Let me be clear: God led me to this place, the place of foster care and all that comes with it. But, He used two families in particular, ten individuals, in my life to get me here. To say these people have a special place in my heart would be a gross understatement.
To the People who helped lead me here, and keep me going:
I'm not entirely sure how to accurately describe the role you all have played in my life to this point, and the one you continue to play now -- You, the brave people that climbed the mountain I am beginning to scale, who are standing on the other side speaking encouragement into my journey. There are so many ways that you have influenced my life and my family, and I am so thankful.
Thank you for making foster care and adoption a completely normal part of my life and family growing up. This was the first brick laid on the road that brought me here. Thank you for affirming the notion that family is not limited to shared DNA, and for displaying how families could grow in other ways than in the womb.
Thank you for inviting me in to your family and your life -- your real life. For giving me a front-row seat into the messiness that is parenthood in the foster care system and post-adoption. For showing me that there's very little romance in foster care and adoption, but it's still one of the most beautiful and redeeming things anyone could ever experience. This helped me to have more realistic expectations for what I was walking in to, but also allowed me to be certain that I would never regret it.
Thank you for trusting me enough to allow me to spend time with your children, as their babysitter and their family member. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be family to these children who came to us in a "different" way. This altered my life.
Thank you for walking ahead of us in this, for being the faithful example for us to look to. Thank you for the encouragement you have provided to me now as I try to sort through the wonderful chaos that is our life. This serves to uplift my spirit in the overwhelming moments.
There are countless other things I am grateful for, having you all in my life. The other day I read an article about adoption where the author stated, "No one adopts a child in a historical vacuum. There is always a backstory behind the decision to adopt."
You all are my backstory. Thank you.