How in the world are we just a few days away from Brighten's first birthday? In some ways it seems like yesterday that we were packing our car and heading to Texas to meet our daughter. In other ways it feels like Brighten has always been a part of our lives. Jason and I keep joking that we are having a birthday party for Brighten to really celebrate ourselves and the fact that we kept another human alive for a full year :) I joke, but in all seriousness this has been the most sanctifying year of my life.
It's been kind of a bizarre season of life for me. In May, I quit my job at a nonprofit that served kids in care to stay home with Brighten and to start my own consulting business. In June, we found out that we were not going to be able to continue to pursue international adoption in Ethiopia after almost four years in process. Now, I'm learning contentment, which, if I'm honest, is uncomfortable and completely unfamiliar.
What a special day February 7th is to our little family. We were in celebration mode all day long. We went to lunch, got dressed up, and got to go visit the big courthouse where the Judge told us that Brighten is forever ours and we have all rights just as if she'd been born to us.
Dear Brighten, on the night before we finalize your adoption:
I'll admit, I tried to write you a letter then night before you were born. But I just couldn't. There were so many nerves and unknown expectations, I just couldn't fathom putting into words all the ways I was feeling. But now, you've been alive for 137 days, and I've known you just as long. Now, I can begin to put into words how incredible you are, how blessed I am, and how the fact that I get to be your mommy forever brings me nothing but pure joy.
God is so gracious. He continues to provide in the details of our lives and we are so undeserving. Yesterday we found out that there were no referrals this month, so we are still #12 on the waiting list. I have to admit that I felt a little like I'd been been kicked in the gut. We've been praying for a referral by the end of the year, and yesterday made that previously seemingly achievable hope seem less likely. Well, boo. Of course we know that God is not bound by a waiting list, and that all things work together in His timing. We know this, but it's hard.