Saying Goodbye for Now to our Girl

Sunday was a very difficult day for me.  Our little girl (I’m going to call her “Sonya” to make it easier to follow) got on a plane to the other side of the world, and we won’t see her again for several months. 
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When we decided to host her for 5 weeks this summer, it sounded like such a long time, but boy did it fly by quickly!!  I can’t believe it is already over!

Friday night, we met at my dad’s house for my sister’s birthday get-together.  The boys were going to be spending the weekend with family members so Cy and I could take Sonya to the airport by ourselves.  We decided that it would just be too hard on the boys to see her off at the airport, so they said their goodbyes to her on Friday night. 

Sonya played with all of her brothers and cousins in the back yard.  They had a big time!  At one point, Eli got hit with a whiffle ball, and I captured this moment on my phone…

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I was far away from them so I tried to zoom in on my camera to take the picture, that is why it is grainy.

When it was time to leave, we gathered in Dad and Janet’s den to say our goodbyes.

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There were a lot of tears.  One thing I can say for sure is that my boys LOVE this girl!!  They are so tenderhearted, and I am so proud of how sweet they have been to her over the past five weeks.  


Sonya didn’t shed a tear.  She patted the boys on the back, hugged and kissed them, comforted them like a mama saying, “I know, I know” as they cried, but no tears.  I think she didn’t quite know what to do with the outpouring of love towards her.  It makes me wonder if she has ever had someone cry for her like that?

Cy and I finally got Sonya in the car and waved goodbye to our boys.  We didn’t even make it out of my dad’s subdivision before she began crying.  Big alligator tears started flowing down her cheeks and she began crying out loud.  It was heart breaking for her to leave the boys, but I guess she felt she needed to be strong in front of them.   I climbed in the back of the car beside her and held her as she cried.  She cried and cried.  

That was the moment we had been dreading all summer long…saying goodbyes. 

The three of us stayed at our house Friday night and left for Atlanta on Saturday.  We took our time going down there and soaked up every second with our girl.  We stopped to eat for lunch and for dinner, so our trip was longer than usual, but that was okay with us.  

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We knew we were going to have to go to bed early Saturday night because we had to be up by 3:15 am Sunday morning to make it to the airport in time for her flight.   We were all super tired when we checked into our hotel that night….

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Sunday morning came quickly, and we woke Sonya up and dressed her for her flight.  We were all a bit groggy and solemn.   We met all of the other host families and children at the airport, checked Sonya’s bag, and got her hat and name tag.  There were tears among the smiles as the other host children spoke with their friends that they hadn’t seen since the beginning of the summer.  I am sure it felt good for them to chat with others who spoke the same language as them!


We walked with Sonya and the other families to the security gates, and then we had to say goodbye.  Again, she was tough.  Cy and I, on the other hand, bawled like babies. :)

11807337_10153500369569513_173300014239641795_oThat tough little girl stayed strong, and held the hand of the chaperone as she departed.  I believe she was one  of the youngest in the group, so I am glad she was staying close to the chaperone.


Cy and I watched her until we couldn’t see her anymore, and she looked back for one more glance of us before she was out of sight.

That’s when we lost it.  Cy took my hand and we walked away, barely able to breathe.  {Now I asked Cy if I could share this with you, and he said I could.}  That morning, Cy cried a lot harder than me.  I was crying, but my sweet, strong, big hearted husband cried his eyes out.  I haven’t seen him cry many times in our marriage, so it made his tears even more special. They were evidence of how deep his love was for our girl.

I cried at the airport, but it didn’t hit me as hard until we got home that afternoon.  We picked up the boys from my family, and of course, they started crying and asking how it went.  I let them look at pictures and videos of her on my phone, and they cried some more.  

When I walked into the house, I was overcome with her absence.  I went into her room and busted into tears.  To see her bed, her stuffed animals, and her clothes hanging in the closet was more than I could bear.  It was almost like the feelings that I felt when I lost my mom, like a death in the family.   And even though I know she has not passed away, seeing traces of her around our house gives me that empty feeling like I had when my  mom passed.  I cried all afternoon.  I unpacked her clothes from the day before and bawled when I saw the chocolate ice cream stain on her shorts from lunch.  She LOVES chocolate!!   I went to put my stuff away in the bathroom, and I cried some more when I say her bright pink rubber bands on my sink from when I fixed her hair.  Ugh.  

