Thousands of years ago, God shared his plan with Abram.  It went something like this…  “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen 12:2).  A few years ago my wife and I realized that we, too, had been blessed.  This wasn’t solely for our own enjoyment, but so that we could be a blessing to others.

For our family, this meant opening our home to others.

When our foster daughter arrived at our house, she was a mess.  So distraught from being pulled from everything she knew, she had thrown up on herself in the car ride over.  She was scared.  Her eyes looked hollow.  There was nothing remotely close to a smile on her face.

(This picture was taken a few minutes after she arrived at our home)

This grainy photo is one of the only ones we have from that day.  I both love it and hate it.  I love it because I remember how thrilled we were to step into this girl’s life.  We knew our home was a safe place where God could provide love, security and healing for her little heart.  I hate it because there seems to be such a disconnect from the joy in our eyes and the pain in hers.

That first night with her seems like such a blur.  I remember that she couldn’t really talk yet, so she was frustrated by her inability to communicate with us using words.  She mainly just watched us, confused.  At one point, I tried to show her how much “fun” I had with the boys while wrestling.  Yeah, bad idea.  Her panicked screaming and crying revealed to me that the strength of a man wasn’t a good thing, from her experience.

What is very clear to me about that first night was when I put her to bed.  As I do with all our kids, I went to her bed to tuck her in and sing a little song over her.  That night I sang, “Jesus Love Me.”  What grabbed my heart is that while I sang, she tried to join me, with her little babbling sounds.  Needless to say, my heart melted.

That was then.

It’s been 14 months.  Many of you have walked with us and prayed with us through this journey.  I’ve posted pics along the way under the heading, “The Face of Fostering.”  Months ago, I told a little more about her in this post, and detailed then ending of her case in this post.

Yesterday we went before the judge with her for the last time .  After signing much paperwork and answering some formal questions asked by a couple of attorneys – and now friends – the judge got off the bench and came down to join us in the front.  She asked our little girl who I was.  She said, “daddy.”  The judge asked who Steph was.  “Mommy.”

 

(Here we are in the courtroom, surrounded by friends and family.  Steph is holding our foster son, who we will be introducing on this blog in the next couple of weeks.)

Then she stated it clearly, “I hereby pronounce you to be the daughter of Kevin and Stephanie East, and today change your name….”

Steph and I are very grateful and proud to formally introduce you to our little girl, Hannah Joy East.

Isn’t she the most beautiful little girl….

hannah-cake

To celebrate “Hannah East” day, she enjoyed these cake pops from our friends at Family Matters.

Again, thank you to all of you who have walked this with us.  We are so excited to watch Hannah grow up into her namesake – one that will bestow grace upon grace to others.

Amen and amen.

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless, maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 82:3-4

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