Happy Birthday, Titus


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Today is my baby boy’s birthday. Technically he’s turning 4, although in reality we don’t really know how old he is. Probably a year younger than that. Not that it matters.

It is his very first birthday here in his new life, his new home. He’s still getting used to the idea of a birthday and isn’t totally sure he understands it all (although he’s pretty clear on the whole cake thing). Every time he’s been wished a happy birthday today he’s said “Happy birthday!” in return. He’s ridiculously content so I think he’ll be pretty unaffected by the presents and fanfare.

And maybe it’s his birthday or the fact that he’s extra cute today but I can’t stop thinking about how amazing it is that Titus is my son, and about how far he’s come. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I go on and on about it.

I guess I always imagined having a son, in a vague, far off sort of way. It was a little hard to picture because all I’ve known so far is very girly little girls. But even when I did try to imagine it, I never would have expected to get a son the way I did.

I did not meet him in the normal way. He was not placed in my arms after endless hours of painful labor. Instead I met him in a small stone orphanage set on a hillside somewhere between Kampala and Entebbe. I did not know then that He would be my son. But, of course, God did. The God who loves the orphan.


We did not bond in the typical way, through long hours of nursing, changing, snuggling and singing. Instead our bond was fast and unexpected, so ready was he to love me as his own mother. No, it was not the typical way, but the result was essentially the same.

Sitting on those long flights to Uganda I had little else to think about but how little I knew what to expect. There were so many variables; it was impossible to imagine how things would actually go. He and his sister were a complete mystery to me.

But then I climbed into that car in the Entebbe airport where he waited for me and he scrambled up into my lap and that was that. He knew almost no English but “mommy” came easily. Every day of that month we spent there he surprised me with his unhesitant, unreserved love for me. Running across our room and hopping into our bed to lay on my chest every morning. Falling asleep in my arms on long car rides. Coming to me immediately for any want. He trusted me implicitly. It was, and is, a miracle to me.

This mystery of adoption is great indeed. Because he is as much a son to me as any child of my flesh and blood ever could or will be. And I can’t explain it except to say that where there is a willingness to let God do what He has promised, He can give us a love that is like His own, one we could never conjure up in our own strength.

Every day I learn more about him.

He is brave. He’s suffered more in his short existence than I have in my 30 years and yet he is affectionate and strong. I pray that he will always be so brave. This world needs brave men.

He is a servant. He willingly shares his favorite toys. He absolutely will not let me carry groceries in by myself. He loves to give help anywhere it is needed – he is currently moving the clothes to the dryer for me – and he never seeks praise for it. This, as much as bravery, is needed in this world.  May he always love to serve.

He is so very tender-hearted. I knew this from the first moment, but I see it more and more. He hates to see anyone cry, and runs at them with hugs and kisses. He is sensitive to correction, repenting quickly and forgiving easily.

He takes life in stride. I don’t even know what to make of this. Nothing fazes him. Except maybe a lizard. Or a bird. Or a squirrel. Or a dog.  OK, he doesn’t like animals. But other than that, he is unflappable. This house full of estrogen NEEDS him.

He’s a little bit serious. But that’s cool because we could use a little serious in this house, too. It balances things out.

He’s so handsome, scars of unknown origin and all. And I am prepared to scare the crap out of any girl who comes near him before he’s 20. Or 30.

And yes he has tempter tantrums and gets mad and occasionally talks back or defies me (I know, who could believe it of that angelic face??). But I’m grateful for that, too, because it means he feels safe enough to sin in this house. And he could have come into this whole thing feeling the need to be perfect, fearing the neglect or abandonment he had known before. So yes, in this I am thankful as well.

He is a delight to me. A delight to this family. I can’t believe he’s mine and that he’s the son God chose for us.

Happy birthday to my wonderful boy. I am more grateful for you than you know.



1 comment

  1. Cathi LeMand

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