I’ve known you for 25 days, yet you’ve been alive for 730 days. In those 25 days I’ve known you, we’ve done some life together, son.
Strange foods, first steps, embassy lines, airport floors, the longest journey of both of our lives, stares from others, plenty of tickles, teaching you to wrestle, and watching you learn to trust. In these first 25 days, I’ve seen you learn to smile, dance, play piano, hug a brother, enjoy air conditioning, scowl at American food, sigh in relief awakening in your home, and doing some serious bonding to your one-in-a-million Mommy. I see the love in your eyes for her. You get that honest from your Daddy and brother.
I’m so proud of you. On this second birthday of yours, I am so very proud to be your Daddy. You are such a strong, resilient child. You could have quit a long time ago. Sorrow, disease, or malnourishment took other children around you. But not you, Eli Botela Agnew. You were too determined. Too focused. Too resilient.
Many circumstances didn’t give you much a chance, but Jesus did.
Today, we celebrate God’s precious gift of you to our family. While it is your second birthday, it will be the first you celebrate. First piece of cake, first gift to open, and first time when people simply celebrate you. While Mommy and I missed out on the first 705 days of your life, we promise to make up for it. We are going to give you extra hugs, tickles, kisses, rubs, smiles, winks, and more attention, focus, and love that you can possibly imagine. Life did not start out easy for you, but God had plans for you, young one. He wasn’t through with you yet.
While adoption will forever be a part of your history, it is not your identity. You are an Agnew through and through. We see that more and more everyday. Never again will you have to fear being abandoned, isolated, or left destitute. You are home now. You have a family. And we are going to do everything in our power to show you the reason you were rescued is the same reason we were – Jesus.
So on this day, while we wish you happy birthday, excuse Mommy and me if we also spend some time celebrating Him. Because without Jesus, none of us would know what it was like to finally come home.
I love you, Eli. Happy Birthday. Here’s to me never missing another birthday of yours again.