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The Light House Retreat was a life-changing experience. There was so much healing that took place there. I am so blessed to have met all those little heroes that were forced into battle with cancer, and their families. I can’t wait to down load my camera and share more, but for now I have naming my 4th child on my heart and thought I would share…

Many have pondered (and so have I at one point) if a person can really love a child as their own if they were not actually born to them. For me that answer came early in life. When I was 16, I took care of 3 little boys, Todd age 3, Jack & Ben who were just born. I cared for them several years and fell in love right from the very beginning. In college I met the Hackett family and became their nanny for baby Paul. He too melted my heart and I simply fell in love. To this day one can search the very depths of my heart and find a love for these children that is as endless as time. As I nannied throughout college and afterwards with my daycare, there were many more children that I cared for and loved dearly.

Finally the day came when it was time for me to have my own baby. After Mason was born and as the years have gone by I can think back on all those children I cared for, especially those 4 boys and question the depth of the love I carried for them. Yes, I whole-heartedly loved those children. If I adopted I knew I could love that child. The question was, “Would I ever feel like she was really my child, or would I always feel like I was raising and loving someone else’s?”

For me, what set my children apart from the children that I cared for besides the obvious fact that they were growing inside me, was that I got to name them. Being able to actually name my children was one of the biggest highlights in my life. Being able to name my children set them apart and allowed me to claim them as my own. Honestly, I was concerned about how I would be able to bring a 4 year old into our home and feel like she was really ours, not that we wouldn’t love her, but would I always feel that I was taking care and loving someone else’s child.

So, God allowed a few things to fall right into place. In my heart I wanted us to be the ones to be able to name our own child. Miraculously when Anika came to us through the foster care system, she was already available for adoption. New name or not, once the Judge said she was ours, that’s when it would really all come together.

We have been so blessed with baby pictures and lots of family history given to us by Anika’s Great-Grandparents. In fact we were given an 18×24 photo of Anika when she was about 6 weeks old. When I stare into that picture, my heart just aches. I would give anything to have held her in my arms and experienced her as a new born. She was just beautiful! God’s perfect plan is not always our perfect plan. But still we are so grateful that God did allow us to have her and adopt her so quickly. Being able to name her was just icing on the cake.

Anika’s name originally was Rachel. So her new name was going to be Anika Rachel Powell. In fact for the first few weeks we called her Anika Rachel, so she could get used to Anika. Soon Rachel naturally fell away as it was easier to just say Anika.

About 2 weeks before the adoption was final, Doug and Anika were riding in the car with me. The name, “Ivy” popped into my head. Out of no where it was like God just threw that name at me. I turned to Doug and asked, “How do you like the name Ivy?” He said he loved it and he knew someone growing up with that name and so on… Then I turned around and asked Anika how she liked it. She said she loved it too!

Then I asked her, “Do you want your name to be Anika Rachel Powell, or Anika Ivy Powell”. She said with a big smile, Anika Ivy. After that I pondered the name Ivy in my head. Ivy… Ivy… Ivy… at first I thought about the green lush vines growing up a trellis.

THEN IT HIT ME… Ivy… Adelaine’s IV. All those IV’s she had to have placed into her body because of cancer. Her hand still to this day has a scar from one of them.

If it weren’t for those IVs Adelaine never would have gotten her sister, her best friend, our daughter, the answer to our family’s prayer.

It was through Adelaine’s cancer that we were able to meet Anika in the first place. It was through Adelaine’s’ cancer that I learned enough about nutrition that I felt I could help Anika loose all the extra weight and get healthy. (By the way she has only 5 more pounds to loose)!!!!

I am so thankful that we were able to name our forth child. Search the depths of my heart and you will find that the love for her is endless. Every child on this planet is a gift from God. They are His children He just lets us borrow them. I desired my brown- eyed girl even before I ever met my husband, and tried to get her. I also knew that I one day wanted children that looked just like me. Who knew that I would get married, have 3 children and that brown-eyed girl would come last?

For sure, Anika knows how loved she is. She is so proud of her new name and her beautiful brown eyes. (We play “Brown Eye Girl” for her often, that’s her song). She loves being adopted, she speaks of it often. She goes around the house telling each of us that we are hers forever! All of these things that were ours (including Daisy dog) are now hers, and she just loves it. She is so appreciative of everything she now has. As blessed as she is, we are equally blessed!

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So what’s in a name? I’m sure Adam had a great time naming all the animals so long ago! It was a real privilege for him to be able to do so, and a neat gift that God gave to him. Because I recognize this maybe that’s why I felt the need to name our current vehicles “Pearl” and “Georgette”!

Seriously though, being able to name our 4th child was such a gift and I am so grateful for that. Not only do I love Anika with the depths of my soul, but I do feel that she is my daughter. We are 100% sure that God’s plan was for us to be her parents and for her to be our child. She is a perfect match, a perfect gift from God!

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