Happy birthday to my Latin American son, Juan David Alspaugh. I hope he felt as special as we intended to make him feel today. He is one very cherished child, by his family here AND his family still in Colombia.
Several moments absolutely touched my heart today as his mother. If you've read my book (or even my blog entry from this date last year), you know the heartache that this particular week once held for both him and us. It happened to be the week they told him he could no longer have contact with me, and his birthday happened to be the last time they let him talk to me on the phone. It's a week that could still carry that same heartache, but now it's a week to cherish each year that it comes around.
Today I took him out for a "birthday cake sundae" after school, and we talked about that fateful day five years ago. We both remembered those last two phone conversations very clearly. Then we said, "But, hey, look at us now! We're together, eating ice cream, on your birthday."
I also started communicating with Julian early in the morning to arrange a time for him to communicate with Juan David in the evening. It warmed my heart to listen to him talk to his brother on the phone and to hear him talk to Mercedes.
I hope he felt loved and cherished.
(Right before heading off to school, after Mom made a special birthday breakfast).
(Getting ready to eat a home made birthday dessert/cookie cake).
(A special phone call from Colombia from Julian and Mercedes)
We also met with his counselor at school today to discuss his current (and very unique) academic situation. He had to enroll in the newcomer program last year as a freshman, but he didn't get full credit for his classes. So he enrolled in the traditional high school this year as a freshman again. He will officially be a sophomore by the end of this semester, but today we arranged a plan that should put him on track to graduate with last year's freshman class (still graduating at 19). It's going to mean a few semesters of extra hard work and some credit recovery courses, but definitely doable. We finally feel better informed and equipped to understand the high school system here.
All in all, we had a good day.
Only ten more days till birthday #3.