Day 1: The doorbell rang, and when I opened it, there you were, a beautiful three-year-old little princess who was barely 34 inches tall. You had a small white stuffed animal kitty tucked underneath your left arm, a thumb stuck tight in your mouth, and on top of your head was a pigtail that looked like a palm tree. Your smile warmed my heart as I said hello and showed you the room you would be sleeping in for the next 30 days. Little did anyone know that the 30 days would turn into 90 days, and 90 days would soon turn into 180 days, and 180 days would somehow turn into 1,273.
So much has happened between day 1 and day 1,273. Many fun memories include three birthday parties, two vacations, and your first day of school. I will never forget the time your toes first touched the beach and the waves nearly knocked you down. Or how your eyes lit up at your 4th birthday party when you realized all the presents were just for you.
But as you know, during the 1,273 days, there have also been many tears, uncertainties, and heartache.
There have been court hearings. Counseling sessions. And more court hearings. Nights when I would tuck you into bed, and you would look up at me with your innocent big brown eyes and ask with a shaky voice if you could stay with us forever. It broke my heart not to be able to confidently give you the secure answer you needed. Or deserved.
I also remember when you came home from Kindergarten and quizzed me as to why your last name was different…and when it could be the same. I stuttered and stared as I stumbled over my words. I didn’t know how to answer you, because honestly, I didn’t know when or if it would ever be. Nothing was in my control, and everything seemed out of control.
But sweet baby girl, the question you have been asking, the one in which you want to know if you can live with us forever, has finally been answered. And the last name you have been begging to write at the top of your school papers can now be written. Yes, you can live with us forever. And yes, you can now tell the world your last name is Kearns.
As of July 7th, 2017, day 1,274, we are officially “Kearns—Party of 3”.
Here are a few pictures from our special day…
(My parents, whom she adores, also shared this special day with us)
While this calls for a celebration, I want to note that it’s also a difficult and bittersweet time for my husband and me. Because truth be told, we can’t help but think about all the heartache and loss and pain this little girl and her family went through to have this day written on our calendar. It didn’t come without a price. A price I wish no child, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling would ever have to pay.
For more of my “Tales of Fostering,” click on the links below:
Imagining Life Without Our Foster Princess
An Open Letter to My Foster Princess
Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home
Foster Parenting: How It Changed My Struggle with Infertility
Foster Parenting is Not Always Tea Parties and Coloring
She’s My Little Piece of Jesus
The Night She Tore Down My Wall
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