foster care

18 Thanksgivings and Counting

I carry the images of November 25, 1999, in my heart. Our court date was May 25 earlier in the same year. I recall the date well because it was my 35th birthday. When panic started to rise in my chest, I would remind myself that my name was on the missionary prayer calendar. Southern Baptists around the globe would be praying for me and my family. I still remember overwhelming feelings of relief when the judge brought down his gavel and rendered the verdict. However, the decision would not be final until November 25, Thanksgiving Day.

Family traveled to east Tennessee for our traditional Thanksgiving gathering. Every reunion is unique and filled with wonderful reasons to celebrate shared experiences. Back then roosters at the homestead would herald the day long before sunrise. On that occasion, I did not mind. It seemed they wanted to launch the festivities. As roosters began crowing, I felt the profound significance of the day.

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