To my Wesley on your very first Birthday in a FAMILY!
Son (it gives me great joy to call you that!), you have brightened our days and already begun to teach us new things about people's abilities and strengths. You make us laugh and you drive us crazy :) Everything a little SIX year old boy should do for his parents!!
When we first laid eyes on you our hearts were touched and we began praying that God would bring you a family. One family loved you enough to provide the financial means for another to do it, and we praised God for that!! We knew your time was short and prayed and searched for someone for you. MANY people did! You touched hearts that you and I will never know about!
Then, there was your Daddy. He came and said "he just needs someone that can get TO him, and to raise him. That shouldn't be so hard to find." It wasn't long before he then said "Why not us?" We were conflicted because of our large family already... whether it was feasible to really go get you. We knew that we could take care of you and there was no question that we could wholly love you.
One morning we went to church and asked God to speak to us through the sermon or through another church member. We hadn't told many people that you were on our hearts because we knew the reactions would be very mixed and we needed consult only from a few trusted friends and family members (who we did share and ask them to pray).
During the church service Pastor Richard said this: "Some of you will leave this service and have to make a decision about something big. The answer that you're looking for is that you need to take the narrow path, the hard path. The wide path isn't the one for you." Ok-- so that's the jist of it... I have the actual words written elsewhere in this blog but that's the general idea.
That someone was us.
We came home, prayed, and then wrote an email to commit to your adoption. We'd already called our social worker. We'd already contacted people to care for our other kids during travel. Now the paper chase began.
In 6 short weeks God brought our dossier together and the paper pregnancy was coming to a close. I left for the mission trip to Ukraine to minister to birth families raising kids just like you and our 3 other little sweet Ukrainian kiddos. The amazing events that began at the very onset of that trip- before I even left the Orlando airport- brought us so much more confirmation that you were meant to be a part of our family. God was using our obedience to say YES to you to also bring your sister home. I won't tell her story here, because today's all about YOU! But you were the beginning, the catalyst, that brought her home too!
On September 19th I got to see your face for the first time and hold you in my arms! I learned for the first time that the news about your bad vision might have some bearing. I still didn't believe you were completely blind, or even as significantly impacted as you are, and I'm very glad I didn't know. Not because you wouldn't have come home... no, you were ours as soon as God confirmed it! No, because I would have worried so much more about how we would all adjust to the difficulties that were coming for us, for you. I would have wondered how we'd cope. But without knowing that you couldn't see... you were "just Wesley." Sweet happy little boy with only 'issues' that we were "comfortable" with.
Today, knowing that you don't see me in a clear way ... knowing that we have an added thing to overcome and to learn about... I'm 100% ok with it. Why? Because I already know you, and I already love you unconditionally.
I wonder, today, if it has been a very rough day for a mother in Ukraine. The one that carried you in her womb and who dreamed of being your mother. The one without a husband to name, without the knowledge that we have about people with disabilities. The one who went home from the hospital and probably told her friends and family that you had died. The one who, on this day, may be remembering the tiny and sick little baby that she walked away from.
Wesley, you were born by a mother who probably loved you before you were even born. She was likely scared when you arrived 10 weeks early and when you came out blue and not breathing. She, no doubt, grieved you as if you had died- because to her you had... and she was told in no uncertain terms (as were the orphanage workers) that you would be dead within a matter of a few weeks. But you were a survivor! And God placed you in her womb knowing that you would one day be our son. God planned your days out for your benefit and ours, and we are blessed by His great plan and that he entrusted us with you!
When I picked you up from the orphanage in Ukraine, a new life began for both of us. I was now your mom. You were now my son. I loved you so much, and you weren't quite sure who I was or why I'd taken you. You were waiting to go back to the orphanage, back to familiar, back to your safe place where you'd lived for almost 6 years. But instead you had me. You didn't know where you were headed after this next birthday, or that the future for you was nonexistant once you were transferred out of the baby house. You didn't know what the inside of the awful mental institution that you were set to be transferred looked like. I hope you never knew what it was to be tied to your bed or to go days without food. For you, I tool you out of everything you'd known and loved. For me, I kept you from danger and from pain and eventually death.
When our two realities collided we both had to adjust! You're learning what a mom and dad are, and what it means to be in a family! I'm learning who YOU are. Specifically. Purposefully.
"Just one of the guys" your bib said yesterday! I love that saying, because I do believe that as you learn and grow, you'll become "just one of the guys" as you blend in to our family, community, and your own new friendships that you'll form! But you have a purpose, you, specifically, and you will always be special in your very own ways which we are learning about day by day.
As we, together embrace this next year... as son, as mom, as dad, as family, with LOVE, I can't wait to see the great things that we have to learn about you and the great things that you will teach us.
I love you, Wesley Thomas! Happy 6th birthday my son!