I spent this past weekend with Kayley and her family.
I can't describe to you the overwhelming sense of confirmation that I did the best thing for my daughter 5 years ago when I placed her for adoption. She is with the right family.
She was meant to be their daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece/cousin.
I met up with James, Stephanie, Kayley, Maggie, James' sister, brother, sister in-law, nieces, nephew and parents all on the temple grounds Saturday morning.
Jay and I were late getting there because little miss Autumn spit up all over her first outfit - so we almost missed them.
I dashed out of the waiting area for patrons not going into the temple when I saw them walk past the window toward the temple grounds exit. I scrambled as fast as my legs would carry me (unencumbered by the baby stroller that was waiting with Jay - Autumn tucked inside) and called out "Stephanie! Stephanie! Steph!" 'till I got her attention.
Actually, I got her mother in-laws attention first who echoed my cry to Stephanie.
It was like I caught up with one of my best friends. Her face lit up when she saw me and promptly came over to give me a hug!
Of course she asked: "Are your husband and baby here?!"
I sheepishly answered that yes, they were, and that we had gotten there later than we had expected to. We had a brief conversation as they were headed over to the reflecting pool to take pictures with the photographer she had hired - but I told her that I would go grab Jay and Autumn and meet them all over there.
As Jay and I walked over toward this group of practically strangers I felt very anxious - how was everyone going to react to meeting me?! I was practically petrified.
All that melted away immediately when we caught up to them and - James' mother Beverly took me into her arms in a very warm and tight embrace saying: "I've wanted to give you a hug for a very long time."
Every little tiny worry and doubt in my mind vanished. It was confirmation all over again that these people were exactly who God wanted my little girl's family to be.
Stephanie introduced me to Kayley - who immediately gave me a hug, and to the rest of the family that was there.
James' dad also gave me a very warm embrace and whispered words in my ear that brought tears to my eyes: "Thank you so very much for your sacrifice." I could only respond "you're welcome."
What else could I say?! I knew 5 years ago that James and Stephanie were supposed to be my little girls parents. I couldn't have asked for more than that - but she was given so much more. She was given a complete family of people that love and adore her. Something I hadn't even considered in my shallow 20 year-old mind when I gave her away. I just knew that it was about love.
That's what it's always been about. I love my daughter. I've always loved her. Deeper than I can explain to anyone that has never had children, or any child that they love or care for. I loved her enough to know that, even though I loved her more than I ever thought possible, I couldn't be the best mom for her when I was that young. When I was still growing up myself. When there were years of uncertainty before me. When I didn't have someone to be her daddy by my side - married to me. I wasn't my daughter's best option. I loved her enough to know that and to give her the best thing I could - a complete family. A forever family.
Saturday confirmed all of that, all over to me.
It's about love.
It always has been - and it always will be. I love you Kayley. I love you Stephanie & James. I love your family. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. When saying goodbye to James, Stephanie, Maggie and Kayley on Monday - Kayley gave me a bouquet of flowers picked in the grass where we were, gave me a hug and said "Goodbye, I love you." She said to me the same four words I said to her 5 years earlier. I cannot deny that it's about love.