Once upon a time you lived far, far away from your forever family. Your mommy and daddy and your big brothers longed for the day when they could hold you in their arms and bring you home. You see, they loved you from the very beginning, even before you were born. They hoped for you and waited for you and your mommy was breathless the day she got The Call, the day they sent your picture. Your mommy and daddy took one look at you and knew in their hearts that you were their Finley Grace.
They had to wait such a long time to meet you, Finley Grace, much longer than they had hoped. So while they waited, they worked and they played and they laughed and they cried and they took care of your brothers...and then they waited some more. And all the while you were never far from their thoughts or prayers.
And here's the thing, Finley Grace, something I want you to know. It wasn't just your mommy and your daddy and your big brothers who waited and waited, it was also your grandmas and grandpas, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your neighbors, your friends from church, your home team. Everybody wanted you home.
Then one spring day, your mommy got another call, after waiting for four years, after holding your picture for 18 months, a call that said they should travel to meet you. Your mommy and daddy were so, so excited, but also a little sad because this wouldn't be the trip to take you home.
Now your mommy and daddy always knew their would be one big trip to pick you up and take you home, but they didn't know there would be two. In order to get to you, they had to get on a big airplane and fly across the ocean, and tickets for big ocean-crossing airplanes cost a lot of money. And while your mommy and daddy would have moved mountains to get to you -- they would have sold everything they owned if they had to -- we (your mommy and daddy's friends and family) didn't think that would be quite right.
So we did what we thought was the next right thing: we threw them a garage sale. Now there's the kind of friendship that brings you a meal when you're sick or shows up in the hospital in the middle of the night when you're scared. And then there's the kind of friendship that throws you a garage sale. Someday you might throw your friend a garage sale and then you will understand: we loved your mommy and daddy that much. We loved YOU that much.
So for weeks, we gathered books and shirts and toys and lamps (so, so many lamps) from people who wanted to help and then for days (and even some nights) we sorted and dusted and stuck little fluorescent stickers on everything so people would know a picture frame cost $1 and a pair of shoes cost $2.
And then we tucked ourselves into bed, weary and tired, but happy knowing we were doing something to help bring our Finley Grace home. We woke early on garage sale day and posted signs all over our town and hauled table after table out of the garage and before we even had time for a quick snack, they came, Finley Grace, they came. Person after person streamed up the driveway, many just looking for a bargain, but many because they knew your mommy and daddy, because they knew they had been waiting for so long. Many people came who didn't know your mommy and daddy or you at all, but they still wanted to help which blew us away.
They bought armloads of things and they often paid five or even ten times the amount they owed. They said things like keep the change. They told their own stories, they shared kind words, they offered hope. They wanted to see your picture, Finley Grace. They wanted to hear your story.
Your mommy's friends showed up to help too. They bagged purchases and rotated goods and endured swarms of vicious mosquitoes. Other friends came out just to say hello and brought us treats. One friend even brought us iced lattes when she realized we hadn't had time to eat. (One day when you are a grown up lady, Finley Grace, you will understand the power of the random-act-of-kindness latte.)
At the end of the garage sale, we had raised enough money for those expensive airplane tickets. We could hardly believe our eyes. In the midst of the hard and the long, God had breathed goodness right smack dab into the middle of it, right in the midst of a somewhat dirty garage filled with cast-off kitchenware and home decor. God had used your mommy and daddy's community to remind them that they were not alone. God had used strangers to show us that we are all connected.
I'm telling you this story, Finley Grace, because I want you to know something. I want you to know that even though the world is sometimes hard and long and scary and sad, there is still so much good in the world. If you look closely, you can see the good all around you, often in the eyes and the hearts and the hands of others. I hope you will learn to spot the good, to recognize the good, to applaud the good. I hope when you grow up you will be someone who finds ways to share this goodness with others.
You see, Finley Grace, the good in the world, the goodness of God, it will always be a part of your story, beginning in the chapter entitled Bringing Finley Grace Home, and then woven throughout the rest.
You are loved, Finley Grace, and God is good. Never forget these things.
With much love,