About 11 months after the birth of the boy, we decided to go back on the “active” foster care list. Our intent was truly to adopt another older girl, but we stretched our preferences and said that we would accept children ages 0-10. In the praying process leading up to going active again, I felt the Lord speak the name “Anaiah” to my heart, telling me that that was going to be the name of our daughter. I had never considered that name and never known anyone with it. I looked it up and found that it means “God answers.” What a promise.
It wasn’t long before we got a call about a baby that was in the NICU that needed to be placed somewhere. This was not our intention (to foster babies), but our hearts are so tender and soft to these kids that we couldn’t say no.
The thought of having two babies – as our Boy was just 13 months at the time – was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage, but we said yes anyway.
We showed up at the hospital to pick her up. She was the tiniest, most fragile little person I had ever held in my arms, weighing only a little over four pounds. She had been born 9 weeks early and weighed a whopping 2 pounds, 14 ounces at birth. What a delightful surprise to learn that she and the Boy were exactly one year apart, sharing the same birthday.
My heart was swept away as I held her for the first time. I looked into those big blue eyes and her too tiny body and could barely keep my heart inside my chest. We spent all day at the hospital that day, going through all of the check-out procedures that NICU babies have to go through. I held her and talked to her and told her how excited I was to meet her. I remember feeding her that first tiny bottle and cradling her in my arms ever so carefully, truly afraid that I might snap her in half. I wondered where she had come from, wondered where she was going. I asked too many questions and tried to get information about her story.
I remember watching the Teacher as she slept on his chest. Seeing our Boy and our Teen kiss her and love her and gently nurture her. Such a tiny little girl. How could my heart be so involved already?
The months rolled along and the love grew and grew. There were days and nights of pleading for permanency, begging for adoption. I didn’t know where the story was going, but knew where my heart was and the thought of her leaving seemed too much to bear.
In the fall of 2011 we learned that our Fairy had an aunt who wanted to be her mom. Our little baby went to live with her aunt and uncle in the spring of 2012. She was just a few months shy of being one. I can tell you that the months leading up to her departure were some of the most heartbreaking, pain filled months I have ever experienced. It felt as though my heart might literally explode when she left. The only comfort and solace I found was in the fact that I knew, without a doubt, that our girl would be loved, nurtured, cherished and treasured by her family.
I vividly remember the last time I held our Fairy, as I handed her to her new mommy. She reached for me and I quietly told her, “Baby, you don’t need me anymore.” Those words played over and over in my mind for months. I knew they were true, she didn’t need me anymore, but I continued to feel like I needed her.
My heart literally ached for her every moment she was gone. We were at peace with her new life and home and continued on with our journey of fostering, but her sweet sprit left an imprint on my heart. We were been blessed with continued contact with her family and were able to see pictures of her on Facebook. Every time I see a new one, tears well up in my eyes and I tell the teacher, “There’s our baby.”
Our sweet girl moved to Korea shortly after going to her new home. To me, that was like closing a chapter. She was across the world now and she really and truly wasn’t mine. We moved on with life, fostering more babies, trying to find our way without her.
And then out of the blue one day – four and a half months after she left us – we got a phone call that literally made my heart stop. Our Fairy needed us and she was coming home.
The day after we got that phone call, I turned back to Jeremiah 31, a chapter that I had read and prayed over my girl many, many times while she was still with us. I was struck by verse nine on that day, which read, “Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them (her) home with great care.” Yes, Lord. This was the plan, this was the promise.
Our Fairy came home to us in October of 2012 and we were able to finalize her adoption in March of last year. We changed her middle name to Anaiah as a reminder of the beautiful journey that we have all been on together. We are so thankful that she is our daughter.
Click here to read about our other adoption.