There are reminders of her everywhere, and we all feel it.  We feel her absence.  We feel the overwhelming desire to have her back.  Part of our family.  She belongs to us. 

And for the life of me, I still cannot wrap my mind around how this little girl showed up in our life?!!

It started with a booth at the Allume Conference, and a program called Project 143.  It started with a tug on my heart and a online picture of a sweet little orphan girl that Cy and I fell in love with.  Before we knew it, she was at our home.  And before we knew it, she was on a plane back home. 

And somewhere over the past 10 months, God gave a family who didn’t have a little girl, a little girl who didn’t have a family.  

How great the Father’s love is toward us!!!  I can see his fingerprints all over this past year.  He caught us completely by surprise, and yet we are eternally grateful!!  

I have never felt more loved by my heavenly Father than I do right now in my life!  He is more real to me than ever!

(Would I still love Him if we were never able to see this little girl again?  Absolutely!   My love for God does not depend on whether or not he does good things in my life.  But when He does show up and does what only He can do, my mind is blown!  And I am reminded of how great His love is for His children.)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your prayers and sweet comments!  They mean so much to me!!

I will keep you updated on our adoption process.  We have finished all of our paperwork (dossier, home study, I-800,) and it is on its way to her home country.  We may be able to go over as early as October to see her and bring her home, but November is more likely.  Either way, she should be home with us for Christmas!!  Yay!!


  1. What a heartbreaking thing to do…thank you for sharing the experience with us. Such a remarkable story and so tender. You put it into words beautifully.
    Hoping and praying you will get to adopt her and that you will get her asap !

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. You may never know whose heart was touched for adoption by reading it! I pray you will be back together soon.

  3. Wow. I cried just reading this, and I’m not much of a crier. What sweet, tender boys you have raised. Praying for each of you as you process this difficult time apart. Days are never empty or lost when given to God. Thanks for opening your story up to so many.

  4. Such a beautiful love story. Your family has many blessings. I will send prayers for her quick return.
    Thank you for sharing <3

  5. Oh my goodness…my heart is so sad for you all having to say good bye to your beautiful little girl. But your family will soon be crying tears of joy when you bring her home forever! Praying for God’s Blessings to hold you until that day…

  6. I cried reading this too. I have three sons and would have loved to have had a daughter but things were quite different back then. We had the love but truly didn’t have the money. My “baby” will be 33 at the end of this month so you know how long ago it was. I will pray for your family and for an early reunion.

  7. Oh Sweetie, my heart feels like it could burst with sadness and joy all at the same time. You have raised four lovely boys and as blessed as you feel to have this little lady in your lives, she is also very blessed to have you. You are right…The Lord’s fingerprints are all over this. He will surely work all this together for good. XO

  8. I have cried throughout your post. She is such a beautiful girl, including her name. Her looks fit in perfectly with your family. You and your husband and boys are wonderful people. I so hope that this story has a very happy ending for everyone.

  9. I, like everyone else, cried too. I know the raw emotions – I just sent a son off for 2 years for a LDS mission for our church. I’m been anxiously waiting for the details and hoping your family had a wonderful time. May you find peace and comfort until your reunion. Sending love from Utah!

  10. Traci I am in tears reading this post. My heart is bursting! Your sweet family is forever changed and our Heavenly Father has a special plan for all of you! Can’t wait to watch it unfold. Praying for all of you to have peace as you wait until she is your ” forever girl”!!!

  11. Hi Traci,
    Thank you so much for sharing your stories about your beautiful little girl. I watched your video as she arrived, and now I am praying with you as she leaves (for just a little while!). You are a special family for surrounding her with your love!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am the adopted mother of 2 children and I know exactly how you feel. Were you able to share with her that she would come back? I hope the time flies. Your boys are just precious to welcome her so openly. God bless you all!

  13. Just remember ….from what you and your sister have told us…your Mom was an Angel on Earth… Now an Angel in Heaven..She is watching over your little girl while she is away from you. Faith!!!!

