I knew this day would come. I thought about it over Christmas. Each time I go into the refrigerator, I see the "Big Top Cupcake" that we ordered back in September in preparation for this day. I pulled out all of the "3rd Birthday" signs and balloons that were leftover from Jeremy's Birthday Party. I thought about her on the way to Church. I thought about her all day. I think about her every day.
Today is M's 3rd Birthday. Many of you have wondered since I don't speak of her anymore what happened. It is too painful for us to talk about. We wanted things to go so differently. We wanted to adopt her. More than anything, we wanted to "love" her back to health. But we couldn't. We think about our failures all the time. Many people assure us that it wasn't a failure, that each of us has limits.
I called M. tonight to wish her a Happy Birthday. I was overjoyed when she responded to the sound of my voice and made some cooing noises. My heart was overjoyed when she responded to Eric and to Jeremy. I wonder each day what our lives would be like if she were still here.
As I made the long drive out to Virginia Beach for an event, I thought about how things had gone so wrong. We made some classic rookie mistakes. We went in full steam as soon as we learned that she would likely become adoptable. We went on a mission to "fix" her. We thought that if we surrounded her with the love and attention that she had lacked for the previous 2.5 years, she would get better. Her problems were so severe. No one knew the full extent of her issues, myself included. We took her to evaluations, tests, therapy, social interactions, and family events. We included her in everything. We wanted her and loved her. We were protective of her. She deserved nothing less.
I was disappointed to learn that she still isn't talking or eating. I was disheartened to hear the many different conflicting diagnosises that she has received since leaving us. Her new foster mom is great, but she is quickly realizing the same things that we did. M.will likely never be able to live independantly. She has made little to no progress. Doctors want to wait until she is verbal before evaluating her mental needs. They fail to realize that she will likely never be verbal. It is all very heartbreaking.
On the up side, we are thrilled that she remembered our voices and responded positively. I was thrilled to hear that she received the dress with her name embroidered on it and she wore it to Church on Christmas. I was thrilled to hear that she loves all of the toys that I put on her Christmas list, especially the toy shopping cart and plastic food. I spent hours researching what would be most helpful and appropriate for her levels and I was so happy to hear that she is enjoying everything.
I am fully aware of what we gave up when she left our home, but I also realized that it was affecting our family, especially Jeremy. She brought out some unresolved grief issues and I have to thank her for that. She has brought us closer together and helped to heal our family a little more than had she not been brought into our life. I miss her dearly, but I know that she needed so much more than we could give her.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. You will always have such a special place in our hearts and we look forward to seeing you soon!