Today, though we're thousands of miles apart, we celebrate your very first birthday with you! It's after 8 pm in China, so you're probably already tucked into bed for the night. We hope it's been a fun day for you! It saddens us that we can't physically be with you on this big day in your life, but we are grateful that you're being so loved and nurtured by your foster parents.
Your first year has been full of challenges and changes. When you were just 20 days old, your birth mother did what she must have felt was best for you and your future, and she placed you in a special place where you would be quickly found and taken into the care of the local orphanage. Though she had to leave you, never doubt that she loved you. It was probably the most difficult decision she's ever made.
At 4 months old, you had surgery to remove the teratoma on your tongue. I can only imagine the discomfort and pain that you experienced during recovery. The hospital was probably the only place you'd been outside of the orphanage, and I'm sure it was a little scary. When you returned, the nannies at the children's welfare institute nursed you back to health. Though you would soon be separated from them, never doubt that they loved you. You were being placed in a home where you could experience family.
Adjusting to new surroundings, new faces, and a new schedule, you began to grow and progress in the foster village. I am sure you grieved a little when you left the familiar faces of the nannies, but you now have a foster mother and father to give you individualized attention and love on you. Though you'll soon leave your home once again and be separated from your foster parents, never doubt that they loved you. They desire for you to be with your "forever" family. I know they will miss you and your beautiful smile.
We still don't know how many more months it will be until we meet you face to face. But when you read this one day, never doubt that we loved you even now. Carter goes into your room everyday and points out your crib, dolls, and books. Your daddy and I stare at your pictures and pray for you daily. We are so anxious to have you in our arms! I tear up every time I think about it.
Baby girl, your first year has been tough. But you are loved beyond measure. God has ordained each step of your difficult journey. Nothing has happened that hasn't been filtered first through His sovereign hands. He loves you infinitely more than anyone on earth ever could, and we hope that one day, you will truly know that.
Today, we celebrate your life. We celebrate the woman who gave life to you. And we celebrate the miracle of adoption. Happy 1st birthday sweet girl! We love you!!!
Mom, Dad, and Carter