We don't know exactly when Mari was born.
In Ethiopia, countless babies are born in mud huts in remote regions of the country. There is no hospital record, no birth certificate, and no yearly celebration. Their ages are usually determined by the seasons and, often, people lose count of the years and have no idea how old they are. Mari was one of those babies.
But exactly one year ago today, when interviewed by the court as she faced the most heartbreaking of decisions, her birth-mother said she was three years old...
"I don't know exactly when she was born, I just know she is three."
So that day, today, became her legal birthday. That day, today, marks another year of life and a year since her birth-mother began a painful journey for the sake of her youngest child. A child whom she misses terribly.
So today we celebrate our sweet daughter's 4th birthday, and the piece of my heart that will forever be in Ethiopia weeps for a woman whose face is forever etched in my memory. I pray she has peace. I pray the Lord mercifully gives her visions of her daughter laughing as she hides from the lit candles that make her more than a bit nervous, then giggling with delight when I helped her blow those scary things out. I pray she sees Mari's wide eyes as she tasted birthday cake for the first time, and the sound of her sweet voice saying "Eh weh de shal lo, Mommy" as she lay her head on her fluffy pillow and snuggled under her warm blankets while cuddling with her favorite baby doll. And I pray that she and her children have all they need and more, that they will be lifted out of poverty and disease and given life and health. I pray along with them that they will live to see her grown.
Thank you, Lord, for this story that is so much bigger, so much more beautiful, than we are. Thank you for allowing our world to become so big through another beautiful pair of deep brown eyes who has lived a lifetime before becoming part of ours. Thank you for protecting Mari's life, for not allowing poverty to take her too soon.
Thank you that she is home to celebrate her 4th birthday...the first of many.
May all of your precious ones who wait be so blessed...