As tomorrow approaches, and we prepare to celebrate the eighth birthday of our oldest daughter Madelyn Grace, my emotions are running high. Mady joined our family, through adoption, when she was three years old and I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on her. She was a mess; dirty, stringy hair, wearing tattered clothing that was much too small for her...just a sad sight, really. Except for that smile....and those big brown eyes. She was gorgeous, and in that moment, she won my heart!
Mady was very behind, developmentally and we were unsure if that was a disability or a consequence of the neglect that she had endured for the past three years. However, we quickly found out that, she was not only capable of learning, she was a very fast and eager learner! She caught up quickly and was able to attend preschool, where she interacted appropriately with her peers. When Mady brought home her first "sight word" book just before Christmas time, during her kindergarten year (and read it to us), we were overflowing with pride!
When Mady was six years old, she was attending a Christian summer day camp and having a blast! She came home one evening and asked me to pray with her. She told me that she wanted Jesus to live in her heart and she wanted to be made new! Any Christian mom who has ever experienced their child coming to know Christ, knows that there is absolutely nothing better in this life. I was honored to pray with her, through my tears, and a few short minutes later, Mady was saved. She was so excited to tell everyone she knew and declare her new-found faith. We were incredibly proud of our little girl's very big decision. The lost little girl that I fell in love with 3 years earlier, had been found!
When I think about the day that Mady was born, I wonder where I was....what I was doing the day that my daughter was born. I think about her birth mother and I pray for her. And, I think about God's plan in all of this; all of the things that had to fall into place for our family to be formed and for Mady to be our child. Most of all I praise God for loving Mady so much and for blessing our family with one of the kindest, most caring, loving, and funny little girls I have ever known. Words cannot express how much we love Mady and how proud we are of the person she is becoming.