For 13 years, birthdays came and went.
I am not certain he knew when his birthday was.
I know he didn't know how old he was.
Last year, in China, we celebrated with Will and for the first time in his 14 years...
he had a birthday cake.
He wasn't quite sure what it all meant but this year...
This year, he understood the cake and the candles and the singing and... the gifts...
especially the gifts...
So, we invited a few very special friends over and we celebrated Will.
There is no way we can make up for the last 14 years of our son's life but with the help of the One who knows Will's past, present and future, we can help him to learn and grow and trust in a forever kind of love.
So as we wish Will a Happy 15th Birthday and a Happy One Year Home Day, here are just a few things that we have learned about our son.
Will loves to laugh and as his grasp of English has grown, so has his sense of humor!
Will learned to navigate our home very quickly and loves to help. He helps to feed the dogs, unload the dishwasher and take out the trash.
Will loves our pets and just like every other kiddo (and adult) in this house, takes great comfort from their presence.
Will may be 15 but he thinks playgrounds are totally "lit" (my daughters are "gringing" as they read this - haha) and has mastered the monkey bars!
Will has inspired many friendships at school with his ability to overcome and have joy in the midst of it all and has been enveloped with so much warmth and compassion.
Will never dreamed he would be able to go to high school...
Will tolerates soccer...
but loves Karate and my treadmill.
Will has an amazing ability to hear and replicate pieces of music and according to his Band teacher, has a very finely tuned ear. He is now playing the trumpet and will audition for the All County Jr. Band in the next few weeks!
Will worries about me and how much I am eating - I am a vegetarian and he is so not!
Will loves to swim and go to the beach but showers are debatable!
Will quickly learned the joys of JuJu's house and exactly where the candy basket is stashed!
Will loves to play the WII and has learned how to set it all up, find the game he wants and play.
Will yearns to be independent, works hard to learn where things are and how to accomplish tasks but resists the cane.
Will loves to cook - and eat!
Will is learning Braille rapidly and loves to read his sentences to me like, "My room is not messy. The girls room is so messy!" Truth! We laughed and laughed!
Will is also learning English so well that the translator hardly ever makes an appearance these days. His latest favorite expression...
"Girls, chill out!"
Yeah buddy, I feel your pain!
Will loves SPICY food and I do mean SPICY!
And despite the lack and the neglect and the harshness he has experienced, Will has a kind and compassionate heart and we pray that he is beginning to understand the truth behind the feelings and what it all means.
How could we have known...
If we had known would we have resisted the incredulous plan laid out before us?
Would we have rejected the hard, the uncomfortable, the trials?
Twenty three years ago as we committed ourselves to one another, we were blissfully unaware of what awaited us.
While I had my suspicions that I would be living the "Tool Time" life with Tim (more power) Taylor and my three sons...
I was oblivious to all that the Lord had for us.
How could we have known that after three rowdy boys, the Lord would bless us with a baby girl?
How could we have known that as we lived our lives of blissful ignorance, there were four other precious ones who waited for us?
How could we have known their suffering and their lack? You think you know but you don't, not really, not until you have lived out the consequences of their suffering and their lack and the deeply embedded scars that exhaust you both.
How could we have known how their journeys would change ours?
Twenty three years ago we could have never envisioned this life He had for us. It is so contrary to what the world grooms us to be.
We could not have known but the Lord did and as He gently drew us near, our hearts and our plans began to to look less and less like they did as we stood before the alter of our selves. As He revealed, He equipped and as He equipped, He transformed our lives.
No, twenty three years ago we could not have known that we would have 8 children, that we would travel to China 3 times, that we would leave a part of our hearts there and that at the ages of 55 and 50, we would bring home our 14 year old, visually impaired son whose complete trust in us manifests how we are to trust God, even though we cannot see and cannot always understand.
Happy 15th Birthday Will.
We are so thankful that you are now a beloved son and a brother and a grandson and a nephew and a cousin. Thank you Lord for opening our eyes and our hearts.