Today I find myself thinking often of two other women. I wonder about those women and I try to piece together a face, an image, an idea of them in my mind. I have a guess, to some extent, about who they might be, what they might be like. There are a lot of holes and a lot of blanks and I find myself struggling with that today, longing to know more, wishing there could be more. Wanting that for Hannah. I am so grateful for these women. Today, I have the privilege of watching Hannah blow out her candles and open her gifts. I get to see her blossom and grow. I get to hug her neck and rock her to sleep. I get to see her suck her thumb as she drifts to sleep, rub her boo boos, and giggle over play doh. I got to read her a book and change her diaper. I am so incredibly blessed, but it isn't without these other two women that I have these gifts of moments with Hannah.
Today, in China, there is a foster mom. She raised Hannah for 15 months of her 24 months on this earth. I know she is thinking of Zhen Zhen today and wondering about her. They don't celebrate birthdays in China with the same fanfare that we do here in America, but I am still certain she is thought of as spring is likely beginning to blossom all around them in Yulin City. To her I say,
Thank you for your sacrifices. You gave your time, your energy, your resources, and even your bed to this little girl. She is well loved here. She is so smart and so quick and we know that she is that way because you helped her, to the best of your abilities, to learn and grow. Thank you for loving her so carefully until we could get to her and preparing her to come to our home. We think of you often and long to know more of you. We wish we had met you while we were in China. We pray for you and that you will be able to open your home to other children.
This woman is in almost all of the photos we received of Hannah from the orphanage. We feel fairly certain this is her foster mother.
Today, in China, there is a birth mom. Two years ago on this day, she felt the pain of labor and brought our Hannah into this world. We will never know the events surrounding Hannah's birth--where she was born, if her mother was alone, or even the details surrounding her decision to abandon Hannah. Honestly, even Hannah's birthday is an approximation, but we feel certain that it is accurate within a few days. There is a birth mom in China who is thinking of the anguish of this week, two years ago. I know her heart is empty and I am sure she has so many questions about her daughter, just as we have so many questions about her. We will never know her. And that is hard. We want to know her. We want to embrace her and cry on her shoulder and thank her for giving our daughter life. To her I say,
Your daughter is safe. She is loved and so truly amazing. I wish I could share with you just how amazing she is. She is brave and smart.....so very smart (I am sure she got that from you). She is so loving and her desire for physical affection and closeness is so precious. I love your daughter. I hold her and rock her to sleep each day and I realize what a gift she is. She is a miracle, so brave, a true warrior. I am sure you worry if she is okay and worry about her cleft lip and palate. We are taking care of her, she is well nourished and she will have her lip repaired soon. She is gorgeous now, but she is going to be stunning once the surgery is complete. I want to tell you that we celebrate her and you this day. She would not be here, blessing us, if it were not for you. Thank you for choosing life. Thank you for making a hard sacrifice when you felt you could not care for her. Thank you for ensuring she was found safely. We will forever talk about you, think about you, pray for you, and relish the daughter you gave to us. We are deeply and abundantly blessed because of you.
A treasured gift! This is our earliest photo of Hannah, taken March 13, 2013, shortly after she was likely born. Just look at that hair!
Birthdays with an adopted child are different, but I am convinced they are just that much more sweet. There is just so much more to celebrate here. So much of God's planting and weaving and planning to place Hannah in our family. I do not doubt, from the moment she entered this world two years ago today, that He intended her for us.
Happy Birthday, sweet Hannah Banana. We love you and we love the women in China who brought you to us.