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A Walk Down the Aisle

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I quite honestly don’t know where the time has gone.  Each year seems to pass by so much more quickly than the last, and it’s all I can do to keep up.  It just doesn’t seem right that it’s gone this fast…like it was just yesterday we walked down the aisle together.  It’s been a wild ride indeed…and I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Adoption Day, Daughter Date,

Sixteen months old on Adoption Day on April 15, 2001 vs.
14 years old on a Daddy/Daughter Date Night in March 2014.

You amaze me every day, and I just don’t tell you that enough.  You’re beautiful inside and out.  From a hole in the heart  to a young lady on the edge of high school who is still silly and fun with a sense of wonder and awe that inspire.  I loved you the day I first met you in the hospital as a baby, and I love you more now.  Happy Adoption Day baby girl.

Love,

Dad

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Watch Out For That Alligator in Your Ear…He’ll Poke Your Eye Out

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For most people, today is tax day, but it’s so much more than that. For me, it’s the day I walked my beautiful daughter down the halls of the courthouse to sit down with the judge to finalize your adoption.

Walking my daughter down the aisle

Walking My Daughter Down The Aisle – April 15, 2001

Which in itself is still quite the miracle – it was only a few short months before, near your second birthday, that you started walking. Born with Ventricular Septal Defect (a hole in the inner lining of the heart), it was all your little body could do to stay alive, let alone develop and grow like everyone else’s.

I still vividly remember the days surrounding your open heart surgery at the young age of 11 months.

Open Heart Surgery

PICU recovery room following open heart surgery at 11 months old.

What a ride that was! And what a drastic change in you when you woke up afterward…the life that had been missing from your eyes for 11 months was finally there…and was burning with a passion to get out there and live.

Open Heart Surgery

Recovering and Ready to Go!

Most days, I still can’t believe that was 11 years ago. You have taught me so much about life, my young child, that I could write for hours about it and only scratch the surface. God has used you to change me for the better in so many ways…made me a more responsible man. Shown me that a smile and a cheerful heart can brighten the worst of days. Helped me overcome my shyness. Taught me compassion and true love. Planted patience and acceptance in my heart that continues to grow everyday. Deepened my faith and trust in God with the realization that I need Him to be the dad you need me to be. Proven to me that with God, we can overcome any adversity. Guided me through uncertain times with the knowledge that He has it all in his hands. Shown me how He truly can heal the broke-hearted and use the weak in powerful ways to humble the strong. And reminds me every now and again that having fun keeps us young… that we’re never too old for butterfly, Eskimo, and frog kisses, or that we have water-skiing alligators in our ears that do amazing and creative things – right before they poke us in the eye for peeking in on them.

Happy Adoption Day baby girl! I love you!

Love,

Dad

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:14-16

Forever Your Daddy

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Thirteen years ago today, God sent an angel to earth…handpicked with a purpose. I couldn’t be there the day you were born, but I was there four months later when you came home to us. I was there in the PICU after your open heart surgery a month before your first birthday…and I was there when we finalized your adoption, making me your forever daddy. I loved you the moment I first saw you, and I haven’t stopped loving you since. I will love you to the end of time. You are beautiful in every way…and you bring a smile to the lives of everyone you touch. You are more like Jesus than any person I know. You know no stranger, and are a friend to all…regardless of how someone treats you, you love them for who they are. From that very first day, you have stirred within me a desire to be a better man…and even now thirteen years later, my dear SD, you make me want to be a better daddy.

My wish for you is a long life filled with, love, joy and peace. I pray you will one day understand what it means to have a heavenly Father, and choose to follow Him. Because as awesome as it is that God chose me to be your forever daddy here in this life…it’s even more awesome that He is your Forever Daddy…forever.

Love,

Dad

P.S. I love this picture, taken just a couple months ago. This was a fun day…and it reminds me how much fun you are. 🙂

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Maybe I Should Have Hugged You

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It was a chance encounter, to us at least…God had it planned out long ago. Had I spent 30 seconds longer talking to that friend after our men’s Bible study…had I not sat in the parking lot for a minute after dropping him off at his car to send an email…had I not sat in the truck in my driveway scrolling through Facebook posts for 5 minutes when I got home…or had I walked around the front of the truck when I got out and straight in the house, instead of walking around behind it…it never would have happened. I was never prepared for it when I stepped out of the truck. And I regret that. Because I think I would have hugged you.

Last night was the first time we’ve talked in over a year…close to two years. It was the first time I’ve seen you in about a year. I have been praying for you every day since you left…even before that. Praying for your safety…your salvation…your life. Praying that one day our relationship would be restored. Praying that I would have the words to say when we met again. Praying that I would handle it well. I hope I did. I don’t think I did…because I think I should have hugged you.

At our men’s Bible study tonight, we talked about love. It was a great study of the Word. I thought I learned something from it. Apparently, not enough. Because I should have told you I love you. I should have asked if we could meet again. I should have invited you to church…to our next men’s group. I should have hugged you.

Maybe what little I said and did in that 4 minutes was just what God wanted me to do and nothing more. I sure hope so, because in my humanness, I can’t help but wonder if I said enough. Maybe I’ll never know. Either way, I have to trust that God is still working in your life. Maybe I’ll never see you again. I hope that’s not the case…if it is, I will forever wonder if Maybe I Should Have Hugged You. Please know that I still love you. And I always will son.

Love,

Dad

It’s More Than Tax Day

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Nine years. Really? It doesn’t seem right to say it’s been almost a decade…yet it has been. For the rest of the country, April 15 is a day of dread…tax day…the deadline to file our state and federal taxes. For our family, it’s so much more. Looking back on this day nine years ago, I remember being scared and filled with anxiety. Nervous because we were taking the final step to becoming parents. Nervous that the judge would look at us and say, “you’re crazy to think you can be good parents”. Nervous that he would not finalize what in our hearts had been made final long before…what in God’s eyes had been made final before the dawn of time.

I remember being filled with worry…worry about how good a dad I would be. I wasn’t walking with the Lord then, so my worry seemed justified. Now, as my trust in our Father grows, my worry diminishes daily. While I still dwell on the things of this life…how to protect you…how to nurture your spirit…how to provide for you…how to be a good daddy, my trust is in the Lord, so I rely upon Him to worry about the things I cannot control. Truth be told, though, there’s still a part of me that knows I’m crazy to think I’ll ever be a good daddy.

What a happy day that was. You were so beautiful in your white dress…blonde hair and big blue eyes looking up at me with your amazing smile. Your smile still melts my heart. What a ride it’s been. As I look back on the nine years since we finalized your adoption, I look forward to many many more years with you by our side.

Happy Adoption Day!

Love,

Dad