Dear Baby Girl,
Right now you are asleep, in your pale pink little room that we worked so hard to ready for you, and tomorrow is your first birthday. You’ve been here with us for six months now, but it took less than a millisecond for us to fall in love with you.
Maybe you’re wondering why this is here, online, instead of in a scrap book or a journal.
It’s because your start in this life hasn’t been typical, and the truth is, there’s every chance that we might not be able to raise you. Your future is so undecided right now. So if one day, when you are grown, and you stumble upon this, I want you to know for absolute certain that while you were in “foster care,” you were not abandoned, ill-treated or alone. You have never lacked for love a day in your life.
The first moment I saw you, when you were brought to us at hockey practice, my soul seemed to know yours, knew that you belong in my arms, no matter how short of time we might have. That first couple of months, I couldn’t put you down. I didn’t want to, and you wouldn’t let me. I learned quickly how to do everything with you wrapped to my chest, where you seemed most content. You met your daddy (the one who tucks you in at night, at least), over skype, and we laid the computer down on the floor so you could get the closest view while he talked to you.
Don’t you see? You had him from 6,000 miles away. You owned his heart before he touched your skin, or smelled your hair. That’s what an amazing little girl you are.
You are wanted by everyone, and it’s important that you know that. There’s not a soul that wouldn’t wrap you up and care for you in your life. If you’re no longer with us when you read this, then it’s because God decided that your path was with someone else who loves you just as much as we do.
I wish I could make you understand how adored you are, how long we waited for just a chance to love you. You were chosen for us, even for just this little while, the same as we were chosen for you. There’s not a day that I don’t thank God for His plan, His choice. You are a gift I have no words for, but I’m trying.
Six months ago, I was wracked in terror of losing you, already head-over-heels for you. Now it’s six months later and nothing has changed in that regard. There are times I burst into tears as I hold you, scared to death there will come a day when you won’t be here to hold. Those same tears are shed in gratitude, that even if you aren’t meant to be raised here, we have been able to share so much love with you, but it’s nothing compared to the love you give in return, the way your giggle makes both daddy and I pause and smile right along. That moment at redeployment, when I was able to lift you into his arms – that’s something I will never forget, no matter what happens. You are impressed on all of our hearts – mine, daddy’s, your brothers’, and your sister’s. You are as much a part of us as if you were born here.
But just in case you don’t stay here, I hope you’ll heed this advice if you ever stumble upon this little blog I keep and realize that once upon a time, you had four older brothers and lived in a circus of a house:
1. Hold your head high with dignity and grace in every situation. You are loved by all, fought for by all, and whomever won the battle to keep you is the luckiest person on the planet. You are a girl of worth, of intelligence and of fierce determination. Given that look on your face I get when I tell you “no,” you’re also stubborn. This will serve you well, so don’t lose it.
2. Get to know God. If you don’t believe in Him, it’s ultimately okay, because He believes in you, and that will never change, no matter which direction your life takes, or how long it may take you to find your path. He will wait.
3. You can never go wrong with a single strand of pearls. It’s the most timeless piece of jewelry a girl can own, and will make you shine in any social situation.
4. Be strong. You’re a fighter, I know this from your first month here. You are made of stern stuff, young lady, so don’t you dare roll over and let someone walk on you. You are more precious than any stone on Earth. Never forget that.
5. Read. There is nothing a dangerous, as coveted, as beautiful as a well-read woman. I’m not saying this because I’m a nerd (which I am), but because if you don’t read, you’re limited to your life experiences, and the opinions only from it. But if you read, a world opens to you and you’ll find that your opinions aren’t just formed from your limited sight of the world, but from the experiences of others as well.
6. Be kind. The world is full of mean, ugly-hearted people. Don’t be one of them. I’m not saying to let yourself get walked on, but when you’re able to, turn the other cheek. No one ever regrets taking the high road. Being up there helps you see the hurt others inflict, but it can also help you see why. So give where you can, and don’t confuse the high road with a high horse. You should look down on the situation, not the people. Pull them up. Above all else, this is our purpose here on Earth, to pull others up when we can.
7. Love. Find love. Give love. Be love. It is the strongest emotion, and when it’s pure, it will not steer you wrong. Don’t abuse it, or the one who offers it to you. Love is not something to be taken lightly, and should be held more precious than anything in this world. That being said, I’ll share with you the best advice I’ve ever received. It comes from your grandfather: You don’t marry the one you can live with; you marry the one you cannot live without. My baby girl, there are many things you may settle for in life, but love must NEVER be one of them. Please marry your best friend, the one who will support you no matter what storms come your way, because life is long, and you’re not just choosing your love, you’re choosing your partner for the rest of your life, the person who will bear witness to who you become – oh, and you should definitely find them attractive, because there’s something to be said for feeling like a teen when you’re thirty, and sex is not overrated in marriage. (Please be over 18 when you read this).
8. Find peace. Whether it’s in a place, a song, a book, a person, find peace. Be calm in your soul and take the time to really see how beautiful this life is. There can be so much ugliness around us, but there is far more beauty. Sometimes it simply takes an extra moment of effort to find it. But when your soul is quiet, you will see.
9. Dream. If anyone knows this I do. Don’t let go of that far-fetched dream you have. Strive for it. Reach. Get it. How do I know this? Because I finally published that book I was dying to. More than that? I know dreams come true because you’re asleep upstairs. You’re here, after years of dreaming of your blue eyes, and the way your smile completes this family, you’re here. No, it might not be forever, but some dreams don’t last forever, you simply have to savor every minute you get. I have counted every precious second with you, don’t you ever doubt that. You are my greatest dream – now go find yours.
10. No matter where you are right now, we love you. It doesn’t matter if you’re twelve, searching the net upstairs while I’m cooking your dinner, hiding from whatever noise your brothers are stirring up, or whether you’re eighteen, having been raised by someone else. There is not a day that I will not love you, or think about you, wonder where you are, or pray for your happiness. If you aren’t here, then you have an ally you know nothing about. There is nothing I won’t do to help you, and that will never change. Even if you don’t know me anymore, my soul will know yours – just like when they brought you to us. I will always be a phone call, plane ride, or yell-down-the-hall away, and that won’t change. I don’t care if you’re just now realizing you were in foster care, and have zero recollection of who I am. I will always be here for you if you need it. You are never as alone as you might feel.
That’s it for now. Thank you for being ours, even if it’s only this little while. Thank you for uniting your brothers, and for filling our hearts with your love.
Sleep tight baby girl – there’s cake to be had tomorrow.
And I can’t wait to see you make a mess of it. 😉