So as I walked into the courthouse to join my husband and 14-year-old daughter-to-be, I felt a deep sense of joy, love, satisfaction, and relief that the waiting was finally over! She had lived with us for 16 months in foster care prior to that moment--but knowing that Susan would share our name, our traditions, and our lives from that day forward was the sweetest Christmas gift I could ever have imagined.
So where have the past 14 years taken me? In short--to hell and back...more than once! I faced some of my darkest moments as a human being, my marriage crashed and then revived, I withdrew into the depths of depression and then emerged with renewed hope. Each step of the way, however, presented me with a new lesson to learn and a new person (angel?) to teach it. My friendships have grown deeper, I have found sweet kindness in the acts of former strangers, and I recognize the miraculous in the mundane. For all this I am grateful.
And what about the past four years we have spent as a family? Well, moment to moment does NOT look picture-perfect by any means. We have joyful moments, but we also have our share of yelling, hurt feelings, arguments, and reminders that we are "awful parents." In short, a normal "family-with-a-teenager" experience. And I would't have it any other way!