It is the last day of March, and it is my daughter's birthday.
She is fourteen. We have shared 7 birthdays together. She spent 3 birthdays in an orphanage and 4 birthdays with her foster family in China.
She lost a lot to become ours.
I am never more aware of that than I am on the day of her birth.
I think it could be a sad story, this one that she has to tell. It could be about losing and about mourning and about knowing that you have a biological family somewhere in the world that you have not met and, maybe, never will. It could also be a happy story. One about being found and being loved and settling into a family that will last forever.
But, it's her story to share. At fourteen, she may not be quite sure how she wants it told.
And, while it is true that the books of our lives are now intricately connected, that ours and hers has become simply and beautifully ours, there is still the prologue, the set-up, the beginning that came before our beginning. The time when we were only six, and she was only one.
This is the first glimpse we had of our daughter:
And, the first glimpse she had of her siblings.
We sent the picture to China along with a few others. We sent her a book and we sent her a cake, and she celebrated her 7th birthday with her China family, eating cake and being told that someday soon she would leave everything she loved to be with another family.
An incomprehensible thing for a child who'd started life here:
to have to lose everything to gain something else. It is not surprising that she didn't want to come.
Today, I mentioned that this was her seventh birthday with our family. She had now had the same numbers of birthdays with us that she had had without. The discussion meandered along as it usually does, and I mentioned her first official birthday cake. The one we'd sent. I asked if she remembered telling her China mom that she didn't want to come to America.
She laughed. Just like she always does when I mention it.
Of course she remembers. Just like she remembers that she thought I'd be skinny and blond with fancy clothes and lots of money.
Yeah. That's not quite the person who went to China to get her!
"You lost out on that one, kid," I said, laughing.
She grabbed my hand, and she looked into my eyes.
"You know what, Mom?" she said. "Sometimes we have to lose to win."
Today is the last day of March.
It's my daughter's fourteenth birthday, and she thinks she won when she met me.
I think we both did.
Happy birthday, Cheeky girl! I would lose a million times over if it meant getting to be your mom!