Dreams, Adoption, and the Prom
By Liz Schwab
Dreams…they are just dreams. I wake up in tears from emotions and soon realize that my dreams are not real. It’s a hard fact to accept.
I sometimes force my eyes shut and pray that I can have the dream begin again. I see her – a sweet toddler squealing and running to her daddy for protection while her mom chases her. Their laughter and love fill the air.
I stand outside in the cold and look through the window, but I bask in the beautiful moment. I listen to the laughter and see their faces beaming with happiness. I start to laugh myself. To see the joy and happiness on all their faces made my heart so warm. But the happiness is fleeting. My body gets colder; I grab ahold of the windowsill as the beautiful moment starts to fade. No, no, no! I don’t want to leave! I don’t want to go! Everything slowly fades away until it is completely dark. I lie in my bed freezing from the cold and hug my shoulders. Tears stream down my cheeks and I am alone again. Silence fills the air now and it is too quiet. My sobs break the silence as reality sets in; I don’t have her with me. I don’t have anything. I am empty. A part of me has been ripped out of my heart and placed with another.
When I settle down I pray. I beg for mercy and strength that I don’t have. I pray for relief from the pain and loneliness that I feel. Warmth surrounds me. Spiritual arms embrace my shaking body. It calms me and hope and faith slowly return. My Heavenly Father comforts me and tells me that she is where she is supposed to be. My beautiful little girl is being raised by a mother and father, who love her to the ends of the earth. Now she has what I couldn’t give her. I placed her for a reason. This is what I wanted for her, this is what I chose for her, a family.
Time passed and I held fast to the thought that “she has the best.” I hope and pray that she will want to see me again someday. I had always hoped, always dreamed… and time only made that hope stronger.
My life moved forward in remarkable ways. I met the love of my life, the man that completed me. He brought out the best in me and I could genuinely smile and laugh again. We married, and have five beautiful children who add so much excitement and love to our lives. However, something was still missing, something my heart ached for, my sweet baby girl. The one I only saw now in my dreams. I prayed all was well for her and that she was happy, wondering where her dreams were taking her.
On her 16th birthday, I felt inspired to write to her, knowing that the chances were slim that she would receive the letter. I imagined her having her sweet 16 surrounded by her family. It made me happy to know she is loved by so many. I wished so badly to be able to peek though that window from my dreams of years ago.
One week later I received a phone call saying a letter was waiting for me! When I arrived and was handed the envelope, I held it as if it was pure gold. I pressed it to my heart and rushed out of the building to my car. I opened the envelope and pictures fell out. Pictures! Tears! There she was, my beautiful gift from God! She was grown up! There she was, doing all the things that she loved to do, smiling those beautiful smiles I had only imagined and seen in my dreams. My dream of seeing her again was becoming a reality! She is beautiful, she is happy. I could not believe the things I was seeing and reading. They love me, they miss me, they accept me and want me in their lives!
After some time getting reacquainted through letters and email, it was time to meet again. I was so nervous, so excited, so many emotions. When Nicole and Lisa entered the room, my husband had to help me stand on anxious legs. He nudged me toward her and I didn’t know what to do or how to act. I just stood there frozen and empty minded as all thoughts disappeared from my mind. I wanted to run up to her, hold her in my arms and jump up and down, exactly what a teenager would not want in the middle of a crowded place! All these years of being in the dark and suddenly there was nothing but light. She was here, standing right next to me! We looked at each other and hugged. I didn’t want to let go, but I knew she needed to breath. We found a place to sit and talk. Hours passed and years melted away.
I never want this to end, this time I am not dreaming. This is real! She is here, right here with me. Unbelievable! All too soon it was time to go, we hugged again, said goodbyes and I wondered, what’s next? As I was walked away all the emotions hit me at once and I couldn’t breathe. I sat on a concrete wall and sobbed, but this time it was different. I was in disbelief that the past few hours had really happened. The hole in my heart was suddenly gone. She is happy and she loves me! That, to me is priceless and is everything that I had ever dreamed about.
It has been almost two years since I wrote that letter. I have been able to be at many of Nicole’s events during her last years of high school. My kids adore her. Her family loves my family. We are a family. Her mom and I share a bond that is beyond words. It is proof to me that Heavenly Father did not forget about me, ever!
The day of Nicole’s Sr. Prom her mom had to work, something she could not change. She asked me if I could be her “Mom” for the day. Take care of all the preparations and share the day with her, as she got ready for her last dance and milestone in her final year of high school. I was thrilled and honored that both Lisa and Nicole would want me to be the one to do that. I was so excited and happy with the opportunity. Together we went and got her makeup done, followed by her hair. I watched in awe and wiped away a few tears as I reflected on the beauty of the moment. I took her home and helped her get dressed, in a gown fit for a princess. Again, I looked at her amazed that my journey had brought me to this point. She was elegant, sweet and beautiful. I had to pinch myself to make sure this was all real. I wasn’t outside in the cold anymore, watching through a window, terrified that it would all slip away. That dream had been replaced by a much better one, and my heart was full. As my beautiful girl twirled around in her princess dress, tears of joy filled my eyes. I hugged her and told her good bye, knowing she would always be part of my life.