Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Zoya! and a Letter to The Birthday Girl

Today is Zoya's second birthday! Her first birthday that will actually be celebrated though! Zoya and I have big plans to go shopping and out to lunch together just like a momma and daughter should on her most special birthday yet! The big party is on Saturday and we have lots of fun planned!

I can't help but wonder about Zoya's birth mom and wonder if she has had even a passing thought of Zoya, or if she is distressed today wondering about the child she gave birth to two years ago. Wondering if she is even alive, happy, cared for.  I wish I could tell her that Zoya wants for nothing. That she is loved more than she can imagine. That she is happy. That she is learning so much. That she is the light of our lives. That she has changed us and so many others. I wish I could tell her thank you for giving us this precious gift. I wish I could tell her how beautiful Zoya is. I wish I could tell her that what she may have viewed as a mistake, a curse, or a sad story, has turned into a story that hundreds, maybe even thousands of people, have been a part of and have been changed by. I know that two years ago today, when Zoya was born, it was tragic in one way or another for her birth mother. How could it not be? So today as we have so much to celebrate on Zoya's second birthday, I pray for her birth mother. I simply pray for her because I have no idea what her feelings are, if she's struggling, or if it is just another day for her.

I am also reminded that today marks what would have been half of Zoya's life.  Had she remained in the orphanage she would have already lived half of her life expectancy, at two years old, now that is just devastatingly sad. Children with special needs in orphanages in Eastern Europe are only kept at the baby house (orphanage) until they are 4 years old. On or around their fourth birthday they are transferred to a mental institution, an insane asylum, basically....a prison where 95% of them die within the first year due to lack of care and love. It turns my stomach to think this could have easily been Zoya's fate and actually WILL BE the fate of so many helpless children. Looking at the child Zoya is today (knowing fully that she will blossom even more in the days and weeks and years to come) and allowing myself to wonder about what her life would be like if she were still there...well that just about rips my heart out. To remind myself that if we didn't follow God's calling we would never even know about her.  She would be laying in her crib waiting to die, never having known love. Thankfully that is not the outcome for her. Thankfully her story ended happily and we will celebrate her life and the two years she has lived....fighting, surviving, and finally finding the love she has always deserved.

Dear Zoya,

Happy birthday to my precious angel. This is your first birthday with a family who loves you. You have so much to celebrate this year. You have no idea how much you have blessed your Daddy and I by becoming our daughter. You are the child we never knew we always wanted and needed. You have taught us so much in the short time we have been your parents. You have made us better people. You have reminded us of the important things in life. You have helped us to laugh a lot more and find joy in life's simplest pleasures. You are beautiful inside and out. Your gorgeous soulful blue eyes have seen so much in your two years....more than they should have had to, but better days are ahead. When I look into your eyes I see a child who is a fighter. A child who has experienced way too much for only being alive for two years, but a child who, somehow, does not hold a grudge against everything that has happened to her. I see a child who always thinks of her glass as half full. I see a child who is wise beyond her years, a child who knows how to live and love with her whole heart, without holding back. You have inspired me to forgive, to laugh, to be thankful, to stop taking things for granted, and to love without holding back one ounce. You have accomplished more in your short time here than I have in all of my years. I wish I could be more like you my precious daughter. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for changing me forever. I hope you always know how much I love you and how valued you are in this family and in this world. Happy 2nd Birthday, I love you!



  1. Happy Birthday precious Zoya! Yes, you and your mom have blessed us all with your story and we will always hold such a fond place in our hearts for led us to Sofia...thank you Zoya!

  2. Happy Birthday sweet Zoya. So glad you got to spend your special day with your mommy and daddy who love you so much. Loved the touching letter you wrote to Zoya. She is one blessed little girl!


  3. Happy Birthday Zoya!!!! Amazing letter - Breathtaking - no dry eyes here!!!!!

  4. Sarah,
    I have never met any other person that can capsure the way they feel (I feel) and put those feelings into words like you can. I am living this dream with, and still, everytime I read your blogs, Iam in tears. I am the luckiest man to have had God bring you into my life, to go on this journey with me, and to allow me to experience the love that Zoya brings to us. I thank God everyday for you and for Zoya, and Mya (can't forget her). Again, MY words cannot express how happy I am...I am thinking thats partly why God knew I needed you. You have enough love in your words for the both of us. I love you.


  5. Sarah, I have not cried this hard in longer than I can remember...your words, your feelings, your faith, your is an inspiration to all of us. I feel grateful to know you and Shawn and precious angel Zoya. You have changed my life along with so many others. Happy Day to all of you that love Zoya whether here or far away...!
    Love, Liz(your lucky neighbor)

  6. Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday dear ZOYA!!!!
    Happy Birthday to you!

    I hope you have an AH-MAZE-ING 2nd Birthday. Make Mommy and daddy spoil you. Be blessed!!!

    Congrats Sarah and Shawn!

  7. Happy Birthday sweety sweet Zoya!

  8. Happy Birthday Zoya! Today is a first of many many Happy Birthday's to come!
    Sarah and Shawn thank you for sharing your journey to one little amazing girl, God has truly directed your path in bring home one of his most chosen children.

    Hugs : )


  9. Happy Birthday beautiful girl!!!!

    Now I must go cry over the sweetness of the above post!-

  10. Oh my, crying again - amazing comment from Dad!

  11. Happy, happy birthday Zoya! God gave you the best parents in the whole wide world!

    Sarah and Shawn, God called you and you were obedient and followed. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter.

  12. Happy Birthday precious Zoya!!

    So there has been so many postings of yours I have read and shed many tears as I have read them- feeling touched by the words you have to say. You have been such an inspiration and encouragement & I have so much enjoyed following along your journey.

    Although we've never met you all I feel like we know you & precious Zoya. We can see the ray of light & joy she is to this world through the stories & pictures you share.

    Thank you for being a blessing & encouragement to us & helping us see & experience things as we prepare to bring our precious girl home!!

  13. Greetings from Virginia!

    Say it isn't so.... I was wondering just which day was her birthday this past week.....

    Gosh darn if it isn't the same day as Izzy's birthday.

    How fun is that.

    Happy birthday sweet girl!