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The Freckled Canvas: Nathan

Saturday, February 8, 2014


by Ashmae Holland

It started with an email, late at night, in a basement. This was back in the days when everyone had dial-up and color printing was just hitting the mainstream public and we didn't have one yet. The three of us, Mom, Dad and I, were huddled around a small computer in the corner of the basement.  We opened an email, on an AOL email account of course, and downloaded 5 pictures. It took what felt like eternity. It took so long that my dad decided to just go to bed.

The first picture loaded. It was a chubby little boy with blue eyes and blonde hair. Instantly I knew that was my brother. I told my mom and she said "You can't tell from a little picture." But I knew! I knew that he was my brother and that we would be best friends. We looked at the rest of the pictures one by one, and forwarded the email to a friend of my dad who offered to print them in color for us since he had a color printer. We still have that paper.

Fast forward about 9 months.

After lots of prayer and pondering and talking my parents decided to adopt three boys. They left in early June for Russia. As excited as I was to have siblings I hated that they left the day they did. They left the DAY OF my dance recital. I think it was then that I realized that I wouldn't be the center of their everything anymore, I'd have to share it, and strangely I was okay with it.

There was a mix-up with the luggage on the way to Russia and a couple of bags were lost. Including the bags that had pictures of our home, their rooms and the city we lived in. Couples are asked to bring those things to show the court so they can get a sense of the place they are going to. All they had was a paper "book" that I had made with our little computer about how excited I was to have my brothers. I guess that was enough, because they came home a few days later.

Provo, Utah

We lived in that same house for almost two more years. Then we moved to Georgia. Fast forward about 3 and a half years.

We had just celebrated Will's birthday and in two more days we would be celebrating mine. This was a great week, because we would be having Will's baptism on Saturday. We had stopped to give an invitation to the baptism to a friend. Nathan never made it back to our house that night. But he did make it home. He made it home to our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be his sister and to have him be a part of our family. Today my little brother would have been 18. He would have been getting ready to put in his mission papers! But he was lucky enough to start his mission almost 10 years ago.

I miss my brother every day. When people ask me about my family, I still say I have three brothers-and I always will! Happy Birthday little brother, I loved you so much and I always will!

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