And I am proud of you.
I know how hard you struggle in school to learn and keep up with the other kids. I know sometimes they tease you because some of them think you are too dark and not pretty.
But I think you are beautiful. Most people would agree with me.
And not them. Promise.
Precious girl, I have seen all those scars on your arms. I hear your English getting better every day and I remember the day it became good enough for you to tell me who put those scars there. And how. And my Tagalog was just good enough to help you understand that it would be best to forgive.
But if you do forgive, you are more amazing than I could ever hope to be.
I'm thankful. I get to be the one to hug you while you cry for that Grandmother and Uncle who used to visit you but asked not to anymore because it's too hard on them to see you and not be able to keep you forever. There is no way for you to understand how they feel. Or for them to understand how you feel about having family but not. I am glad it's me. For now.
I hope you can grow up and forgive me, precious girl, for not being able to take away
the pain of you not growing up with your brother. His disabilities are so big.
And we are so small.
We just can not give him what he needs.
Maybe someday, precious girl, I will be able to tell you how angry I am at the people who hurt you. You were just a tiny child and you did not deserve the things that were done to you. You were a baby and nobody protected you. Instead, she watched while you were hurt. Not every woman who has babies is really a "mother", sweet girl. But when you grow up, if you want to be one, I know you will be. You are already such a loving, caring big sister. You had such poor role models and yet, inside you, you already know how to put younger children's needs ahead of your own.
You are going to be someone great.
You already are.
So, precious girl, I want to end with telling you a secret. When I pray for you, my prayer always goes something like this:
"Lord, redeem this life. Let her shine brightly for YOU. Let every hurt and every pain
be another layer of her testimony to how YOU heal and restore.
And, please, surround her with people from today onward who will love and protect her, even
at their own expense. Bring her a "forever family" who sees the priceless treasure she is. Even on the hard days. Amen"
On extra, extra tough days, when I want to pack that suitcase and go back to where I came from, I think about you. And the others. I think "I don't want to miss the rest of her story". I know it's going to be good. So good.
I am learning a lot from you, precious girl. . . about the human spirit, about the resiliency of children, about how to CHOOSE JOY when it would be so easy to dwell on the pain of the past.
One more secret, sweet one? I want to be more like you. If you can choose joy, so can I.