This family picture was taken three years ago, when Stacey and her daughter Mariah were part of our family. Stacey was 16 and pregnant when we met her. She was one of the inner city kids who attended the Youth With A Mission meetings every week for a free meal and some discipleship. She grew up with an abusive grandma and wanted better for her soon-to-be daughter. Her grandmother intended to disown Stacey after the baby was born.
When Stacey went into labor at 4am, my good friend Gretchen drove downtown to take her to the hospital. (Her family refused to take her.) Stacey and her newborn daughter moved in with us when Mariah was two weeks old. She and Mariah were precious additions, but it was very hard for Stacey to learn to live in a normal family. As much as she wanted a better life for Mariah, Stacey admitted to me in a letter just before leaving us (10 month later): "I love you guys and I'll never forget all you've taught me, but I don't know how to live like this. I don't know how to be in a normal family."
She broke my heart.
We continue to have contact with Stacey, but it is nothing like I had hoped. I looked forward to raising our girls together. Mariah and Lydia are 6 months apart. They would have made beautiful "twins". Elena and Chloe loved Stacey like a big sister and they still love to get calls from her.
Stacey played a very important role in our family and I'm so grateful for all that she taught us. If it hadn't been for her, we would have never met our miracle son, Pedro, her cousin. Stacey and Pedro grew up in the same house. What very different outcomes.