I am no stranger to heartbreak in this lifetime. In the Spring of 2014, I found myself heartbroken over a lack of promotion at work, which led me to believe I should move on to something or somewhere else. I had worked at WCHS since 2006, and honestly, I had given my blood, sweat, and many tears for that school. Somehow I lost sight of what I was there to do–make lives better. I was young and very driven in my thirties. I formed strict standards for myself, and while busy making plans, life throws a curveball.
I interviewed at a neighboring school system twice that spring, and I was offered the job after the second one. My heartache seemed vindicated with this new position; unfortunately, one’s blind ambition and conceited ways tend to follow him or her. I may have had a new position, but I was still the same stupid me. It was obvious to me and my new bosses that I had sabotaged myself early on, and I found myself resigning half way into the school year, bidding my time till May. I would return to WCHS for five more years, but as each new school year began after my failure, I fought the urge to redeem myself.
I longed to understand why I had to take this year hiatus, and I needed to find the larger meaning in my mistake. Certainly, God had intended that year for more good than just my personal growth. I do not wish to underscore the importance of personal growth, but I thought about my failure daily–over and over again. I prayed for forgiveness for my hubris and for my mistakes, and I begged for hope in this situation as my depression and doubt continued to plague me.
While my internal turmoil raged, my daughters fought their own battles. Anya had to return to Wilcox as a ninth grader, leaving her new school and friends behind. Sophia was thrown back into the same group of mean girls that she endured since pre-K. We were a single mother and two daughters with so much hurt, so many scars. There were a few bright notes in our bump in the road. We all met such wonderful, beautiful people and friends at Bleckley County. Most of them, we all still love and interact with weekly.
At the end of 2015, there was one person in particular who left her mark on our hearts, Kasey Meeks. She quickly became Anya’s best friend in eighth grade, and my family welcomed her to gatherings and to parties. It felt as if Kasey had always been right there with us the entire time.
How stupid was I not to see how wonderful our new normal was?!
On January 12, 2016, Kasey was spending the night with us when I brought Chris home to meet the girls for the first time. She fell asleep in my arm chair while we watched a movie in the living room. Unbeknownst to her, she broke the ice and tension of a new relationship by farting hysterically loud in her sleep. Chris and I still laugh about that evening five years later!
Kasey was our hypothetical fourth child even before Liam was born. She went with us on vacations, she attended every WCHS dance with Anya, and she shared in our happiness and our struggles. While she was a Sophomore in high school, I began to notice changes in Kasey. Her father had recently passed, and obviously, things were not good at her mother’s home either.
The financial situation at her house caused her to move from family member to family member. Even through it all, she graduated with honors from high school, and she was accepted into Middle Georgia State University as an Education major. Just a month after graduation, she called Anya because she was homeless and hopeless. We told Anya to bring her home, and home she came.
She and Anya share an unbreakable friendship and a quaint bedroom. They go to two different colleges, but they are as close as ever. With the pandemic forcing us to spend the first half of 2020 isolated at home, we had to beg our attorney to help us find away to complete an adult adoption of Kasey while the courthouses were closed.
April 30, 2020 during a Starleaf video chat, Chris and I officially adopted Kasey Meeks as our fifth child. Best friends became sisters that day. Our transition period hasn’t always been easy, and we still deal with difficulties of our pasts and our new circumstances. We get to overcome these obstacles together because that is what families do.
As we all swim up life’s stream together, I finally found closure for my heartaches that haunted me from 2014 and 2015. I could finally see the ultimate reason for my year long hiatus to BCMS. Kasey Meeks, my fourth daughter, needed to meet us as much as we needed to meet her.
The heartstrings entangled around my failure, unwound slowly yet completely. I forgave myself. I embraced my personal growth. I get to hug my new daughter as much as she’ll let me. Most importantly, Anya and Kasey were always sisters from the start.