I've told the story about how my relationship with my biological parents, religion, and foster care came into place, but I never told the story about how I found the parental love I had been lacking. Being adopted to me was a foreign concept. Along with being in foster care, being adopted wasn't on my list of priorities, since I had been neglected by my own biological mother and was corrupted by my biological father. I didn't need them, nor did I need any new parents.

My first set of foster parents weren't the best. They didn't value me as who I am but rather who they could make me be. I met Dave and Dana through the church my first family attended. It wasn't like an instant connection, but I got to visit their household, where I truly felt at home. It wasn't until many months later when my first family didn't work out and I was fortunate enough to be transferred into their home. Saying I'm lucky is an understatement.

I never knew what it was like to experience motherly-love. To have a mother that wasn't constantly yelling at me, trying to fix me, neglecting me, or wishing I was someone else. Dana taught me so many things that come with being a mother.

Unconditional love.

I've heard of this, but she still loved me while I was going through my rough patches, telling myself I 'hated' them, even though that wasn't true. When I sprained my ankle, I had lied about staying after school for a 'class' when I was really staying after school to hang out with a boy. Dana was, of course, upset with me, but still took me to the hospital, helped me with my crutches, and didn't let me suffer when I needed help.

I also got to experience the kind of mother-daughter things that are normal (something I definitely needed). We would get our nails done together, she would help me pick out prom dresses, buy something for me without asking just because it looked like something I'd like, and when I got to college, she would check up on me when I broke up with my boyfriends, send me money when I was struggling, and always made sure I was included even though I'm far away from the family. I love getting the phone calls that start with "You'll never guess what your sister did…"

When the time came in court for me to decide, I looked my biological mother in the face and didn't feel familiar. I don't feel that love from her but from Dana, my mother soulmate. She didn't give birth to me, she didn't get to raise me, but she got to be there when it was important; when I truly needed someone to claim me, even if I wasn't in the right mental health to claim her just yet.

My one-year adoption date is coming up, December 19th, and I'm so excited to be able to even say that! I love you very much Dana and I know I'm far away from college, and I don't text/call much because I'm busy but I love you very much. Thank you.