Love is the most powerful energy there is, bar none, and with love, miracles are possible.
I want to tell you a story about a little girl who celebrates her birthday today.
For privacy reasons, I won't reveal her real name, but this is her story.
More than twenty years ago, in a remote corner of Russia, a baby girl was born to a teenage mom. I'll call her Maria. The mom left soon afterwards, and left the baby in the care of her mother. No father was ever in the picture. The baby was cared for by several different relatives.
One day, neighbors realized they hadn't seen the baby, who was about 3 years old, in a few days. They went to the door of the apartment.
The toddler was in there with a relative who had been dead for several days.
Little Maria was sent to an orphanage. She remained there for several years. Then she went to an orphanage for older children, once again losing out on caregivers.
Pulling a child away from caregivers, over and over, is very damaging to her emotionally. Maria was no exception. She learned that the only people she could count on were other orphans.
She grew into a beautiful little blonde girl with a broad smile, but it hid a lot of pain and a damaged soul.
However, she had one dear friend, another little blonde girl, and they bonded. Unlike the other girls, no family members ever came to see those two.
One day when she was 11 years old, a lady from America came to her orphanage. She was a nurse, and was doing missionary work with a volunteer group. They were spreading the word of God along with much needed supplies.
This lady, I'll call her Susan, met little Maria and knew this was the child meant to be her daughter. She went home to America and began the process of adoption.
Not long afterwards, Maria's friend got adopted.
Both girls came home to loving single moms.
Susan had a very difficult time with Maria. She missed her friends terribly. So much so, she tried to run away from Susan, tried to find a train to go back to the orphanage. It was the only home she had ever known for so many years, and the prospect of going to America was terrifying, even with a loving mom like Susan.
Nevertheless, Susan persevered. She loved Maria with all her heart and wanted to give her a good life.
The first few days home, Maria flew into rages. She would kick, scream, and bite when Susan asked her to do the simplest things, like wash her hands for dinner. Horrified, Susan took her to a specialist who helped adoptive parents. He advised Susan to use a therapeutic hold method to calm Maria during these rages. Maria also saw several therapists.
Maria's school skills were far below where they should've been for a 12 year old. She could barely read in Russian, and her math skills were several years behind. She knew nothing of Science or History.
When she had been home about a year, Susan took Maria to see her orphanage friend, who lived in another city about 8 hours drive away. The two girls played happily. When it was time for them to part, Maria [who had been doing pretty well behaviorally] started screaming and clutched her friend. "DON'T LEAVE ME!" she screamed piteously, crying. Susan had to physically pull Maria away because she tried to throw herself on top of the car. It was heartbreaking for all involved.
Years went by. Maria was homeschooled with tutors, then went to a private school. Susan sacrificed a lot to give Maria the extra help she needed academically, and the therapy she needed emotionally.
Maria got better.
She tested Susan over and over - stealing, lying, hoarding food.
But Susan persevered, and loved Maria, and got them through it. Strong faith in God helped.
Now Maria is a beautiful college student, and today she celebrates her birthday. You see, her real birthday was unknown. There was no birth registration found when the authorities put her in the orphanage. So they gave her February 14th as a birthday, Valentine's Day.
It's so appropriate that she celebrates her birthday today, because Maria is a living testament to the power of a mother's love and faith.