Thinking about Ashley.....
Ashley was 17 when we took her in to raise her. This was 2 years ago. The first picture is us 2 years ago out hunting for the perfect Christmas tree. The second is Ash holding Maddy. She was all dressed up and ready to go to school. She grew up in a lot of heartache, to say the least. She ended up at 17, dropped out of school, dad incapable of handling her, and a mom headed back into state mandated rehab. We had only known her a short time, but had a love for this young gal, and a desire to show her a stable loving home. We signed the paperwork to become temporary guardians, put her back in school, and took her home! What an adventure it truly was....lots of tears for me, and her.... tough times with us all. It was not easy for her to switch into a loving home, she was a fish out of water, and she was trying with all her might to follow our structure. She loved us dearly, but still had some "stuff" of her own to figure out. We had a lot of smiles and good times too! Like Christmas traditions, learning how to cook, being a part of church, helping me with Maddy, our extended family accepting her, celebrating her 18th b-day with all the special touches! I told her my goal for her, was to finish high school, that's it. Well, it didn't happen. She only had one month to go and the tempations of the wrong things took over no matter how much we fought it and prayed desperately. She dropped out and ran away.....so, like a typical sad story, things for her were awful, living in this place and that place, we lost contact for awhile, but grieved for her, and hoped that we showed her just something that she could take with her. She got pregnant and had her baby right after her 19th birthday, I was there at the hospital the day after. We shed tears, and hugged and patched everything back up.
So fast forward to now..... She married a guy who wants to raise the baby as his own, Zach was best man and I, maid of honor. We are their mentors, and its just so precious. They are trying so hard to pedal against the odds stacked upon them. Tough backgrounds, being poor, and little educated. They attend church, take incredible care of their baby, and have a little apartment that they take good care of.
They came over for dinner this last week, and I took many pictures of her gorgeous baby, Gabriella. It just struck me, that when she was living with us Maddy was the exact age that Gabby is now. It's a strange full circle, but I'm happy to be a part of it. Ashley tells me that she wants to be the mom to Gabby as I am a mom to Maddy. That she has watched me, and wants the home that Zach and I have created together. She wants to emulate me! Wow, that's quite a thought for me. I am truly blessed to be given such a sacred responsibility, and all the tears and grieving I experienced for Ashley now feels so worth it. The full circle of having the opportunity to change little Gabriella's future! WOW again.
"Thank you Lord for showing me that I do matter in ways far reaching, and only You know..."