Today is the ten year anniversary of our becoming parents. Tonight I continued a tradition began by my mom — of tucking in the birthday child and telling them their birthday story. This year I gave Owen more details than I have in the past about his adoption and how God led us even to the point of deciding to adopt. And about the day exactly ten years ago today when Sarah from the adoption agency came to our Sendai home for a home visit (we were scared silly and I cleaned the upstairs like crazy but she never even went upstairs!). In the car on the way back from the train station I asked her if there was a particular child she had in mind and that was why our application process seemed to be so streamlined. She paused, and then she said, “Well, there was a baby we were thinking of, but we aren’t sure if it’s going to work out.”
Baby Masaru was born with his intestines and organs growing outside of his abdomen. As soon as this discovered, the doctor (at an excellent children’s hospital in Osaka) did immediate surgery, putting everything back in place as much as possible. They didn’t know if he would make it or what the prognosis would be. Sarah wasn’t sure if this would end up working out for us or not.
But on that day – 12/12/02 – God gave us a special love for that little one we had never met. He became ours as soon as he was released from the hospital (about 3 1/2 weeks after birth). And now he is ten years old big. He never needed another surgery (the normal number of surgeries for this condition of gastroscisis is four or five); he never had digestive problems (doctors told us he would likely have projectile vomiting); he has been a healthy, strong, amazing boy who has blessed us in so many ways.
Several weeks ago he and Annie went on a major hike with their school. They all had to make their own rice ball lunch; wear warm clothing under their gym clothes, and hike miles up a mountain. They were going to have lunch at the grounds of a Shinto shrine near the top. The day before, Annie had asked me in the car coming home from school what a shrine is. I explained that many people in Japan go to shrines because they believe that there are gods who will hear them when they ring the bell, clap their hands, etc.
When they came home from school, Owen and Annie told me that all the kids in the whole school lined up to the ring the bell. Except for two. Owen and Annie. I was a bit stunned. I hadn’t told them not to do that (not realizing everyone would be doing it). They knew they were different and they were willing to stand out. I was proud.
We have our hard parenting days, but God has blessed us beyond belief with the four amazing children He has brought to us in unique and wonderful ways. So thankful tonight for ten years of growing up with my son.