The reality of what it's going to be like to pull her away from these trusted and loved people is really starting to sink in. Honestly, we're a little nervous about the transition.
I do have one thing from her first year that is a true gift. We know exactly what we were doing and where we were when she was born. She was born on the evening January 10th (very early in the morning here in the states). Normally I would not have been awake at the horrid hour of 4 or 5:00 in the morning. But on January 10, 2010 Phil and I were in Disney World, on bus, preparing for him to run his first marathon (he got to have the pain with this birth!). I love how the Lord works out the little details- I love that we had such a memorable day on her birthday.
Weather permitting (we're being iced in as I type for those of you who are not local), we're planning on having a little dol (Korean first birthday party) tomorrow night complete with a few little gifts for when she gets here. But I thought I give her something tonight. Actually its a regift. Something Phil gave me years ago. Long before we were married. We were actually juniors in high school.
It was around this same time of year and my granddaddy had just died. My grandparents lived in Greenwood and my family had gone up the day before the funeral. Phil and my best buddy, Lauren, came up for the funeral. I was heart broken and desperate to return to school so I wouldn't miss a day and have to talk about why I'd been gone and then fall apart at school. So, I said goodbye to my family, rode home with Phil and Lauren, and spent the night with Lauren's family. We were driving down the two lane highway, my head was leaning against the cold glass, tears were streaming down my face, it was starting to get dark.
Now would be a good time to let those of you who don't know Phil know that he is a sky/space/weather nerd. I mean that in a GREAT way. He is completely amazed by it all- the handiwork of our Father. As a kid he saved money to go back to space camp- he loved it that much. If your ever with him during a good lightning storm- get ready. Each bolt is like the first one he's ever seen- I LOVE IT! If there's bad weather, he's picked up right where my mom left off and I never have to remember to go the store or get away from the windows. He knows what all those weather maps mean. I'm in awe of how this trait was etched in him from the beginning of time- long before we met, long before we married, long before we knew about Eliza Grace. Back to the story.
So as the cotton fields are flashing by in the twilight, Phil takes a hand off the steering wheel and pats me on the leg. He looks into the sky. "Look, he's smiling back at you. . ." I looked up and the only portion of the moon visible was a tiny sliver at the bottom. A small smile- very similar to the one often seen on Granddaddy's face. And that was quite possibly the best gift I've ever received. I have a regular reminder of my granddad (the only one that is no longer with us). I don't necessarily notice each lunar cycle, but each time I do I smile and say a little hello to him.
What in the world does this have to do with Eliza Grace?
The moon is the little smile right now. I noticed it last night as I was loading groceries after fighting the "a snowflake is going to fall from the sky" Kroger crowd.
I've been reading and thinking about ways to incorporate Eliza Grace's birth mom into our lives. We more than likely will never meet her and we don't know a lot about her. Some people light a candle on mother's day or on the child's birthday. But that just doesn't really fit us. Some people write letters and draw pictures and either keep them or send a copy to the agency in case the birth mother ever expresses and interest in the child. I love that idea, but don't want it to be forced and Eliza Grace may not want to do that. I love that the moon is smiling on her first birthday. We now have this to remind us of the wonderful day she came into the world. We can now look at the moon smiling at us and know that it is also smiling on her birth mom. It can serve as a spring board for conversations throughout the year. We'll notice it when we notice it and talk about her when we feel like. I can write what's on my heart all day long, but I'm not so good at talking about important things- or bringing them up. God has known this from the beginning. He knew it the day he made the moon. He created Phil to be small child that was in love with His sky. He pushed Phil's desk next to mine in Algebra in the 8th grade. He hung the smiley moon in the sky on the day of my grandfather's funeral. And brought it back out on my 3rd child's 1st birthday to provide me an eternal opportunity to talk to my daughter about her history! Wow.
So, I know this has been long and there are very few pictures (not something I particularly care for) but I wanted it all down for our family. Stay tuned for pictures from our family's celebration of her big day and hopefully some of her- we should be getting an update soon. In the mean time Google 'Korean Dol'- these parties are insane- it will more than make up for my lack of pictures.
Happy, happy, first birthday, Baby Girl! I'm smiling at you, too!!
(no it's not the actually moon outside right now, a google image will have to do, have you seen the ice out there!?)