Friday, February 20, 2009

Dear Ava


Dear Ava,

Five years ago today you blessed the world with your arrival. Of course your dad and I didn't know it at the time. We would both have to wait almost 4 years to find you. I also didn't know at the time how deeply I could fall in love with a little girl born to another mother halfway across the world.

I have found myself awfully teary-eyed today. I keep blaming it on allergies, but I know better. I am thinking about your birth and wondering what it was like to be you and to be your mother in a country where nobody knows what to do with children born with disabilities. I would imagine your mother was very excited about your arrival, she probably labored long and hard for you and couldn't wait to meet you for the first time. She probably grieved to go home without you, and probably is still grieving today.

Sometimes when I think of your mother I feel resentment towards her for leaving you there. Sometimes I wish I could have been the one to carry you and feel you kick me and hold your sweet body seconds after your birth. Many times I feel gratitude that she brought you into the world and she gave you life.

But mostly I feel sympathy towards her, knowing she only did what her doctors instructed her to do and what society expected of her. She didn't know what else to do I'm sure. Mostly I feel sympathy towards her, though, for all that she's missed out on. She never got to see you grin at her and sign "mama", never got to see you stroking your baby doll's eyelids, never got to see how excited you are when your Daddy's truck comes down the road every day after work.

I wish I could tell you everything about your mother, and about your birth. Sadly there is not too much to tell. I know you were born 4 weeks too early, you weighed 4 and 1/2 pounds. Your mother was 30, she was married to your father who was 34. They were educated and both employed. I know her initials were I.G. I'm sorry I don't have a picture or a name.

I did receive a wonderful gift from Miss Kelly this morning though. One that I appreciate more than she could ever know. Miss Kelly, who is the one who held you and told me about you for the first time, sent these pictures of the hospital where you were born. I will treasure these photos always.

I love you my sweet daughter! I am so glad we found each other just in time. Happy Birthday!
Love,
Mom



25 comments:

Bethany said...

Happy birthday sweet girl! Lovely letter Charissa. Sometimes it is hard for me to also wrap my mind around how our girls' mothers could abandon them. But we win in the end, and so do our girls.

And those pics of that hospital are shocking at what little there is!

Christine said...

Sweet post! You are amazing -- the both of you are! Happy birthday Ava!

JKI said...

Aw, great post Charissa! Happy Birthday Miss Ava!

Kelly S

Mandy said...

I'm in tears thinking of what those moments after her birth must have been like for her birth mother - those photos make it so real........ I'm so grateful that your family took her from a place that didn't value her and made her the princess of your home.
BTW you have done an amazing job this past year :)

Christina L said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and the letter. Ava is so lucky to have been found by you. Give her lots of squeezes on her special day.

Marlita said...

Happy Birthday Ava! We are so glad your in our family!

Shelley said...

Happy Birthday Ava!!!
Charissa,
I know the emotions you are going through today, I've struggled through them myself on Xander's last 2 birthdays.

Be on the lookout for an email from me. I have some info for you.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday sweet Ava!!! You are so precious to your Mommy and Daddy and siblings! But, most of all to Jesus!!! Thank you Jesus for Ava!

Susan said...

Happy birthday, Ava! Look how much you've grown and learned and achieved this last wonderful year - and how very many people feel blessed and happy now, just because of you.

Have a wonderful time - eat all the cake and ice cream you like - and may the years ahead be as marvelous for you and your great family as the one you've just completed.

Hope those birthday wishes all come true!

Susan in Ky

Alicia said...

FELICIDADES!!!!!

Pan Cratius said...

This picture painted in words, is why I love you Charissa.

The Monroe 6 said...

WOW!
Very powerful.

Cammie Heflin said...

Happy Birthday Ava!

Traci said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL AVA! Charissa, in the past year as my eyes have been opened to foreign adoption of children with Down syndrome, I found myself getting angry at the parents who leave their babies at the hospital because they are disabled. I did not realize until recently that most parents are forced to leave their disabled children and of course I feel just awful for having bad feelings. It broke my heart to read that the mothers couldn't take their babies home even if they wanted to. It is so sad and unfair that the child has to live in such awful environments and be adopted and moved to another country with new parents, in order to survive.

You are so fortunate to have found beautiful Ava and be able to love her and care for. I thank you and your family for making it all happen. I sure wish we could do it as well.

gillian said...

Happy Birthday Ava!!

Kelly said...

Dear Ava and Charissa, I am so happy to have been blessed to meet you both - and to have witnessed the miracle of your finding each other. Ava, you were always so beautiful and quiet and fragile when I visited you in the orphanage. I worried about you, about your future, about your fragility. I did not know if we would ever find a special family for you. I did not know if your health would hold out. I did not know that on the other side of the world, one of the most loving, open, caring mom and dad would fall in love with you. Your beginnings were humble and probably lonely. I have walked the halls of the hospital where you were born, and the children's hospital where you lived the first several months of your life. Neither of them are places where a baby should be, especially a soul as tender as yours. But God had his hand on you and knew that so many loving people were laying out ahead of you. I am so glad you were born into this world, Ava, and that you were too, Charissa. You're both gifts from God to a world who needs tender souls like Ava's and loving ones like yours.

Jennifer said...

Beautiful letter!!! Wow! What a treasure those pictures are! I'm sure we will never know really anything about our daughter's birth, but as far as I know she and Ava's birthday's are just 1 day apart! Well, and a few years, but still neat! Happy Birthday, Ava!

Shea said...

This is a wonderful letter to have for Ava. She is lucky to have you for a mommmy. I'm sure she will appreciate what you d know of her birth family and treasure her heart mommy forever.

The Loux Family said...

Happy Birthday little Ava! What a beautiful post Charissa! Isn't the Lord amazing, how he weaves our lives together with these little ones of ours, goes to no limits to save and rescue those who've been abandoned and left without anyone to call their own?!
I'm in awe of this precious Jesus we serve. He makes me cry in awe of who He is and how He works on behalf of those who have no hope without Him.

By the way, Derek will not mind at all that you are using his Redemption Post for the class you are teaching. You can use anything you want :).

Hugs, blessings and thanks so much for all your encouraging comments on our blog site.

Renee'

Qadoshyah said...

Happy Birthday Ava and what a beautiful letter!

Stefanie said...

Happy Birthday Ava. What an amazing little girl you are! What an amazing Mommy and Daddy you have! All are so blessed!
Stefanie

Beth said...

Blessings on your birthday Ava! I know you've been a blessing to all of us!

Kelsie said...

Happy birthday Ava!

I love reading every day about you, getting to learn a little more about what your life is like. :-) I loved getting to meet you once, and hold you, and I'm so excited to see what big things you're gonna do in the future!

Melissa said...

You are an amazing person, Charissa! Happy Birthday, Little Miss Ukraine!

Christina said...

Sorry I am late on this! Happy Birthday sweet Ava! You've changed so many lives! Charissa, your amazing!