The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2003, Eric and I were beyond excited. We had been trying to give Emmi a brother or a sister for 3 years, and I was finally expecting our second child. We had experienced the first ultrasounds pictures, shown them proudly to family and friends and we began to imagine life as a family of 4. But that dream turned into a nightmare. Our baby went straight to heaven and we said goodbye to this little life on Thanksgiving Day. For this reason Thanksgiving Thursday has been bittersweet each year since then. As we enjoy our family and friends, we also silently mourn the child we were not able to raise here on earth. There are still more questions than answers and a longing to know this child the same way I know all my other children.
This year, the sorrow I felt in 2003 was replaced with equal amount of joy as I met my daughter for the first time on Thankgsgiving Day. As she was placed in my arms, it felt the exact opposite of the day I sat and cried with empty arms. Memories flooded and each one of the sad memories was replaced with a new memory of a Thanksgiving Day miracle that we were witnessing in Africa. It was as if the rips in my heart were being mended with each moment I spent with my sweet little girl. The timing of it all was so perfect, 9 years later I received the restoration I had prayed and hoped would come.
I feared that her disabilities would be too severe, or that I wouldn’t be able to connect with her. I wasn’t sure how Emmi would react to her and if she was ok with the surroundings of a large orphanage. All that doubt and worry went away as my new daughter sat on my lap in her orange dress. My Momma’s heart knew, she was my daughter.
“A” sat on my lap, looked at me with her beautiful crossed eyes and then smiled. She immediately noticed my hair and tried to grab it and pull on it. When I would open her hand so she would let go of my hair, her smile let me know she liked this game. Our first visit was all too short, but she had to go and eat. We said our goodbyes and she disappeared around the corner. Until tomorrow, sweet one.