This Little Light of Mine

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Melissa!

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”  Jeremiah 1:5

So we had all the makings for a special celebration of Melissa's 1st birthday.  Pink table covering, banner, balloons, crepe paper, presents, cake and family.   Melissa's WHOLE family (except for Momma Kristina who we missed very much).  For such a tiny creature, the Lord has used to her to bring together a broad menagerie of people who love her as their own.  Even Melissa's own mother who carried her through the loss of everything worldly she knew last year in the earthquake was able to travel many miles on foot to join the celebration.
We visited and got a good chance to take in the joy of the occasion.  There was no feeling of tension or discomfort in the room - only the pure joy of life that comes from the grace of God.  Melissa's birth Mom was very quiet but smiled often with a genuine smile of happiness.

With Wilna interpreting, Chrismon (purely phonetic on her name but I believe that is what she said) and I got to talk a lot.  Names have always been important to me which is why keeping her name Melissa in the adoption was never under question.  I asked Mom how she got her name.  "Melissa" was the name of a close friend or Godmother of sorts.  Melissa had no given middle name.  I asked Mom if she would be okay with us giving her the full name of "Melissa Hope Chapman".  She answered in Kreyol and Wilna began laughing.  I inquired as to what she had said and apparently Mom was asking for Dad's name (Myrtil) to be taken off Melissa as quickly as we could. 

We looked at the photo album I had brought with pictures of each of her blanc (white) family members and recorded voices that played with the pictures.  The smiles said it all.  Mom repeatedly would say that she was not Melissa's Mom and that I was.  My response was clear and without hesitation.

NO!  WE are BOTH her mothers.

The Lord wove this story with each person as a very important link in Melissa's life and His story.  We would not have Melissa if SHE had not been courageous enough to carry her during pregnancy and all the trauma of the earthquake, cared for Melissa to her fullest abilities and then in a last sacrifical offering left her to receive the care and love the Lord was preparing for her.  Her role as Melissa's mother should and will be a part of Melissa's story.  The Lord has filled my heart and my husband's heart with an incredible peace regarding Chrismon's presence in Melissa's life.  There is no fear or question.  Just peace.  This is God's will and we feel it. 

I was able to ask about the pregnancy and the day she left Melissa too.  It was always clear to me that Melissa had been loved and cared for as best as could have been.  When we had her that fateful day in September she had no rashes, no evidence of neglect, just malnourished and needing food which is the daily battle of many Haitian children.  Chrismon explained that her mother (Melissa's maternal grandmother) had been killed in the earthquake.  Melissa's biological father threw them and what little she had out of their "home" not long after Melissa was born.  She tried to provide for Melissa but just wasn't able to feed and protect her.  She describes standing in the rain holding her infant daughter the night before she left her and knowing that if she didn't do something drastic she would die in her arms.  So, she found the safest place she knew which was the clinic she had visited with her previously and that is where she left her.  Her mom describes the anguish of that night and how she couldn't breathe.  I can only begin to imagine how completely and utterly heart wrenching that was.  Could any of us sacrifice this way to give up our only child to ensure a better life? 

We only live by a similar sacrifice the Lord made when He gave His only son to ensure our lives.

Chrismon did go on to say that she has been completely overwhelmed with the acceptance and love she has felt since her return.  She truly had been convinced that she would be punished and shunned for her actions.  This was a precious moment for us.  This was the first opportunity that I had snatched up to share the word of God's grace.  We spoke of how it isn't our grace to her, but GOD's unending grace he gives to us all.  We all need it.  We all survive through it.  We all MUST SHARE it. 

Did you hear me???

We ALL must share God's grace!

 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  1 Corinthians 15:10
Another important healing moment was getting to reassure her Mom that nothing she did caused Melissa's health issues.  As a physician, I have frequently listened to mothers who lament in concerns of "what did they do wrong".  A look of relief washed over her face as I explained that nothing she did, the earthquake or her Mom's death had contributed.  It was another healing moment of grace. 

Hmmm...maybe her name should be Melissa Grace?  ;)

So, back to the party.  We sang, ate cake and breathed in the beauty of the moment.  The Lord was with us in that room at the guesthouse and all was right in the world.  If even for that precious moment.

Birthday hat #1.  First enjoyed by my oldest 10 years ago.
(No hoarder comments please!)

Trying out the cake.  She wasn't so sure but liked the icing.  Remember she has no teeth.

Birthday hat #2
How can you resist that toothless grin?

Enjoying her Christmas present from her Aunt Amy while wearing her cross from her JeeJee.

And remember, enjoy every moment the Lord gifts us with!