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She had a vision of a little girl ... and an angel. That vision soon became a reality.
Was this a church? The high, vaulted ceilings made it seem like one–almost, but not exactly. That’s the way things often are in dreams, and I was dreaming now. Deeply. A woman entered the room. With her was a small child, a little girl in soft, lavender footie pajamas. She was barely a toddler, still a baby in many ways.
Her brown hair was braided and her big, dark eyes were beautiful. But it wasn’t their beauty that struck me so much as the quiet courage I saw reflected in them as the child took a tentative step forward.
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I sunk to my knees, putting myself at her level. Don’t be afraid, I thought. The girl hesitated a moment, clinging shyly to the woman. Then, as if making a decision she opened her arms and toddled to me.
My own arms were open and waiting to catch her. Her little body was soft and warm and right in my embrace. Like she belonged with me. “You’re fine,” I said as I rocked her gently. “Everything’s going to be just fine.”
I opened my eyes to the sound of my alarm clock. Beside me, my husband, Val, rolled over and got up. Elsewhere in the house I could hear our sons, Dash, 16, and Phineas, 6, stirring. I climbed out of bed. By the time the kids left for school and I started the breakfast dishes I barely remembered the details of my dream.
It was no surprise I was dreaming about children. After a lot of discussion, Val and I had decided to adopt a baby. A little girl, we’d agreed when we filled out the application. A little older than Phineas, so she would be in between the two boys in age.
Dash was already the best big brother anyone could ever ask for, and Phineas the friendliest, silliest kindergartner. We did laundry and yard work together, came up with family projects–we even had regular “family art days” in our craft room where Dash made duct tape wallets, Val sketched, and Phineas and I painted.
There was plenty of room for one more in our family. We filled out piles of paperwork, underwent background checks, took classes on how to care for a child from foster care who’d potentially been hurt in the past. Neglected, surely.
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I soaped up the dishes and thought about our daughter. I’d never met her. I’d only seen her in a photo, a grainy photocopy that barely captured her features. She was 18 months old, younger than we had planned.
“Can we handle a baby?” Val asked when the caseworker first told us about Dari. “Diapers? Middle-of-the-night feedings?”
He was right, but we decided to go to the interview anyway. “She’s been without parents since birth,” the caseworker explained when we got to her office. “She’s in foster care now. But she needs a forever home.” Despite our misgivings, we applied to adopt Dari. Now we just had to wait.
I dried the dishes and went upstairs to the nursery we’d fixed up for her. We refinished furniture, hung new curtains. Val painted a mural on the wall. I was excited to think about her coming to live here–but nervous too.
Once the agency decided to move Dari out of foster care, we’d have a transitional period. We would meet Dari, get to know her slowly. She’d spend the night with us occasionally until she felt at home. I mean, there were four of us and only one of her. We’ll need that transition as much as she will, I thought.