PAGE # 59
Baby Lily's First Birthday

Happy First Birthday!

I hope that wherever you are in this world you are loved, happy, and healthy.  

Is your birthday cake made of ice cream or did you get the fancier fondant kind, complete with your own little smash cake?  What presents did you receive?  Did you have a party with a super girly party theme?  Or maybe your "final" family is pink-averse and went with some trendy brown owl decorating scheme?  

I imagine you are walking now, if not yet, then very soon.  When I am out and about and notice little girls toddling around, not quite with the hang of it yet, I always look closely at their faces--just checking to see if the universe will grant me that lucky coincidence.

But that is unlikely.  And even if possible (it is of course possible), I'm not sure I could recognize your face now.  It's not like we have the genetic link that would make you stand out as a relative.  And although I study your newborn pictures sometimes, just in case I do come upon you someday, you were still in that snuggly, sleepy baby phase.  Not even the smiling phase yet.  So, it's hard to know whether I could ever know you, now changed.

And Kendra...

She must be thinking of you too today.  I am sure this is a painful day for her.  I hope she will be okay.  I have no doubt that you will be reunited with her someday.  She already has you registered in our state's adoption registry--I have checked.  17 more years to go!

I, on the other hand, don't know if you will even know about your time with us. Ever.  And I don't mean to sound envious of Kendra's potential to be in your life someday; it's simply a fact, a strange twist of fate, that you spent time with us, never to know us.  I doubt your "final" parents even know of our role in your first month of life.

And...I hope your paternal first family finds peace this holiday season.

As for us, we are okay.  And we hope that you are okay too.

Happy First Birthday to the little girl we called Lily, who was first called Holly, and whose cake today probably reads some other name altogether.

I don't know how to reconcile that part at all--that you kept getting renamed, like an object, like living property.

I am sorry that I didn't fight harder to keep the name Holly.  That would have been the right thing to do.  I am not sorry I didn't fight to keep you.  That would've been the wrong thing to do.  It was the hardest choice, but it was the best choice.  Of course, our decision couldn't force other persons to act ethically concerning your fate (or did they?).  But.  We did what we could given the knowledge we had (and didn't have).  

Happy Birthday little girl.

Wishing you a lifetime of love, health, and happiness,


After I finished typing, I selected a birthday cake picture to use for this blog post.  I had just inserted the image when I heard Sara calling me.  She was finally awake after a long afternoon nap.  I lifted her up, hugged her close, and she told me:
"Look over there.  Look at that birthday cake."
She was pointing to the back wall of her bedroom, a wall we have decorated with pictures of flowers and ballerinas.

There is no picture of a birthday cake.  Not even close.


Julie www.aboutourhouse.blogspot.com said...

I hope you are going to share more details about your decision not to adopt Lily. Your story is heart breaking but so eye opening. Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer said...


Yes, I will get to the reason. It's all very complex, plus, I haven't had enough writing time of late. Soon!
Thanks for reading,
Jennifer :)

Obliviously Mommy said...

Shakespeare wrote, "what's in a name?" The fact that she she may not have the same name makes it harder to know if you'll ever see her, very sadly, but it doesn't change her. She will still be as beautiful and loved (hoping very much so) as she would have been with any other name. I'm hoping I'm making sense because my point is please don't beat yourself up over the name. Lily is a beautiful name and even if her "final" parents chose a different name I'm sure its just as beautiful and just as perfect for her:)

Jennifer said...

Hi Obliviously Mommy and thank you for your kind words :)

Myst said...

Beautifully written as always. And sad too. I do hope one day she will be told... there are adoptees who like to know everything and everyone who had a part in their life. Much love xxx

Addison Cooper said...

Your writing is so powerful. Thanks for doing what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Lily.

Jennifer said...

Thank you all for your comments and your time spent reading.
I just finished reading the book, The Light Between Oceans. I have not cried like that in a long, long time. Wow--it is not a book about adoption per se, but given our experience with Lily, I must say that the whole of it reads (at least for me) like a big giant metaphor for adoption (particularly unethical ones or ones where APs are fighting against biological parents).
I am utterly changed having read that novel. Highly recommend.