My sweet Chelley girl, you are a warrior. You are full of strength and gentleness, humor and sassiness, laughter and mourning. 

These words do not comprise the beautiful, blinking, breathing, beating, you. 

There is ugliness and grief in this world and you have experienced much of it. While I’ve known spilled milk and missed buses and waking up too late, you have lived through being taken from your family, watching your birth mother pass away, and being placed in an orphanage for three years. You were uprooted again from your Haiti home to come be with your forever family—a family who loves and adores you in ways you had never before known.

I will not pretend to understand what any of this feels like, and I wish I could guarantee that you will not taste blackness and see darkness. I wish I could be your shield and your eraser and smooth away everything that happened before I met you. But you have taught me that even though darkness exists, so does light. 

You have shown me that even though you are small, you are a fighter, and in the brokenness, you are whole, and you are carried.

On the day that you came home, I wrote to you, “There will be days that you sing and fly and dance until you’re dizzy and I will take pictures and laugh with you and those days will be so precious. There will also be days, as we have experienced, that are hard and infuriating, when you feel overwhelmed with loss. I will love you and fight for you, always.”

Today was one of those ethereal and precious days, where your smile made my heart leap, your laugh sounded like boo, and we spun until the world became blurry. 

I'm thankful for the good days, the hard days, and every day in between with you, my sweet Chelley girl.

Chelley was adopted from God's Littlest Angels, an orphanage located in the mountains above Petion-Ville, Haiti. Read our story about the children at GLA here, and find out more about their organization and how to get involved here