Today, this growly, grinning girl turns one! Sometimes, I actually think someone formed a conspiracy to skip a month or two in there somewhere because it can’t literally have been an entire calendar year since this baby came into the world. But they assure me it has & all mamas feel this way. I guess I’m a card-carrying member of the Time Flies Club now (our mascot is a fly; I’m campaigning to get it at least to be animated, but they said I’m new here so just hush).

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Yes, we let her stand on the chair. She has killer balance. & it’s her birthday.

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We celebrated with this family. The Todds.
The family that made it all happen.
The family that made the phonecall & made us parents.
We wouldn’t be here without this family. God bless them. We love y’all.

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Doesn’t she looks just SO happy about her birthday? I promise she was…

Although the delays have caused more waiting then my heart was prepared for, I feel it’s appropriate that she celebrate her first year here in Japan. How many birthdays will she get to have just a few miles down the road from where she was born? (For all I know, it could be tons, but just let me have this…)

As we approach this milestone, my heart is rent in two as I try to hold all of the feelings inside; feelings of joy & accomplishment, excitement & pride in all that she has become & will grow to be, but also the weight of what this day means for another sweet couple who remember this day a little differently…a lot differently. This is the other side of adoption. The side we don’t show to the cameras. The side we don’t talk about. Even now, I hesitate to relate the thoughts that take up space in my mind as I work through the complex emotions of this anniversary. There’s another family who is processing the reverse of these complex emotions; grief at the loss their family has experienced; joy at the outcome of their love-led decision: the best thing for this baby girl. The weight of their sacrifice will be borne through their years, just as it will through ours. We will always be commemorating this day in tandem. A parental parallel held loosely in life, but bound by the strongest cords of love.

How does one even begin to behold such magnitude? I find myself saying with Paul, “And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14) When he penned those words, he was talking about a different kind of love…or maybe the same kind of love?  He was saying that our lives spent spreading the knowledge of Jesus are a Christ-like aroma fragrant to those who are being saved, but quite a different aroma to those who are being lost. To some, the way we live Christ-like lives will seem attractive & full of light, but to others it will seem senseless, naïve or worse.

I’ve seen a little of what he means just in this past year. Some reactions are full of delight & wonder at the story of God’s providence in our family’s lives. Others are critical, skeptical, insensitive; unmoved by the weight of the decision made by both families. And who is sufficient for such things? The answer, as you might have already guessed, is: Not me. Not Oakie. Not us. We stand here by the grace of God alone.  He has softened my heart with an empathy I’ve never before known; He has worked out in us a patience we could never have manufactured; He has led us graciously & slowly, giving us only each day as it comes, requiring of us a soul-deep trust in His goodness & faithfulness. And I feel certain, He has been walking another family through a similar faith-journey.

In the end, I see in our story an echo of The Story. Another Father who lost His child so that we could experience a love we had never known. Another Child who lost His Father so we would never be Fatherless. Another heart-wrenching sacrifice so the ones He loved best could live in the fullness of life.

I pray that within our lives, you sense the aroma of Christ that brings with it true Life. I pray that our cracks will allow His light to shine through all the more; that as the psalmist says, we will be like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18). We are the jars of clay; we are the moon reflecting the sun. It will never be us, but the One who is in us that will be worthy of your praise & adoration. May we only ever be the shadow that points to the substance.

love from Japan,
the Osbornes

P.S. For Skye’s first birthday, we’re asking friends & family to write Skye a letter or note that we will keep for her 18th birthday. Include anything you like; funny stories, advice, wisdom from your life, good knock-knock jokes, examples of handwriting/paper/stamps as those will be obsolete in the next two decades, really anything you’d want her to have as she launches into the world 18 years from now. (There are no degrees of separation here; if you know us, write us! And for the three people reading who don’t know us, but stumbled on this blog in cyberspace, I don’t want you to feel left out. You have good knock-knock jokes too! Write us!)

Mail them all to the following address:

Skye Elizabeth Osborne
c/o Dr. Paul M. Garcia
3612 Edgewood Road
Columbus, GA 31906

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Little Bear!

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