It was probably a grass and mud and thatched-roof hut.
She was only about 15 years old, surely scared and confused, and maybe she didn’t really know all that was happening. But she knew life was coming and she chose it for you.
She chose life for you.
And for eight days, she and her mother tried to keep tiny-you alive. You were probably less than 4 pounds, less than a gallon of milk, and if you had been here you would have been in NICU.
But you started life in the dirt and the poverty of the India we love. It was two months before the terrible tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
Your dad spent six weeks there in the villages of southern India, giving rice, blankets, and Hope. Weeping with grieving parents and listening to horrific stories, wading through so much destruction and loss and heartache.
You were born in our hearts then. We didn’t know you yet, just like we didn’t know your brothers and sisters when we started loving them.
You can love someone you’ve never seen, Ethan.
So your tummy mama gave you life again when she brought you to the orphanage, just eight days old and clinging. And this is what we keep telling you, again and again.
Life has been chosen for you so many times, and hallelujah, this year you chose Life for yourself! You chose the Savior who chose you before the foundation of the world. You chose to love Someone you’ve never seen, too.
And again, you were born.
Born in a hut. Born in our hearts. Born into a Forever Kingdom.
Ethan Shashwat. Your Indian name means everlasting and continuous. Ethan means steadfast.
You are wonderful, and you are steadfast, continuous, and everlasting.
You held on to life for 17 months before we were able to hold on to you. Daddy held you that first night in the hotel as you screamed through your first tub-bath. I held you through the Hong Kong airport as we raced for our flight and your rice and buffalo milk raced out of your little body. I wore you and your vomit right over my heart, and the 36 hours home was certainly like labor.
That’s your birth story, Ethan. And it’s not like anyone else’s story except that it was painful and you were always loved.
And today you turn 8. You can read books by yourself and make your own bed, you’re an amazing artist and goofy little brother, you share your desserts, eat grasshoppers for shock value, run so hard I’m afraid you might fall, and you live an everlasting life.
We love you, Ethan Shashwat. Happy birthday – no school and no chores for you today!
A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.” “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations. ~ Psalm 89:1-4
Sharing this today at Imperfect Prose.