Thursday, October 27, 2011

Evangeline is five years old today! Thoughts about five years.

Today is Evangeline's birthday. She has officially joined her sister Polly in the five-year-old club.

This morning I sent Evie's favorite treat to school with her to share with her classmates: mini-Hershey chocolate bars :). Before she woke up I hung the Marchenko family birthday sign up for her in the dining room, and each time her three sisters woke up today the first thing they said was, "today is Evie's birthday! Yeah Evie!"Evangeline has been home with us a little over two years so this is her third birthday with us.

In the last two years I've had mixed emotions about Evie's birthday. This year is no different. I woke up today wondering about her birth mom. Is she thinking of Evangeline? Does she go over the day she gave birth five years ago, recalling every detail? Does she remember the moment she decided to sever her parenting rights? Does she think of it all with sadness, or hope, or confusion?

Don't get me wrong. I cannot judge Evie's birth mom. I was not in her shoes. There is no way I can know what she was thinking or feeling when she had Evangeline.

I am just glad that she had her. And I am glad that I get to share in the privilege of being Evie's mother with the woman who grew her in her womb.

Sometimes at the park while Evangeline is swinging, another mother will ask me about her.

"How old is your daughter?"

"She's almost five," I say, and the mother may look at me out the corner of her eye, because Evie more so resembles a two-year-old with her cute, tiny gymnast legs that still house baby pudge. And she doesn't talk. She still doesn't really sign. She's short and little. How can she be five?

When people ask me how old Evangeline is, I consider just lying and saying she is two. That way everything about Evie will be more appropriate and comfortable for all involved.

But today I am thinking about the number five. Evie has been alive five years. And they were hard earned years: two-and-a-half  in an orphanage in Ukraine and the rest with us here in the States. Evie has survived more in her little life than I can ever fathom.

And yet, she has a smile for me today of all days, on her birthday.

So I say happy FIFTH birthday to my youngest daughter. Congratulations, honey. You've come so far. And I can't wait to see what God has for you next.

(And stay tuned for birthday party pictures in the next few days :).


  1. Oh my - tears!! So beautiful. I can only imagine the feelings you must have when people look at her and assess her "5-ness" and try to put it all together. Thanks for being honest about all your "mixed" feelings. It helps. What does it help? Lots of things... gives permission to so many people to have "mixed" feelings about things that people expect you to feel just positively (or negatively) about.... so thanks Gillian.

  2. gill, I go through the same thing with mayson when it comes to the questions.. she is tiny...she is closer to 6 now than 5. the looks i get when i tell then she is 5....sigh, but i wouldnt have her any other way!! Evie is so lucky to have you and you have done such a great job with her. I hope she has the best birthday day yet! love ya!

    Amy Flege

  3. What a blessing she is. Happy birthday to your Evie from my family. :)

  4. I just saw your post on the EFCA special needs FB page and as a mom of a 4 year old boy with DS, I am so encouraged by your parenting choice and your strong faith! Keep up the great work and thanks for this great network of resources!
    Regina Robinson, Boston MA

  5. Thank you Joy, your words are so encouraging!

    Amy, thanks for identifying with me.

    Burkalater, THANK YOU!

    And Regina, so nice to 'meet' you. I am very excited about the EFCA Special Needs Network b/c I get to meet people like you.

    God bless!

  6. Happy Birthday, Sweet Evangeline. Prayers for her today.

  7. I cannot believe Evie is 5! Happy Birthday, sweet girl! Wow! She looks so beautiful and happy!


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