Staring Through The Window
She had a large smile on her face as she watched her daughter practice for her dance recital. They were finishing up when Evie made her way over to her mom. The little girl froze on the spot, her facial expression changing.
Her mom quickly got up and asked her what was going on, but Evie simply pointed at the window behind her mom, revealing the girl that stood on the other side of the glass, staring at Evie and her mother.
Gina Crotts from Saratoga Springs, Utah, had thought that the hard decisions she had made in her life were long behind her. At 38 years old, she was happily married to the love of her life, Brandon. They had three beautiful children together — two sons and a daughter.
Although she was content with her new life, she always knew that an important part of her was missing. And now, she had come face to face with it. It was Kalyn.
She’d Made A Choice
Gina had tried to reassure herself for 18 long years. She had made a choice, and she just had to live with it. But, try as she might, it was getting more and more difficult to simply push her regrets and guilt down.
That’s the thing about emotions, she thought bitterly. They can’t be silenced forever. But what would her family think when she confessed?
Gina remembered the moment that shattered her world as though it was only yesterday: “The double red lines on my pregnancy test kept presenting itself, in my mind, like flashing neon lights. Positive.Positive. Positive. That $6.99 plastic stick read everything about me, my past, my future, and who I would be labeled as for the rest of my life,” she wrote.
She was about to make the most difficult decision of her life.
Gina was only 19 years old at the time. She was still a child herself. How could this have happened? She ran herself a hot bubble bath to soothe her nerves. She repeated her mantra again: “I’m fine. I can do this. It’s ok. I’ll be ok.”
She reflected on her youth, trying to pinpoint what had led her here. But ruminating wasn’t going to make things better. She had a choice to make, and she had to make it alone.
Deciding to carry her baby to full term and then give her up for adoption wasn’t an easy decision. Every day was a struggle… had she made the right choice?
“It was really hard… the whole pregnancy leading up to that one moment of delivery that’s supposed to be joyous, bringing life into the world… “ Gina recalls. “It was a mix of grief and happiness… but knowing what was coming after, a lot of heartache.”
“She spent a night with me and my family in my parents’ home before placing her the next day,” Gina remembers.
“Having time with her outside of the hospital helped a lot.” On the day Gina gave her daughter up, she wrote a poem for Kalyn. The poem, ‘My little butterfly,’ became a symbol of her sacrifice.
Trying To Move On
Her baby, Kalyn, was adopted by a wonderful couple — she could take solace in that. They would give her baby all the things in life that she couldn’t. After she had moved out of her parents’ house, she was struggling just to make ends meet.
But she would never forget Kalyn. During the years that followed, Gina tried to move on and worked hard to keep her mind occupied. But fate had other plans.
A New Love
She met Brandon and began a whirlwind romance. Soon, they were married. And, before she knew it, she had given him three children.
Gina thought that having a daughter would finally put her mind to rest, but Evie, her middle child, served as a painful reminder of what she had given up all those years ago. And it was Evie who recognized her.
Through The Glass
While Gina was watching Evie, now 13 years old, practice her rehearsal at her dance class, someone was watching from the window behind her.
Evie finished and rushed to her doting mother, but stopped abruptly when she saw the girl staring at her through the window. Gina turned around and couldn’t believe her eyes.
In disbelief, Gina locked eyes with the daughter she had last seen 17 years ago. Kalyn recognized her mother immediately. Surely fate had brought them together again?
Gina wrote: “I was sitting with my back to the window, I turned back and that single wall and six feet were all that was between us.” But would Kalyn want to see her?
“I was shocked at first, then a second later full of sheer excitement, then hesitation in case she didn’t want to see me,” Gina wrote.
“I stopped at the door, I didn’t want to walk out and see her walking away because she wasn’t ready. Her adoptive dad gave her a choice, I didn’t want to confuse her and needed to be sure it was what she wanted.”
Fork In The Road
With her heart beating a mile-a-minute, Gina waited, even though the waiting was killing her. She had to know. She took a deep breath and stepped outside. Would Kalyn still be there?
“I could have run out there in a heartbeat, but I was cautious for her feelings,” she explained. “When I opened the door, she was standing in front of me.”
“The first thing I asked her was, ‘Are you happy?’ she said ‘Yes’ and we were hugging, I had to pull away because I wanted to look at her,” Gina continued.
“We couldn’t help but stare at each other, as we talked for longer, we would just look at each other and laugh. It really is wild to think about the odds and was such a great moment for me, I feel very fortunate.”
