My eldest, but seventh child to join our family (yes, she came through immigration AFTER ShyGuy, which technically makes her the seventh child), turned 11 yesterday.  It hasn’t been the easiest of times for her.  I’ve thought a lot lately about what a holy mess I was at 11 and 12 years old and I feel a little like trying to sedate myself to get through the next couple of years.  Then I remind myself that while Giggles and I are alike in a lot of ways, she’s not me.  Thank God.  She has lived through so many things that she has an entire world view that I completely lacked at her age.

She has lost her birth father to a freak illness, then her birth mother to poverty, and came out the other side of this with a completely different family on the other side of the world.  She has been reborn with a completely different name and faith.  She has seen horrors that no one her age, or at any age, should ever have to see.  She is a mystery to me in so many ways, yet she wears her convictions firmly on her sleeve.  You’ll always know right where you stand with Giggles.  In fact, if you peek over the bathroom stall at her during her first week of school in the U.S., she might tell you just where you’re going (that would be hell, and we reminded her that we don’t really believe that.  She did though, and she wasn’t afraid to tell this peeping classmate just that).  She may never live that down.  It was, and still is, so very her.

Everything that she has lived through would make me into the mess that I was at her age.  I was selfish in the very way she deserves to be after having had nothing for so long.  I thought the world revolved around me.  She knows, firsthand, that it doesn’t.  I couldn’t see past my own faux pre-teen melodramatic pain. She not only sees past her own very real emotional pain, but she thinks about all the ways she will prevent this type of pain from happening to other girls like her.  She dreams of fixing in the world in ways I, as an adult, can’t even fathom.

Giggles, I am so proud of you.  You, and all that you’ve accomplished in your 11 (well, maybe 12, birth dates are sketchy in Ghana) short years on this Earth, make you my hero.  I can’t wait to see what you do in the next 11, and for so many more after that.  

who wishes everyone would see the beauty of older child adoption.

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