When my babies were born he got them embroidered baby blankets and snuggled them. I couldn't give them a grandad, but I gave them a gift far greater, a Papa Rob.
Because of him I know that love doesn't hurt.
Because of him I knew what to look for in my Stephen.
Because of him I know how to love others big too.
Because of him I know I will always have a soft place to land.
He filled in so many missing pieces.
He is so much of the good that is in me and that I have passed on to others.
He is absolutely a hero!!!!!
Walking in the adoption world darkness with me so long it is ok to laugh about forest monsters. Loving me as is. Late night texts. Chop Suey. Seeing her work so hard to have the life she always dreamed of which motivates me to keep working towards my own. Her love for animals and humans. Sake Memories. Inside jokes. Having a sister of my heart. Collaboration for the greater good. Getting rid of ugliness. Introducing me to mashed cauliflower. A laugh that is contagious.
Her fierceness that draws others to be brave. Her beauty that inspires women to uncover their own. A laugh that is contagious. A smile that reminds you of who you are. Teaching me to notice my body and thoughts. Creating Shaki in the Mountains so I had a safe place to grow and become the woman I am today. That she never ever let me forget who I was, even when I know she saw me at my most broken.
Her friendship. Seeing her be an amazing Mama to my favorite Little. That she lets me play Auntie to him. That she loves on my kiddos. Hours of cooking, creating, and laughing. Her giving and helping heart. Her help when I or really everyone needs it. Her hilarious sense of humor. Pumpkin butter. Lunch dates. Thoughtful texts and calls.
Her prayers and that she doesn't say she will pray, she stops immediately and starts praying. Because she is a constant reminder of who God is and that He loves me. 28 years. That she is longest constant in my life; an anchor to which I cling when things feel chaotic. Seeing her live out her Happy Ever After with her John and their two beautiful daughters. Her creativity. That we have history and so many "remember when." That she is in every way my family. Beautiful long curly hair. Rejoicing and grieving, sometimes at the same time, and that it is always ok. That hours and miles have never made her love me any less. Her amazing mothering skills. Times of refuge in her home. Long walks. That she held my babies close when they were born and loves them fiercely. Her kind and loving heart
Her fierceness. Her bravery. The way she thinks of others and tries to help. The many things she does to let me know she appreciates me as her mom (like our Mama Daughter paint night on Thursday). Her artistic talent. The way she draws out the beauty in others. Her hardworking nature and refusal to give up. When she sings and the beauty of her voice. Her love and protection of those around her. Her silliness. That she is my first born miracle baby.
A huge heart and love for all creatures great and small. A voice so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. That she refused to ignore Injustice and Inequality. A passion for advocacy. Her bravery. That she has worked so hard to turn her education around and is currently a straight A student! That she loves the same foods as me so we can share. A hilarious sense of humor.
A friend for a lifetime. That she understands when I crawl into my cave and will come hunting for me. Late night texts. Knowing I am loved and cared about. Her heart for her babies. Her hardworking nature. That she works so hard for her family. She gets my crazy. Freak out phone calls that end with me laughing and feeling a million times better. Her compassion for others. Her brains. Laughter. That she has stood by me even when I have failed her as a friend. Knowing that she is always only a phone call away.
Teaching others to be choosers. A fun loving nature. A passion for helping others. Encouragement of others. That he shares his feelings openly which gives others permission to as well. Fuck it and other phrases that equal freedom. The dog poo video and it's profound impact on my life. Learning from him that I don't have to engage negativity or explain the decision not to. Beautiful garden pictures. That he makes space for creatures great and small around him. Bees. That he uplifts and celebrates his Liz.
The tenacity and bravery she shows in fighting for her kiddos needs. The way she loves and supports her husband and family. That she reached out to me and has become a great friend over the internet. Her honesty over her own struggles that helps other Mama's not feel so alone. Her beauty and kindness. Funny posts that make me laugh.
That he uses his voice to magnify those of the others. Creating so many bigger tables. That he talks about the things others are afraid to. When I was lost in grief valley he reached out to me to let me know I was not alone. The way he loves his wife and children. Getting my awesome, I'd Rather Have a Bleeding Heart Than a Dead One shirt. The many beautiful people I have met through following his blog and social media who have become precious friends. Giving me a Jesus I can share with others who are otherwise ignored by the church.
His love and support of my Heidi. His hilarious sense of humor. The amazing Daddy he is to Emma and Anna and knowing the incredible impact it will have on their lives. Broken CDs. That he took my Ozzy under his wing a few years ago and taught him how to make a fantastic guitar. All the little things he does for my Heidi to let her know she is loved, wanted, and appreciated.
The best and most entertaining news feed ever. Her stunning beauty. That when I was an outcast teenager her, Judith, and Jessica let me sit with them at lunch everyday so I wasn't alone. Gorgeous artwork. Her generosity to me at a time when I was secretly seriously financially struggling. Her love and compassion for animals. That she inspires me to get out and enjoy nature.
Her tenacity. The way she loves and protects those around her. That she uses her voice to magnify the voice of others. Her creativity. Her beauty. Her helpfulness. That she speaks up to combat ignorance and refuses to accept that the way things are is the way they have to stay. The joy I know she brings to my Stephen's heart.
Through being a foster parent and stepparent, I have had the blessing of being involved in many children's lives. I realize fully that my presence in their world begins with a break somewhere and the magnitude of that is not lost on me.
It is a complicated role, one that is rarely appreciated, but one that I love. When I was young I had good and bad step parents. I had wonderful and horrible foster parents. I know the difference I can make, good and bad. My heart wants to be the good, but I also know I have at times failed and pray that some day I could be forgiven.
Whether in my life for an afternoon or many years, each and every one has brought me things in my life that I am grateful for.
Smiles. Undeserved trust. Making pancakes. Building things. Creating things. Witnessing bravery and strength beyond their years. A chance to celebrate their successes, grieve their losses, and pray for them. Watching them grow into phenomenal young people. Messages letting me know I made a difference and forgiveness when I have failed.
Her honesty. Her fierce love and protection. That good or bad, she is always going to speak truth into my life. Middle of the night throwing up and baby stories. Her love for God and her family. Her compassion for others. That when I have needed her she is always there. That when the power was out and I was freezing, she opened her home to me. Being snowed in. Allowing me to share my story with the girls in the Grouphome. That she sees my brokenness as beautiful. That she has never made me feel like a burden or liability. Hugs. Prayers. Knowing as long as she is breathing, I have someone who prays for me and my family.
That she brought me Nella, AKA Big Mama who was such a comfort to my broken heart. She is a great friend. Her compassion. Her bravery. That she does not give up on people. Her love for her parents and family. Her love for animals. Her smile. Her many adventures that inspire me to take my own.
Her love for my babies. That she uses her voice to magnify the voice of others. Her bravery. That she keeps moving toward to the person she wants to be. Her tenacity and hard work. Her hugs. Her laughter and playfulness. The love and respect she shows her Mama. Her love and care for animals. The beauty of her soul. Knowing she is going to change the world in big and beautiful ways.
Being a compassionate and kind youth pastor during my chaotic early teen years. Giving me jobs within the youth group, like making transparencies, to make me feel like I was good for something in a time when I felt useless. Fun youth events. Never judging me. Being there for every major moment in my life. Bringing his phenomenal wife Missy into my world. Praying hard for me and working harder. His passion for reaching those who are hurting. The way he loves his family.