She Knew Her Sister
But how had Evie recognized her half-sister if she had never met her? Well, Kalyn’s adoptive parents had been kind enough to send Gina updates. Every year, they would send a photograph.
Gina said: “I would receive a letter and a few pictures every year, I was given quite a bit of detail on how she was doing, how her life was going and more. I got to know a little of how happy she was, her hobbies and seeing the pictures helped to settle my heart.”
Open And Honest
Gina had never wanted to keep her children in the dark about their sister. In fact, Evie even kept a photograph of Kalyn in her room.
Gina said: “It was our decision not to surprise our children with their big secret sister and for them to know everything about her. Kalyn was a part of our lives before meeting again, she wasn’t there but it always felt like she was with us.”
After the chance encounter at Evie’s dance class, Gina and Kalyn exchanged numbers. The pair then bonded over text messages. Gina felt like she was getting to know her daughter all over again.
“We are very fortunate it played out in this way, I’m very aware most birth moms don’t get this experience and I’m very fortunate for how my story ended up,” Gina said happily. “Placing her for adoption didn’t mean I forgot about her but pushed me to be a better person, I wanted to be someone she would be proud to meet someday.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed but just excited to see where the relationship goes from here,” Gina added. But just what does her daughter, Kalyn, think?
Kalyn, a senior in high school, said: “When I first met everyone, walking into the door I felt wrapped in so much love. Here were all these people who had been loving me for 18 years, and I was just meeting them.”
Kalyn had grown up knowing about ‘Angel Gina.’ She kept a binder filled with letters from Gina and her family and even had a framed picture of her biological mom.
She had always longed to meet her — but she never imagined that it would happen like this. But what had drawn Kalyn to that dance-class window on that fateful day?
Kalyn had taken ballet classes in her younger years and had remained fascinated by ballet. Naturally, she was drawn to the window, where she could see dancers performing. She recalls wishing that the girl obstructing her view would move out the way. Little did she know that was her biological half-sister chatting to her birth-mother, who she would meet moments later. Gina wrote a book about her incredible story, titled: “A Seemingly Unfillable Heart.”
This next heartwarming adoption story will have you reaching for the tissues.
Helping, Loving Hand
Kelly DeGarmo might not have gone through the system, but as a foster parent, she had seen exactly what that system could do to children of any age.
But it was for that very reason she and her husband, John, wanted to reach out and help as many kids as they could.
Through the years, they had watched over 60 children come and go.
Some had happy endings. Others didn’t – and those were the hardest to handle. However, Kelly had no idea that she would soon meet the meanest child she had ever come across.
While opening your doors to youngsters in need sounds wonderful, it comes with certain hitches that are not for the faint of heart.
Each child comes not only with the issues that naturally appear with the age bracket, but also a unique set of problems that develop from being given up, abused, or just being a foster kid in general.
Kelly waited anxiously one summer morning. They were due to have another child come into their home in Monticello, Georgia.
Her name was Brailey and from the moment she stepped into the foyer, she knew this one was going to be a challenge. It started with the only word the little girl knew how to say…
Not Her Fault
Little Brailey would scream, “Shut up!” at every interaction or even for no reason at all.
It broke Kelly’s heart. It was clearly the by product of the foster environment.
But that wasn’t all. The tantrums were violent, and often involved breaking things. But Kelly had a secret – and ace up the sleeve.
Warm, Safe Space
Kelly made sure there were crafts and coloring books – anything to spark creativity and distract from the current hardships.
On top of that there was a bright friendly room, fluffy pillows, and a private television with enough movies and shows to sink a ship. The next key was Kelly’s own children.
Grace and Cassy had also come with their own drama, but after living in a house full of love, their fears subsided and true, loving personalities came through.
The girls embraced the newest addition and became fast friends. As time passed, and Kelly watched the group bond, she came to a decision – one her husband shared as well.
What was the secret that they had been keeping during the start?
Their two daughters weren’t long-term foster kids. They were adopted member of the family. The DeGarmo’s house was so full of love, they wanted nothing more than to take this new little girl in. However, the anger and lashing out was still there. So, Kelly rolled up her sleeves and prepared for the long haul.
It was hard at first. Each barrier had to be handled with care and compassion. As little Brailey stayed with them and could finally understand she was safe, they popped the question.
They wanted her to become a permanent part of the family. But would the meanest child ever accept them?
Fast forward a few years and the answer is astounding.
Now 9 years old, Brailey has become one of the nicest, happiest kids they had ever met. Even more amazing was how she had an astounding level of empathy and kindness for each new kid that came through their house. It was clear she would grow up to be something amazing.