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When God Writes the Story

Many years ago and in a far-off land, a young couple celebrated their marriage. God had given them both the idea to adopt a child, and they looked forward to the day when that would happen. “We’ll have children first, and then adopt,” they told each other. So, after about a year of marriage, they asked God to grant them a child. They waited. And prayed. And waited. And visited doctors. And prayed. And waited some more. Because God had a story to write. And then, through an amazing series of events, He brought them just the right daughter at just the right time. She was born in a hospital a few miles from their home, and they were able to hold her when she was only hours old. They brought her home from the hospital the next day. A few months later, they finalized her adoption. Ten months later, after more prayers and waiting, God, like all good writers, added a twist to the story. He gave the couple another little girl, but not through adoption. The two sisters grew up as best friends. And they both rejoiced when first one, then two, then three more siblings were born into the family. The oldest daughter always knew she was adopted. She always knew she was special, too, and that God had chosen her for the family who loved her so much. They celebrated “Adoption Day” every year, when she received special presents, including her favorite, the one she called “’doption Mickey Mouse.” As that daughter grew, she developed a love for anyone who felt left out or abandoned. As a twelve-year-old, she raised more than $1200 for a local crisis pregnancy center, wanting to help others give the gift she and her parents had received. Even during her time in college, she considered adopting a teen but decided to wait. Not so many years ago, that grown-up daughter celebrated her own marriage. Like her parents, she and her husband also dreamed of adopting one day, although they didn’t know how or when. After almost six years of marriage, they began the process to become foster parents. “We’ll get a sibling group,” they told their parents. “And we’ll only get children who are available to adopt.” They waited. And prayed. And went through training. And waited. And prayed some more. Several months later, God, like all good writers, added a twist to their story, too. One special girl was already a part of their lives. A student at the school where the grown-up little girl taught, she wasn’t available for adoption. She wasn’t part of a sibling group. But she did have a need—several of them, in fact. As the young couple...

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A Different Kind of Grandma (Letter to my almost-grandchild)

Dear Grandchild-to-be, What can I say? What can I say to you who have endured pain I can’t begin to imagine and lived a life I can’t possibly understand? What do I say to you for whom we wait? I want to hold you close, to call you my very own grandson or granddaughter. You’re the first one (and firsts are always special). I want to see you taken away from wherever it is you need to leave. I want to promise you safety. I want to say you’ll never hurt again. But I can’t do or promise any of those things. I’m a different kind of grandma, and this is our story. Yours and mine. More than 400,000 children throughout the United States wait in foster care, some of them (for all sorts of reasons) ineligible for adoption. Many have suffered abuse. Many have PTSD or other types of emotional trauma because of the life they’ve endured. Sweet grandchild, you know you’re in this group. But you’re so much more. You’re a person. You’re someone with hopes and dreams and needs and desires. You care about the people in your past—even (and maybe especially) the ones who have hurt you. You don’t know what to expect from the future, but you press toward it anyway. You accept help from many who want to give it and some who don’t. You push against rules even when you know they’re right. You don’t always understand what you do or how you feel. And, deep down inside, you wait. You wait for that moment when you know you’re home. You’re right. I’m not your grandma yet, and you may never choose to call me that anyway. But I can tell you this: you are loved. Your almost-parents have endured paperwork and more paperwork and red tape and training and inspections and lectures and self-doubt and more paperwork and more red tape and awkwardness and questions and paperwork and more paperwork and more red tape, all in pursuit of you. I hear the longing in their voices. They can’t wait to bring you home. They know the road ahead will have plenty of bumps, maybe huge potholes or lengthy detours. But they want to travel it with you. For you, they don’t want to be just one more stop, one more waystation. For you, they want to be Mom and Dad—no matter what the legal system calls them. As your almost-mom, my precious daughter, told me, “Even if we can only have this child at home a few years, at least we’ll give them a family to come home to.” That family is ours. And we’re waiting—   with so much love,...

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