Mei Mei turned 2 on June 30th. It was a beautiful day to celebrate our girl, even if the weather wasn't perfectly cooperative.
The cousins swam, we ate burgers and dogs, Grandma Bonnie made her FABLIOUS (Li'l Empress' new word o' the day!) macaroni salad, and we enjoyed a perfect day together. It was awesome to watch her blow out her candles - she knew JUST what to do, as The Boss had his big 45th birthday just a few days earlier.
It was such a treat to introduce her to our family birthday traditions and to make sure that her first birthday home with us was grand and memorable! I loved watching her figure out that the gifts were for HER. That ripping open that paper would bring a fun new surprise guaranteed to make us all "oooh and "aaaah" while she explored it. It was pure joy seeing her new family just wrap her up in all their love and affection and carry her along on the wake of "forever."
But when I had a few moments alone to think and observe the goings' on, I was also a little sad. I watched her giggling and teasing her cousin with her trademark impish grin and wondered what her birth mother was feeling at that same moment. I couldn't escape the thought that her birth family will never know what an amazing, delightful, brilliant child she is. That pierces my heart each and every time I think on it.
While we may never fully know exactly what led them to place her at the orphanage, we certainly understand that her physical needs and health issues might have been the predominant factor in their choice. Culturally and economically speaking, it's likely that they were completely ill-equipped to handle what they knew she likely would need. But it couldn't have been an easy choice for them, knowing what a gorgeous and sweet baby she must have been. The early pictures of her just take my breath away - her perfect little rosebud lips, her long sweeping eyelashes, and those deep onyx eyes. Thinking of it tears me apart - their pain and fear juxtaposed against what I can only (maybe niaveley?) assume was utter joy in looking at their pretty new baby girl. I don't know any of it for sure, obviously, and I can only suppose any of this from my readings and experiences within the adoption community.
I am everlastingly grateful for the choice they made for Mei Mei - the attempts to ensure her safety and well-being, the plan to find security and medical care for their beautiful baby. I pray for their peace of mind and comfort for their hearts often.
I am forever bound to the women who carried my daughters and I don't let myself forget it. My gratitude unspoken makes me hug my daughters a little tighter. Linger a little longer in their sweet snuggles at the end of the day. Love them a little more fiercely than I thought myself capable of doing.
So I joined the celebrations, juggling my mixed feelings. As I also do for all of Li'l Empress's birthdays and milestones. As I will for years to come, I'm sure. And celebrate, I did. For even though the losses are indeed great, the joy is greater. The endlessness of forever promises that.