Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Brenden and Raniah,
Today is our Happy Adoption Day. You joined our family 16 months ago on the day you moved in, but today makes it legally forever. These months have been both the hardest and the most special months of our lives. You probably won't remember the day you moved in. You probably won't remember most of the days you've spent with us since. You probably won't even remember this day. But I hope that what you will remember is that we have loved you with absolute abandon every moment you've spent with us.

Brenden, you made me a better mama. Your older brother made me a mama for the first time, and your older sister made me a lover of little girls, but you have made me a better person. You have taught me what trust and acceptance looks like in a very tangible way. You are conscientious, loving, serious, and so intelligent. Your dignity and strength in the middle of trauma and pain has inspired me. You have such a concrete knowledge of the pain that this world can hold, and I am so grateful that you chose us to be your family. Because you did, you know. We wanted you to stay forever, but you had to choose us back. I watched you choose to love me, and I have been completely and utterly changed.

Raniah, you have brought such joy and delight into our lives. You'll never know any other reality than being at home with us, but the day you moved in was the day we fell in love with you. You might have cried that entire first day and most of the night, but I think you quickly sensed that here was a safe place, a connected place - a place where you could cry and someone would come immediately. A place where you could be held, be fed, be comforted, be loved. It took a very long time before you laughed, but I can still remember that first laugh that you gave us. Niah, we can not imagine our family without you in it. You are loving, funny, busy, and full of life. You are the perfect addition, the best little sister.

Someday, you both are going to want to know all of this. What this day was like. What your life was like before you lived with us. What your first mom and dad were like. When you're ready, we're eagerly waiting to share with you. I do want you to know, however, that we're going to screw up with all this sometimes. We won't always make the best decisions. We may not always use the right words. We definitely won't truly understand what it's like to be either of you, to be adopted, to be biracial, but we will do the best we can. We will continue to trust and follow our Savior, and we pray that for both of your lives as well. One thing we've learned through this journey so far, and one thing that you will learn as you grow up: Love isn't enough...but God is.

Today, with both of you, both of us, Ben, Maggie, and all of our family and friends surrounding us, you are finally, forever home.

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