Today is your birthday! I can't believe how quickly you're growing up. I'm sure you're taller than the last time I saw you! Soon you'll shoot past me (it's not hard to be taller than your big sister!).
How I wish I could give you a big squeeze and tell you "Happy Birthday!" myself. I was wishing today that I could make your favorite dinner and maybe even bake your birthday cake with you. I wish I could see your face light up as your family gathered around, lit candles, and sang "happy birthday to you." I would love to see you tear into wrapping paper and enjoy presents from your siblings and parents.
Coloring with your dad-you are a true artist.
I have all these wishes, but this year none of them will be coming true. Maybe your brothers and some of your friends remembered it was your birthday? Maybe a teacher? I don't know. I don't even know what your favorite kind of cake is or what you want most of all for a present. For two precious days I got to see your face light up as people came to visit you, to love on you, to give gifts to you. For two days, you knew you mattered. For two days the word "family" seemed like a possibility. I will never, ever forget when we said goodbye. You hugged me tight, then looked up at me with tears and your eyes and asked, "When are you coming back?" Oh dear boy, I wish I could.
A self-portrait. You're a goof!
There are people who would say "Never" is the answer to your question. But I'm praying you don't give up hope. I'm praying that somehow you will know that your family didn't give up on you; that we love you and miss you. I'm praying that someday "never" will become "now" and I can look you in the eyes and call you brother.
Your big sister.