My oldest girl, Hannah, will be seventeen in a few months. I'm still in shock.
Nine felt like yesterday.
My middle girl, Ashley, will be sixteen the month after that.
Where did the time go?
My youngest girl, Amy, is still new and still feels young. Good thing.
Amy is still learning how to be a part of a family. I've said before that I'm out of the rushing game. Amy gets to take her time. Frustrating us all by trying to shortcut the process isn't going to help anyone, especially her.
Time. That's what it takes. I wish there was a faster solution. Fairy dust, maybe?
The lack of "magic fixes" is what makes my older two such an integral part of the process.
Back when it was just two of us, we decided to throw our hat back into the adoption ring. We signed up. Ashley came.
And Hannah hated every minute of it.
She had been excited about getting a sister. She couldn't wait for the day they would meet.
But then reality didn't quite live up to her expectations.
The emotional battle I had fought when Hannah first came was now hers to fight. It wasn't easy to win. It wasn't easy to watch.
But with time and prayer and good ol' fashioned stick-with-it-ness, she won that battle. And I learned something I'll never forget.
I learned that no one can help the new one like the one who came before.
Have you ever been through something difficult? Something so traumatic or discouraging that it took your breath away? I have. And having someone beside me who had walked the same road was a tremendous blessing.
Hannah had walked Ashley's road. She had moved from foster home to foster home. She had lost the family she should have spent her entire life with. She had moved into my house and discovered the blessing of adoption, even when it didn't feel like a blessing.
She had been there.
And now she was there to help Ashley.
And now she and Ashley are there to help Amy.
These two forgive quickly when hurtful words have been said.
These two roll with the punches when plans change because someone pitches a fit.
These two include the new one, even when they know she's going to make the whole thing harder.
I'm better at what I do because of them.
Thankful for their compassion. Thankful for their sacrifice. Thankful for them.