The other day I was looking through old photos to put in a scrapbook when I ran across this one from a few summers back. This was taken the week that Grandma and Papa came with your dad's aunt and uncle. They stopped by to see us on their RV trip to the east coast. The photos from this day are part of a long line of simple every day type memories of family and friends before you joined our family. Normally I have no emotional issues connected to remembering back to our life before you joined us, it's kind of fun to show you what we did and what we were like before you were ours. But this time was different. When I see this picture of your brother and sisters happily smiling for the camera with people they love the grief washes over me like the pounding ocean waves.
Not all of my kids are in this one. One of my babies was far away, beyond the reach of my loving arms. I can't help but ask, Why didn't God let you be with us on this fun day? Why were you alone and sad in the orphanage instead of holding Grandma's hand like you should be? Why didn't you join our family in time to get to know your Papa before he died? You would have loved him.
I get that God's plan for you was (and still is) perfect. Everything in me clings to the understanding that you needed to bake a little longer in Russia in order for you to become who God needed you to be. But even with that understanding I can't help the flood of raw emotion I experience when I think about you missing out on sharing sweet moments from my past.
I need you to know that the pain from your story doesn't stop with you. You aren't the only one who cried in the night because the ones you loved weren't there for you. It honestly breaks my heart that I missed 7 years if your life. Your sweet baby sounds, your funny toddler walk, the curious preschool years. I mourn for all of those stages that you went through that I wasn't a part of. It also breaks my heart that I have 7 years worth of photos that you should be in, but aren't. The photos we have with friends and family members who have passed away before you joined us. The vacations we took to far away places without you. The happy everyday photos of us hanging out at home enjoying life together.
I so want to grab a magic eraser and scrub out all the painful memories from your past and replace them with the ones in our old scrapbooks. But I know if I do that then I"ll be cheapening the perfect plan God has for you. The beautiful story that is uniquely yours. So cling to your story and cling to your memories. I'm sorry that your memories are different than mine, but I'm so very glad that we can move forward together making a world of new memories together as we go.
I love you forever,