I tucked her into bed tonight with hugs and prayers. I thanked God for who she is in our family and for the preservation and protection of her life. I thanked Him for allowing her to be my daughter and our sweet yet sassy girl always curious and confident.
This morning I was able to spend time photographing who she is as she moves from three to four. It feels like a big milestone and as I look at the images captured I am aware just how much she is changing and how much she has grown. She is clever, witty and forever social no matter the scene. Ava is a special gift to our family in more ways than I can ever share here.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the day she was born. Her life is a big deal. It was four years ago that her life hung in the balance and circumstances were such that Ava would be placed up for adoption. Yes she did come home to a family who has fallen deeply in love with her but our gain came out of someone elses or perhaps several people’s pain. I never want to forget that.
As I return to Ethiopia and dig deeper into the hardships of vulnerable families in developing nations I have become very mindful of the life or death situations that women and children are often pushed into. I understand more acutely that often there is no alternative or back up plan. Life is just as precious but lack of resources, trust and protection cause people to do things that to you and me might seem unthinkable. I guess what I mean is that adoption has humbled me and taught me such respect for families who struggle. There can be so much pain in the choices they feel forced to make.
Tonight I am praying for the woman across the world who had to do the unthinkable. She carried a precious baby to term, likely delivered her with little or no care, fought to feed her and then realized that relinquishment was perhaps her only option. For me there is still great debate there even though I love and am raising our amazing daughter who came into our lives through the miracle of adoption.
Adoption is a message of hope just as birthdays are a message of renewal. Happy Birthday to our baby girl!