Gratitude

First, Sandra;

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. – John 14: 2-3

With some hesitation I proceed with this tribute, realizing that to do so is to compromise her very essence (how dare I?!). The essence of Sandra is humility…humility and love. And, my compromise of her essence, overcome by her own resilience. As I said earlier, it was no coincidence that brought Candice together with Sandra, the Lord knew who could reach her. They share a relationship that will last forever and we will forever be grateful to her, and to the Lord, for introducing her into our lives.

 

Secondly, Grandma, and, I am proud to say, my Mother, Ruth;

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5: 22-23

How unlikely that a bitter, pregnant, twenty year old girl, willingly, and yet, begrudgingly moved to live with her grandma, would develop a bond, a love, and an appreciation for her grandmother beyond any, she, at that time knew. Her grandma, exuding naturally, the Christ like qualities with which she was so abundantly blessed, and which she nurtured throughout her life, Candice could do nothing but reciprocate. But, knowing Candice, the real Candice, and knowing grandma, it should not be considered unlikely at all that this relationship would blossom. One of her very young, great grand children calls her “grandma great”, truer words were never spoken.

 

Third, and most importantly, our Savior, Jesus Christ;

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3: 16

 

What more can I add to that which has already been said of him by so many others, but to express for myself, now publicly, my gratitude for his sacrifice, and, through our trials, for my growing realization of the significance of his sacrifice. For through this, and through the gifts of the spirit, comes my developing, yet still very incomplete, understanding of the great paradox to which I referred in the preface to this book.

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; – D&C 88: 11

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Epilogue (but not the end)

Epilogue

I must admit to some vain fears, fear of how others would react to Candice’s pregnancies, particularly the second time, fear that some would, either in ignorance or arrogance, pass harsh judgment on Candice, and on us, and, fear of losing the relationship with her babies we tried so hard to nurture for the brief time before the placements. With help, my selfishness now conquered or at least under control, the latter fear is no longer a burden. As I have said, we love our adoptive family and know Candice did the right thing. My fear of the judgments of others proved, almost without exception, to be nothing more than paranoia. Most people, as I should have expected, were completely supportive and helpful, we appreciate their support more than we can say, these people truly exemplify the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A few however, were not as understanding. It is so easy to sit in the stands and call the plays, to say what could have or should have been done differently, or to offer seemingly obvious solutions to situations which in reality are far more complex than they can know…these solutions usually offered to other third parties with no direct involvment. We continue to pray for understanding and for the ability to forgive these people.

If you experience serious problems in your family or among your friends or acquaintances, do not let these kinds of fears influence your decisions. Our children, whatever their age, need the love and support of family, and of their Ward family as well. If we don’t give it to them freely and unconditionally, they will find someone else who will.

Though I have tried to acknowledge and thereby express my gratitude to all who played a role in our daughter’s life during this time, I would be remiss and ungrateful if I did not give special thanks and recognition to three who were of paramount importance.

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In their own words

Throughout this book I have taken the liberty of speaking for Mary, Candice, and my sons by using terms such as “we”, “us”, or “they”. We (there I go again) thought it an appropriate end that Mary and Candice contribute something of their own to this book. A big part of the healing process for us, following the placements, has been to write letters to the girls as soon after their births as our emotions would allow, we both did this for Ansley. Call me long winded (my kids do), but my letter to the twins became this book. Below are excerpts from Mary’s letter to them, followed by Candice’s own comments on her experiences

From Mary,

 

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Another Restoration (part 3)

The following is a letter from Marshall to Candice, written in response to a letter she wrote and gave to him after he was set apart to return to his mission. Though some of the references may be slightly vague, as they were intended only for Candice, you will understand the letter. Continue reading

Another Restoration (part 2)

A few weeks later, as she and Marshall prepared to move back to California, Candice said her goodbyes to some very special and influential people. People she had learned to love and to trust, people whose love and support had enabled her to endure two years of tremendous difficulty and sacrifice, and, more importantly for her, and for us, two years of tremendous growth. Continue reading

Another Restoration

And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me. – Alma 36: 27

Another restoration

One unintentional, yet inevitable, result of Candice’s downward spiral was the erosion of the trust that once cemented her relationships, her trust in others, and theirs, in her. As it should be, trust, like so many other things of value in life, is easily destroyed but very difficult to restore. Her deliverance nigh, Candice’s task now, even if not yet realized, was to reestablish what had been lost to her. Continue reading