“Family not only need to consist of merely those whom we share blood, but also for those whom we’d give blood.” -attributed to Charles Dickens
Recently, a particularly special person in my life welcomed a beautiful baby girl into her life. She and her husband had been praying for what seemed like an eternity, and God has surely listened— little Hattie is proof.
As congratulations and some of the cutest baby pictures I’ve ever seen garnished my newsfeed, a feeling of elation came over me. She may truly be the luckiest little girl in the world. Mara and Chad are absolutely amazing people with so much to give, not to mention their two fantastic fur-children (meet Wiley and Jenny here!).
Deep down, this happiness extends even past my excitement for Hattie’s arrival. I can relate to her story in an unusual way, and it makes the feeling so much stronger.
This could have been me. I came as a total surprise to my mom, and she nearly died while having me. My birth father left early in my life, leaving a few scattered memories and a Playstation. For years, it was just me and Mom, bringing us Gilmore Girls-close. We met my Dad when I was in kindergarten, and he joined us, with my sister following suit.
Note that he’s my Dad. Many people in this kind of situation prefer “stepdad”— I don’t. Those are too often the same people that have their “real dad” in their life, or hold onto hope that he’ll be back. It took me more time than I’d like to admit, but my dad took that position over permanently; there isn’t a chance in Hades of the idiot who left taking his place.
There was no guarantee of it working out this way. My Mom could have given me up when we struggled through the hospital in ’95 or given up on single parenting when the going got tough. She didn’t. Dad could have balked at the concept of taking on a woman and her six-going-on-sixteen daughter. He didn’t.
I wasn’t traditionally adopted and I recognize how unbelievably lucky I am that my mom never gave up. My dad and I don’t always see eye to eye on things, but I couldn’t care less.
So, today’s Thankful Thursday belongs to my parents, to Mara and Chad, and to all other parents who, in one way or another, persevere and give their all to these little girls and boys. Thank you for everything.