My Dearest A,
Your birthday was yesterday and I couldn't quite bring myself to write this. How it hurts me to write yet another birthday post for you...another year gone by when I had such high hopes that the last time I wrote a birthday post would be the final one with you not home. Alas, sometimes things do not go as planned, and here we sit...separated by oceans and governments and oodles of paperwork. I have tried, believe me I have done all that was humanly possible to get you and your sister home and I will continue to do all I can to fight for you to have the family you always should have had.
You are 11 now, and it is impossible for me not to think of all the time that has passed, of all the memories that have not been shared. I know that when the day finally comes and we are together as a family, all of that will quickly fall away, but for the moment it feels as if I am losing more and more of your childhood, and I grieve that. I wonder if you too think such things...
I hesitate to even write "It won't be long now", but that is my hope, that in a mere 2 or 3 months we will finally be at the doorstep of the orphanage. I can't promise it, but I can hope it with all my might.
You are changing, you are growing from a child into a pre-teen, and you are so beautiful!! Your love and care for your sister warms my heart and gives me a glimpse of the wonderful person you are. I wish I had learned more about what this year was like for you, of all the things you have done and learned since your 10th birthday. I wonder about the little things...are you doing well in school, are you playing soccer or basketball, who are your best friends and what qualities in them draw you to them. To know so little, and yet feel so connected on an inexplicable level is unusual and defies all logic.
I wish for you this year an end to institutionalization and a new beginning. I wish for you 3 new brothers, a mommy and a daddy. I guess, what I am really saying is that I wish for you to hold on to hope.
I know it sounds silly to say that our house feels empty without you and your sister, after all, how can that be with 3 busy boys in our lives? But a couple of someones are missing, and we all know it. A bedrooms sits waiting to be painted a bright and cheery color, a pair of pants with embroidered rainbows sits folded in a bag, and 5 year old photos are still thumbtacked to the bulletin board.
I love you, I always have and I always will. I won't quit trying, no matter what. For I AM your mommy, and mommy's don't quit. Ever. How I wish you could feel that and internalize that, and use it to carry you forth as you wait.
My amazing, resilient, protective daughter, how proud I am of you and who you are. How I would have loved to have baked a cake here at home yesterday, the LaJoy Family traditional chocolate with sprinkles on top and hidden toothpicks to wish upon. I keep telling myself that NEXT year I'll have the privilege.
So I will end this message to you, which you will hopefully read one day in English long after the stress of arriving here and assimilating into your new home will have long diminished. May you know then how deeply you were loved long before you ever came home, and may you feel our love even at this very moment.
May we soon be united as forever mommy and daughter. Happy Birthday, sweetheart...you are not forgotten.