Daddy-Daughter Date-Kelly's Story

As Valentine's day approaches, I try to not only do something special for my wife, but I like to do something special for our 17 year old adopted daughter, Kelly, as well.

Us as we embark on Daddy-Daughter date.

Kelly's story is a story of being blessed.  Now this not a story of how Kelly has been blessed since she has come to live with us.  It is Kelly that has been the blessing to us, and to people all over the state of Alabama.

Kelly was raised in a small town in Alabama in a place that had no running water, no regular toilets, and no proper shelter. Her "houses" were rental storage sheds. She mentioned one time to us that she was in charge of  "the bucket". I didn't realize what that meant until she explained it was her job to take the "waste" bucket to the woods and dump it out. 

Kelly is also intellectually disabled.  She physically has no disabilities, but intellectually struggles to comprehend and retain information.  

She needed to be taught how to bathe, how to wash her hair, how to eat healthy and eat veggies. With the help of great special education teachers, we worked on teaching her strategies to help her in areas she struggled.  We tried to help her socially by getting her involved in social clubs at school and church. 

In all of this, she was a sweet 12 year old girl (at the time), and was willing to do anything to please you. She did it with a smile on her face. Everyone around Kelly loves her.
Let's Roll!

My wife and I decided to become foster and adoptive parents before we even got married.  So after we were married we went through the process in the Department of Human Resources to become foster and adoptive parents. And for a year and a half, the paperwork for us seemed to never come through. So we had basically decided to give up being foster parents. Until one day, we received a call from DHR and said they had a child they thought would be a good fit. So we expedited the paperwork and finally got licensed. Little did we know that the little girl that was a good fit would be Kelly. She was our first foster child. 

We go to her favorite place, Cracker Barrel.
We had Kelly for over three years as a foster child. There were a few times we thought we were going to lose her. After three years of waiting, the parental rights were severed and there were no family members that were able to adopt her.  We had the option to adopt her, because we took the foster and adoptive classes.

This is a song that never ends for us.

Finally the day come where we adopted Kelly. She was 16 years old and was a part of our family from the first day she came through our door.  She wanted to change her last name to ours, and she has been with us since. It has even been said she favors us!

Kelly getting her favorite breakfast.
Some people have said we gave her a better life.  I believe that the lives that have been made better and blessed the most are ours and the ones she has come in contact with.  People, from all over the state, know and love Kelly. She has taught me how to be a father, learn patience, and how to give an evil eye to boys. Our lives are changed forever because of her, because she is now a part of our forever family!

She wanted some Tutti Frutti for dessert.

What is next for us? Kelly said to us not long after we adopted her, "Now I want a little brother". We are planning over the next two years of adopting internationally from China.  We are hoping and praying we can get the process started soon.

Kung-Fu Panda 3 in the dark!

So there is a little detail on Kelly. This barely scratches the surface of the things we have experienced as a family. It seems that God put everything together for us to be together. And for that, we are thankful.

 She is actually the second adoption for us. We can leave out the other girl...

Molly. Don't forget Molly!

Oh, and what did I have at Cracker Barrel? French toast with eggs over easy!

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