Allie Joy and Anastacia Joy (Stacia) continue to explore things they enjoy doing together. Running doesn't seem to be a winner, painting has potential... Allie has been with us for nearly eleven months.
We certainly never looked to be Bonus Parents in 2021. When Allie moved in, we expected her to be with us a few weeks or months. I think we all guarded our hearts in the beginning. As time goes on, we've decided to live out our family vision to love courageously, and we will deal with goodbyes when/if the time comes. The joy and love of connecting will outweigh the pain of goodbye - it always has before. We've never regretted connecting deeply with others - even knowing a goodbye may be in the future.
This spring when Allie began showing up on the blog many of you assumed she was "just" Stacia's friend. You have seen her at weddings, around campfires, learning to drive, at lakes and dip-netting. It was a fair assumption; one we were happy with as we thought she would be with us short-term. We barely knew Allie - I'd say we were acquaintances. By fall, many were asking questions for which we simply didn't know the answers, nor did we know how to address the questions. This was part of the reason we quit blogging for a few months. For those who have been concerned we have put ourselves in legal danger - thanks for your loving concern. We did not coerce or "rescue" a child. We agreed to welcome a young lady (16 at the time) into our home when her mother called and asked us to do so. We have not kept her here against anyone's will. We have had several sessions with a lawyer to make sure we are not doing anything illegal. We seek to honor the legal rights of all involved parties.
This is Allie's story. She will decide how, when, and where she shares her story. If you are local and have questions beyond this, ask Allie. Of course, she has the freedom to decide if you are invested in her life and need answers or if you are simply curious and she would rather not provide details. I've watched her navigate this maze with wisdom and grace. If you've not had a personal talk with Allie in 5 years (or ever), you are probably not invested in her life.
This post started to be about two young ladies working together on a painting. As I observed them each painting the numbers on their side, staying in the spaces mapped out for them before they began to paint, contributing their part to what turned out to be a beautiful painting, this post wrote itself. Michael has encouraged us often this year to "keep the big picture in sight" and "play for the big picture." The purpose of this post is not to share every detail of Allie's life or every detail of why she is living with us. The purpose of this post is to address the elephant in the room. The photos illustrate what has been happening on a larger scale with Allie and us. We are painting in our spaces; others are painting in their spaces, and we believe God is going to make something beautiful from all these strokes within the spaces where we each paint. As I began to back publish blogs, we began to receive even more private messages.
"What a blessing you are in Allie's life."
Allie is a young woman for whom we were asked to provide a home. We have.