These two. Our little birthday buddies. Mikha turns 9 today and Gabby turns 6 tomorrow. So you know there will definitely be lots of celebrating going on at our place this week! Each year on Mikha's birthday I'm emotionally a bit of a mess. We don't know anything about the day Mikha was born other than that he was born in a small village in Ukraine, that his mother was unmarried, and that she had Down syndrome as well. During his first 20 months of life, he had two open heart surgeries with no family to visit him or care for him. He was a "child of the State" in a country that (at that time) had no well-established foster care system and tucked its special needs children away in institutional settings where they would not be seen. It wrecks me to think about it. In fact, I actually spend very little time thinking about it because I can easily be overcome with grief and the burden of knowing that many "Mikhas" are still waiting for families. Many will never experience family. Faces of the children we left behind at Mikha's orphanage will enter my mind randomly, without warning, and I'm instantly leveled with tangible pain. It's too devastating for me to think about most days. But each year, on his birthday, I allow all the feelings.
I allow the feelings to motivate me to talk about it. To talk about adoption. To talk about the "Mikhas" around the world waiting for family. Mikha may have been born on October 22, 2009, but he was born in our hearts the Fall of 2010 when we saw his picture on Reece's Rainbow's advocacy website. In May of 2011 when we held him for the first time, our love for him was cemented and we officially became Mikha's family June 22, 2011. The moment the court decree was signed, I became an adoptive mom, a special needs mom, a mom to a child with food allergies, but most importantly a mom to Mikha. What a humbling, challenging, joy-filled adventure it has been.
Many of you already know this, but I like to share it often. Mikha is a huge part of the reason Simply Nourished exists. It was his food intolerances that set me on the path of learning about food, allergies and health. As Mikha's mom, I had to be his advocate, and that meant educating myself. In the last 7 years I have learned so much--far more than could be squeezed into any one academic program. Most importantly I've learned that it is my responsibility to make the best choices for each of my children--seeing them as individuals with unique DNA, personalities, abilities and needs. While I'm certain there are many who disagree with my choices regarding my children, specifically our healthcare and dietary choices, I hope we can all come to agreement around this--we love our children and we are all doing the best we can with what we know. Caring for little lives is an intense vocation and we need all the support we can get. Our mental, emotional and physical health depends on it! If you're in a season of caring for littles, prioritize connecting. Gather your people. Find a tribe you can fold into. Get connected.
Not sure where to connect? Our Team at Simply Nourished is available to offer an encouraging word, a listening ear, or a helpful resource.
Don't be a stranger :)