Happy birthday! Today you are 18. You are now an adult. This is a new chapter in your life. We hope it is an exciting chapter for you. During this school year, you have now become an adult, and you will be graduating in 6 months. All kinds of new things are coming your way!
We have spent a lot of time reminiscing about your childhood this year. I know it drives you crazy, but it is fun for us to see how far you have come. You don’t realize how much you have overcome to get to the point you are at in your life.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back and look at baby pictures of you. We don’t have any. We can’t talk about your first birthday. We weren’t a family at that point either. We don’t know a lot about your first few years. We do know that you were born prematurely. We don’t know how early. We do know that you were sick right away and spent some time in the hospital. We do know that you were in an orphanage.
Our family has different “firsts” that we can look back upon with you. We can talk about the first time we saw you. We saw a picture of you before we saw you in person. You were 3. We can talk about the first time we held your hand. We can talk about the first time we had a chance to play with you. We can talk about the first time we were able to say that you were officially our son. You were 4. We can talk about the day we “gotcha”. We can talk about the first time we were all together as a family. We can talk about your first English word. We can talk about the first time you said “I love you” on your own to us. We can talk about your first steps with your new walker or your crutches or with one crutch or those unassisted first steps. We can talk about the first time you met grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We can talk about your first days of school in Alabama, California, Virginia, and being homeschooled. There are a number of firsts that we have celebrated with you, and there are a number of firsts yet to come in your life.
We are very proud of the young man you have become. You love to serve others and will talk to anyone. You enjoy learning and want to go on to do great things for yourself. You love Jesus. That will get you through life. All we ask for you as you make your way into adulthood is that you continue to be honest, work hard, follow your passions, love your family, and continue to put God first.
On your 18th birthday, we want to say welcome to adulthood! You made it! This milestone means I can sit on the couch with chocolate (and some wine).