If you’ve followed me for a while, I’m SURE you’ve seen or heard me talk about my nephew Cal. There is a long story to how he came into my life, so I’ll give you the short version and a link to read more about it.
Short version: a little over three years ago, my sister left he son in my care. It was a Saturday night and we were out getting pizza. When we came home, she was gone. In the days and weeks that followed, it became clear that not only was Cal severely delayed on all aspects of development, he was also malnourished and required a great deal of medical and educational care. He was not potty trained and nonverbal. He was six years old.
To help him, and care for my then 1-year old son, I left my career and dedicated countless hours to helping him become the healthy, happy boy that he is today.
Somewhere in between working through all of his needs, my mom and I (we are co-guardians together) sought legal permanent guardianship of him. We spent three years in and out of court, self-representing as long as we could, until we reached the point where we required legal counsel in order to go to trial (something required as part of the process).
It’s been a LONG battle. It’s been incredibly hard. Absolutely debilitating. Emotionally exhausting. And fully consuming.
But here we are, now awaiting the last piece of legal documentation to finalize the thing we’ve been waiting for – full, permanent, custody of Cal. A boy who loves with his whole heart and who lights up at the smallest act of kindness.
In many ways life has moved on: we have fallen into normal patterns of daily routine, we have much less stress and much more certainty in our day to day lives. Things are good. But, like any period of extreme stress, we’re coming out on the other side, trying to put all the pieces back together.
If you’re familiar with adoption, you know how staggering the cost can be. And our story is no exception. The final cost, of all legal fees ONLY, will amount to $35,000, of which $15,000 is still outstanding.
You guys. Seriously. I’ll say this: no matter what happens with this fundraiser, if we only raise like $5, if we end up with a bill put on credit cards for the next 10years, we still have absolutely NO regrets.
Knowing Cal as he once was, and knowing who he is today, that change alone warms my heart. It gives me peace when I feel breathless. It is why I am today so incredibly positive. So unshakable. Because I know that anything – and I mean ANYTHING – is possible, friend. That anyone, given the right circumstances and care, has the opportunity to grow and change and live to their fullest potential.
And that’s why I’m launching the Spread the Love project. It’s essentially a giant THANK YOU to everyone that has been a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a reliable, caring, kind friend in a time when everything felt so dark.
So THANK YOU. Thank you for being here. For showing up. For reading this. For being who you are. For everything and anything you’ve ever done to support someone in a time of need. You are amazing. And the world needs more of you.
Here are some helpful links for more info on my story, this Spread the Love project, the adoption fundraiser, and my shop link, which has lots of fun smelling goodies to give yourself a little love in return!
And don’t forget to check back here, every week, to see how close we’re coming to our goal!
Be that light, friend. Shine bright.