Not flesh of my flesh
nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Year Ago Yesterday...

...Gabriella was still living in Guatemala and celebrating her first birthday with her foster family. Her first birthday was bittersweet because I was happy that her foster family, who loved (and loves) her so much, got to celebrate it with her, but I was angry and depressed that she was not home with her forever family for this big day. I was at one of the lowest places in my life. My mother and I had just come back from our fifth visit trip only a month prior to her birthday and I was praying that that would be the final time that I would have to leave my precious child behind in Guatemala. I had visited her five times while we were waiting for her and my love for Gabriella was immense; I felt like she was being "held hostage" in another country. Sounds harsh, but that was how I was feeling. I had expected that she would be home by her first birthday, but it felt like we kept hitting snags (in hindsight, though, they really were only minor snags that felt major at the time!). At that point we were at the place in the process in which Gabriella was already a Draper and we were counting down the days in which we could travel to bring her home forever.

These are the photos from her first birthday party in Guatemala:

Foster Mother Norma and Gabriella:
Gabriella, Daniel, and wife Sandy (Sandy is Norma's daughter):
Gabriella and Daniel ("Naniel" as she calls him currently). Daniel loves Gabriella as if she were his own daughter and he still refers to Gabriella as his daughter.:
Gabriella, Daniel, Norma's Mother, and Gabriella's "foster brother" Evan. Evan was being loved by the same foster family and was adopted by a wonderful family in South Carolina.:
Gabriella, Sandy, and her Dora piƱata:
Norma's Mother (Sandy's Grandmother), Daniel's Grandmother, and Gabriella:
Gabriella's 1st Birthday Cake:
Singing the equivalent to "Happy Birthday":
Opening her birthday presents:
I am so thankful that I have these photos and was able to share in these memories through the photos, but, boy, was I down in the dumps that we were not having this party for her here in the United States. This is why I am celebrating her second birthday with her to the max!

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