“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give (her) to the LORD. For (her) whole life (she) will be given over to the LORD.’ And (she) worshiped the LORD there.” I Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV)
Tomorrow is the day. Two and a half years ago, a precious little girl walked through our front door and straight into our hearts. As she wrapped her little arms around my neck, I felt what every Mama feels when she receives her baby into her arms for the very first time. But tomorrow it will become official.
We had no idea of the journey we were in for, which was likely a very good thing. Some of the best roads in life, I've found, are the ones I would have never chosen to walk, had I been given the choice. I don't think we would have given our own hearts enough credit to believe we could have walked this road and become stronger for it. But we did. And we have.
To say it's been a roller coaster is an understatement. There were court dates that felt meaningless, and dates when we were told to prepare ourselves to hear the judge instruct us to come home and pack her things. There were events that we thought would seal her destiny with our family, only to find that the child welfare system is indeed, a very broken system.
There were oceans of tears, valleys of fears, mountains of frustrations, and even more tasks, paperwork, responsibilities, and duties. There were times when this business of fostering a child seemed like a full time job, and we questioned if we were up for the challenge.
But there was that little girl, too. With big brown eyes and a giggle that makes you laugh out loud. A daughter, a sister. We never questioned whether or not we should fight for her. We had no choice, that fight entered our hearts when she entered our home. I came to see that this fight just may not be about us, or about blood lines, or about the system. This fight might be just what this little girl needs to know how very much she was wanted. It might be just what she needs to know how worth it she is. It might be just what she needs to break a legacy of hurt, and violence, and anger, and begin a new legacy of love, and peace, and joy.
I wondered so many times whether this day would come. I was scared. Plain and simple. I've said goodbye to four children already, and couldn't imagine having to say goodbye to another. I tried to hold back, to not give her all of me, because I didn't want her to take all of me with her if she left us. But I couldn't help myself. I was this little girl's Mama from that very first day, and will be for eternity.
And so, my sweet Kaylee Charlotte, on the night before your adoption, this is what I want you to know. Daddy and I prayed for you. We prayed that the first child brought into our home would be the child that we would adopt. You were that child. We have received an amazing, special gift in you. As much as it would seem that we saved you from what could have been a horrible life, you have been such an incredible addition to our family, and we cannot imagine our life without you in it.
Your sister prayed for you. Every. Single. Day. For two and a half years, your sister has prayed every day that God would let us keep you forever. She couldn't be more excited for your adoption day. I know that God knew from the beginning that you would be sisters, yet I am continually amazed at how deep your bond was with each other from the very first day. I pray you two will always remain close, and that you both will always remain each other's biggest cheerleaders.
I couldn't love you more, sweet girl, if I had given birth to you. You are my daughter, my precious gift. I would fight for you a hundred more years. I long for the very best for you, and look forward to see what God has in store for your life. I have to believe it's something very special, with all we've been through with you.
Yes, I prayed for you, "this child," along with countless other special people that walked this road with us. They carried us when we were tired of the fight, and have cheered with each victory. You are so wanted, and so loved, by so many.
Tomorrow the judge will pronounce you Kaylee Charlotte Long. But to your Mama, that's who you've always been. I love you, Kaylee Girl, and I'm so glad you're mine.
This precious photo was taken by Stacey Woods, who has amazingly documented this journey in photographs for us. Visit her at www.staceywoodsphoto.com.