once again, we celebrate a birthday that doesn't come with memories of a midnight trip to the hospital. calin came home from romania a little more than six years ago and today he is 13! at left is the photo we first fell in love with. i was working as a graphic designer for a large adoption agency, and part of my job was to scan thousands of photos of kids for whom the clock was ticking on adoption. having just gotten number four into school full-time, adopting was not at the top of my list. but this photo haunted me all day long, and the day after that, and the day after that ... eventually i brought the idea to the family table, and nine months later D1, and i, and a friend left for timisoara, romania.
this came from his orphanage before we came to get him, but some time after the first thrilling image. i had put together a book with photos of each of us, the dog, the house, the car, etc. a romanian friend wrote the native prose for each page, to match the english i had used. he is sitting on the only bed in the infirmary (where he used to love to hang out because he always got one to one attention from the nurse) with his friend mirel. we later heard that every kid in the orphanage had had a chance to 'read' his book.
here he is with the first love of his life, his social worker, gabi paulet. i think she was the first person in his life to ever treat him with any sort of consistent kindness at all. when we first got there to bring him home, he would look to her for approval before making any kind of move at all. she did a wonderful job of preparing him for adoption- helping him to understand what the concept of family was all about. (it might not sound like a huge thing, but think about explaining this to someone who had NEVER had any experience with it at ALL!) she translated back and forth for all of us, and we have never stopped being thankful for all she did.
the moment we had all been waiting for- homecoming! the incredible love that filled the entire terminal when we stepped off that plane was something that will warm my heart for as long as i live. there were crowds of people that all waited for us to have a little family time before they joined the celebration. here he says hello to his dad for the first time, while two of his four new siblings await their turn for a hug and a kiss. he has brought an immeasurable amount of love and laughter from his side of the world to ours. he has been challenging and entertaining. he is growing up to be someone that i can't wait to get to know. happy, happy, birthday!