I sit here trying to control the tears that just keep streaming down my face. It’s been four months since we said hello to the most beautiful, precious, sweet little girl I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. In those four months she has brought our family together, given me hope on days that just seemed so dark, and shown me how to love even against all odds. She was the answer to so many prayers I’ve had for years, and in the blink of an eye she will be gone. We knew this was coming. We’ve known it from day one. What I didn’t know though was how truly beautiful her story would be. And when I say beautiful, I mean something only Jesus could write.
She came to us after living her first four months of life in chaos. She was shuffled around from place to place, and never once knew where she was going to be next. She saw things that I, as an adult, can’t even begin to fathom. The trauma she experienced from these things were real and she was already showing signs at such a young age. She didn’t sleep well, would scream hysterically at new places, and jumped at the slightest noise or movement. Within 24 hours of her coming into our home, she started to trust us. Most of the time she clung to us for dear life and never wanted to be put down. We worked so hard to get her evened out, enlisting help from professionals and other foster parents. Eventually the trauma we know she experienced began to disappear and smiles filled her face more often than not. But this was just the first page in a story that would forever change her life and mine.
We knew in the beginning having contact with her parents wasn’t something we were willing to do. After learning the anxiety that speaking to bio parents gives me, it wasn’t something we were even willing to consider with any future placements, unless the Lord made it loud and clear that it was something He wanted us to do. For three months we spoke to no one in her family, not even to the relative that was fighting hard to get temporary custody of her. Truthfully, it was good for us. We had that time to just bond with her and not worry about anything else. But after three months something in my heart changed. I just kept thinking about this relative that had hired her own attorney to petition for custody of a child she had never even met. Questions filled my head. Did I really think it was in Baby Girl’s best interest for her to go to some stranger, one whom she had never even seen the face or heard the voice of? I mean, it was hard enough when she was moved to us from such a hectic environment. How was she going to handle leaving us after months and months of love and stability? I realized it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair for her…it wasn’t fair for the relative…and it wasn’t fair for us. We all deserved to know one another, in whatever form that might be.
So I decided to reach out to our caseworker and ask her to share our contact information with the relative. Within an hour I had a Facebook message from the woman who I had suspected might be the relative. At first I was curious how in the world she found me. I mean, we live in completely different states and I hide almost everything from my profile. Ironically after doing some digging I realized I did have everything hidden, except for one blog post I had shared, which just so happened to be about Baby Girl coming to live with us. If this wasn’t already the start to a God story, than I don’t know what is.
The relative and I talked nonstop for the first few days, so much so that my fingers started going numb from all the typing. I found out so many things that no one knew, not even the caseworkers or lawyers or anyone. She told me about the Lord’s call for her to travel hundreds of miles last minute to be there for the court hearing. She told me how she waited all day in a strange place she had never been to, clinging to God’s strength to get through it all. She told of the day in such detail that I could picture vividly what she went through just to be a light for this sweet girl we were getting to raise. I was astounded. I was astounded because on the first full day with Baby Girl, one that I remember so well, there was this other woman only a few miles away who was fighting one of the hardest battles just for Baby Girl. It broke my heart that this relative had gone three months without knowing anything. It tore me up inside that she had an entire community praying for a child she had never even met, and she didn’t even have the reassurance that Baby Girl was okay. My heart shattered. It shattered because even though I loved Baby Girl more than I could ever even put into words, I knew this woman was the one who was meant to raise her and she loved her more than I could ever imagine.
It’s been a month and a half since that initial conversation and this woman feels a lot less like Baby Girl’s relative and a lot more like a part of our family. She has encouraged us, prayed for us, supported us, and has been there through every twist and turn in the case. She knows what it’s like to wait, feel heartbroken, and fall to her knees in tears over this sweet baby. We get the privilege of raising Baby Girl now, but she’s still waiting patiently, without any certainties of what the future may hold with her. Today though, those uncertainties went away. Nothing is set in stone, but major changes happened that have made the fight for her to live with this relative much easier and much faster. So, as tears pour down my face, I grieve and celebrate all at the same time. I grieve at the fact she will be no longer be mine, but celebrate because I know this is where she should be, with family that loves her.
This story could have ended so much differently though, and that is what reminds me just how eternally grateful we are for this relative. Without her, Baby Girl’s future would look a lot different and not necessarily in a good way. We are thankful Jesus called her to this and she listened, not only because it may literally save Baby Girl’s life but because we know we aren’t saying goodbye when she leaves. We will still have the honor and privilege of watching her grow up and continuing a relationship with her throughout the years. That alone is more than I could have ever asked for. So instead of feeling sad for the few days/weeks/months we have left, I will praise Jesus that He wrote a story so divine that it could be described as nothing less than a beautiful mess.