I wrote this heartfelt letter to the judge who was supposed to hear our case yesterday. I had several drafts. I really wanted to summarize how Little Miss has grown & changed over the almost year she's been with me. I wanted him to see how we've become family. Here is (most) of that letter:
I am writing, hoping you'll see fit to allow me to start adoption proceedings for Little Miss, who has been my foster daughter since December 2010.
When Little Miss came to live with me, she was very polite, but seemed hollow somehow. Although she knew the names of every television character, she would not look me, or anyone, in the eyes. She was very scared. She didn't like going to bed, brushing her teeth, or taking a bath. She was particularly frightened of men, and would cling to me when there were men in her presence. Little Miss's speech was understandable, but her vocabulary was limited, and she usually only used two-word phrases like "Help, please" or "Mama, up."
In the eleven months Little Miss has been with me, she has blossomed in many, many ways. Just last week, she asked me to read a book to her, with a 7-word sentence. Seven beautiful, clear, precious words! What a joy!
Little Miss has grown in more ways than just her speech. She identifies many letters, colors, and shapes. She has memorized several books and loves to "read" them to me when she pretends to be the mama.
Instead of living in an inward, hollow way, she now lights up every room she enters. She is silly and funny. She loves to dance and sing. Little Miss notices when friends at day care or church are sad or scared, and stands by, ready to hug or help.
I am one of 13 children, and Little Miss and I have had several opportunities to interact with my family. On a trip to Colorado in June, Little Miss got to fly in an airplane, ride on a bus, and take a train up to Pike's Peak with an assortment of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Amazingly, Little Miss retained most of their names from June to October, when we visited family in Missouri. When I tell you Little Miss is my family, I mean it in every way. If I am allowed to adopt her, she will also be adopted by dozens and dozens of extended family. In our minds and our hearts, Little Miss is already a Drake.
I love Little Miss. I love that she now is safe and secure. I love that she is learning about decisions and consequences. I love that Little Miss is learning about faith and community.
Our last eleven months have not always been easy--life rarely is. We have both shed tears. Through those tears, though, I see one thing clearly, Little Miss and I ARE a family.
I sit here today, trying to recover from not even having the opportunity to hand my letter to the judge. Our broken system requires another delay. Another month. I had counted on all the people involved in this case to have done everything they were supposed to do SO much, that when it hadn't happened, I just fell apart.
And my idol is exposed. I want to be her forever mom SO much, that I have discarded my true God, and replaced Him with this idol. Devastation. Despair. Wanting to be her forever mom is not a bad thing, but it is not an ultimate thing. The devastation and despair I've allowed into my life show what happens when we place our hope on the wrong things.
Oh, Lord, help me. Help me to remember that you are refining me in this fire. Help me to lift my eyes to YOU, the One who can satisfy. You are the one who knows what needs to be done here. And as much as I love Little Miss, YOU love her more. And you love me too much to let me wallow in this despair.
I lift my eyes to you. More than ever, now I need to see You, Your character. Your care, Your compassion. Let me not waste the days wondering WHY, instead remind me to rest in You. You are always good--both to me and for me. Even now.