Dear Olivia

It’s early. I didn’t sleep well. Too much caffeine. In the times where I was awake I found myself thinking about you baby girl. Thinking about you because in a very short time, when you call us to let us know you’re awake I know your Dad and I will go rushing in to your room and meet you with a round of “Happy Birthday”. Yes Olivia, today you are two!

I think about the two years that you’ve been a part of our lives and know they have been the best, and the most life changing for both Daddy and I so far. There is nothing more amazing than watching a baby grow into a little person, especially a little person like you who has so much life in them. In times of stress and tears you’ve been our joy.

There are so many things I wish people could know about you but I know I don’t have the words to write them all here, and I think there are some things that are just better experienced first hand. I love your creativity and imagination. You love music and will often come and grab me and say, “Music Mommy! Dance! Mommy dance!” We will hear noise coming from your room and peek around the corner to find you sitting in the rocking chair “reading” a story, totally caught up in your own world. I wish I understood the words to your stories and I love that you have them.

You have such a sensitive and sweet little heart. You have no idea what rocked the country of your birth exactly one week ago, but you know something did. Many times the day after you came to me to offer comfort and wiped my tears and said, “Mommy sad.” This is not the first time you have shown your Dad and I that you know what’s going on around you, and you don’t even need the details. One day we will tell you the stories of Haiti ‘before the earthquake’ and I can only hope and pray that we can rejoice in the positive changes since that day. I hope you know a Haiti that is growing and thriving.

Baby girl, your Daddy and I are so proud to be your parents. Every day we feel grateful that we were the ones that God the call that said, “We have a little girl for you, just like you wanted.” I hope that over the years as we tell you the story of how you became part of our family that we can do it in a way that shows you how loved you are. I can’t imagine life without you. You are the biggest source of smiles for us, the biggest source of laughter, and the biggest source of joy in our lives. I get tired of people telling me what a lucky little girl you are to have us as parents because WE are the lucky ones. We are the ones that have been blessed.

We still have some work to do with the fingers, but now, after all the weeks of practice you can tell the world when they ask how old you are, “I’m TWO!”

We LOVE you!

~Mommy and Daddy

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

16 thoughts on “Dear Olivia

  1. Tears are running down my cheeks as I read this….Happy Birthday, Olivia. I know God put you in this family so you can learn from them how to survive in this unique country and will be able to teach others how to do so as well. They are truly God’s gift to not only you, but to their fellow man surrounding them.

    It is such a joy to see how God puts families together….they are matched perfectly. Hoping you all have a better today with lots of smiles and celebrations. Love the picture!!

    G.S. from IN

  2. Many blessings to you all. Happy Birthday to Olivia the GREAT!!! She’s awesome. Isn’t it so wonderful how children have such innocence. I liked how you mentioned that she has no idea what rocked her country. The film “A Beautiful Life” came to mind when I read that. You and Chris are awesome too. Protecting your child and trying to keep some sort of normalcy is admirable. xo

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET OLIVIA! You’re 2! Wow! Such a big girl you are!
    Have a fun birthday today blowing out your candles and eating birthday cake! Nanna & Pappa love you very, very much and wish they could be there to celebrate your special day!
    LOTS OF HUGS & KISSES to you!
    Love Nanna & Pappa XOXOXO

  4. Happy birthday little girl! and can’t wait to meet you this summer! And Leslie and Chirs, We are organizing a Benefit concert here in vernon to help out you guys and the people of Haiti on Feb.12.

    Praying lots for you guys, you’re constantly on my mind

    -Crystal

  5. Thanks, Leslie, for making me cry at work first thing in the morning. What a lovely, touching note. Thinking good thoughts for all of you and wishing Olivia a very Happy Birthday.

    Love,
    Missy

  6. Happy birthday darling granddaughter. You have blessed our lives more than you’ll ever know, and our visit with you over Christmas gave us a chance to get to know the incredible, intuitive, inquisitive bright little person you are. Your sweet voice saying “Read peas!” while you thrust yet another book at me and climb up into my lap. Confidently ordering your 70 pound puppy to “Allez, Daisy!!!” when she blocked your way. Then there’s the twinkle in your eye as we read together: “What’s that?” I point. “Whazzat?” you reply sweetly. “You tell me” I say. “You tell me” she smiles and we go back and forth till one of us gives in.

    You are confident and amazingly fearless for your age, traits which you will need living there. You have few toys because you find joy in everything around you and don’t need tv or battery toys to stimulate your vivid imagination. You love and are loved by everyone — visitors, workers, guards are all greeted by your “bonswa” or “bonjou” and a wave. I will treasure forever my video of you in your towel cape squealing happily while being chased by daddy and mommy around the kitchen. You are a treasure and we are so privileged to have you as our beloved granddaughter. May God bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace in the midst of this unspeakable devastation of your native country.
    Love, Gramma

    • Carmen, just so you know, we sang “Shake your boot-ay” repeatedly and did she ever shake. And shake and shake and shake. We were howling it was so funny. You would have been proud.

  7. Happy Birthday Olivia!!!

    Wow, I can’t believe that it has already been two years since Olivia joined your family. Reading this post totally made me cry and I can’t wait till Olivia is old enough to read this and see how much she is loved (though I am sure she already knows!)

    I can’t believe how big Olivia has gotten since I saw her!

    Praying for all of you!

  8. Leslie, as a fellow Mom of a toddler girl, everything you said rings true. I look at Aliana and know that she is my life and pride and joy. And I am SO blessed to be her Mom and so thankful to God for allowing me to raise her to the best of my ability. In 6 days I too will be where you are today. My little girl turns 3 on the 25th. I don’t know where the last 3 years have gone. And with everything that has been going on with my hubby…she is my rock and strength. And it’s true when people say to cherish every moment because they grow up so fast.

    Happy Birthday sweet Olivia. You make your parents so happy and proud and they so look forward to seeing you grow into a beautiful person, more then you are now. You are a gift from God.

  9. Leslie and Chris, you are the amazing parents of such an amazing, precious little girl. What a family! Sure hoping to meet -before too, too long, in person – the delightful Olivia.
    As I read your words, Les, I was in tears, also. Happy tears. Joyful tears. Probably even some undefinable tears.
    So much to say, but this is the time for fun and making great memories for the birthday girl so just wishing a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Olivia. You are a blessing to your family as they are blessings to you.

  10. Happy Birthday, Olivia!! I still can’t believe how much you grew up over the last year, and while I bet you won’t remember me the next time I see you, I think about you every day. You have the biggest personality and an eagerness to take on the world that will serve you well in life. I love you very much and I’m sending you a big hug and a kiss.
    Love,
    Your Auntie Abby

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