  14. Just bawled my eyes out reading this. I’ve been behind online and realized the date. Cannot wait to hear more updates on her coming home with you forever. I know God has the master plan – just wish we didn’t have to be so patient sometimes. ;) Love you, Mama!! Hugs to you all. xoxo

  15. I have been away from your blog and haven’t kept up until just now and I am crying uncontrollably with you and your sweet family over this precious gift that God blessed you with. My husband is asking me what in the world I am reading. ;) God’s love and and grace is so amazing to us and I cannot wait to hear more of this extraordinary story.

  16. What a great summer! and how blessed all of you are. Your story really pulled at my heart and made me cry sitting at my desk at work, while trying to eat my lunch. What a special family, what a special experience. You’ll be in my prayers for continued uplifting and success in your adoption.

  17. I am crying and reading this post through tears. I will pray that the adoption goes through and she is back with her family soon!

  18. Can’t wait for the updates and news that she will be arriving back sooner than later!! God bless you and Cy and your wonderful sons! Sonya is blessed to have you in her life!


  19. Oh my Tracey. Tears are just rolling down my face, and I am usually not like that. I have been so touched by your story these last weeks with that sweet little girl. God has made this all possible and you and your family have opened your hearts to His prompting. I will be anxiously waiting with you from this side of the screen, knowing November will be here before we know it. Praying for peace that passes our understanding will take up residence in your home til she returns.

  20. This post made me cry my eyes out! I could see it all in my mind as I read and it reminded me of when my youngest left for the Air Force. He is the baby and I had been crying at work and home for a month before he left. It felt like a death, our “nest” was empty after so many years. The day he left I didn’t cry at all because I was completely empty of tears. On the other hand my big strong husband who rarely cried sobbed and sobbed. Me writing this comment proves that we made it through the sorrow. Your sons are so precious and your little girl will be blessed to have you as her family! Prayers for your family!

    1. Thank you so much Charlotte… and oh my goodness I can’t even think about the boys leaving for college yet. I will cry a river!

  21. Hi Traci,
    What a gut wrenching story that will have a happy ending. I will be praying that the adoption process will move along rapidly. She is adorable, and God knew just where she needed to come……….
    Was so happy to hear yall are in the process of adoption, as I didn’t know as
    I haven’t been by in awhile.
    With all the emotions yall have had as hard as they are…….it just confirms for sure where she is meant to be.
    Blessings on you and your family for loving on this dear lil one who needs
    a family, and just so neat how the Lord
    had you all fall in love with her. He is so good to us…..
    Blessings Galore to you and yours

  22. I am so sad for you. Your story tugs at my heart strings so much because when we were foster parents we had a particular little girl go home for good and it was so hard. Reminders everywhere. Your faith will get you through and I pray she will be back with you soon!

  23. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and soul on this journey. What a lucky little girl she is to finally have such a strong and loving family. Praying that the time goes by quickly for all of you.

  24. Aw Sweetie, I am so sorry this is so hard. I have never understood the foreign adoption process and why it has to be so painfully long, but I guess there are reasons I don’t know about. I believe without a doubt it will all be worth it in the end and you will all be together again soon, but that sure doesn’t stop the hurt right now I know! Please know I love you all and you are in my prayers….always…..
    big hugs!!!!

  25. This is such a precious story! My prayers are that all goes as planned and she is indeed your forever girl very soon! God bless!!

    1. Yes! Let the countdown begin! :) Thank you so much for your prayers, Sharon, and for sending me so much love across the miles and through your computer screen! xoxo Traci

  26. Though I only follow you on Instagram and this blog, I feel like I know you. And I’ll say a prayer for you, for sure. Because I know I’m a little bit about where your heart lies.Our adoption of two little girls from Ghana failed last June. It was two years of wishes and hopes and dreams and agape and trusting the Father… And the father allowing a ‘no’ answer. And you’re right… Our husbands’ tears are tender & precious. there is something about the love of the father towards his daughter.

    I am praying for a ‘yes’ answer for you and little Sonya and the rest of your family. I’m praying that paperwork goes through quickly and without complication. And lastly, I am praying for your heart as you wait. God bless you and your family.

    1. Hi Gretchen! I am so glad you feel like you know me, because you do! What you see is what you get on my blog. :) I am so sorry that your adoption did not turn out as you had hoped, but I can tell in your words that you trusted the Lord through it all and trust his answer. I feel the same way. It would crush me if we were not able to adopt her, but I know that God is working all of this out. If it doesn’t work, I know He is still in control and has his best in store for all of us. Thank you for your prayers!! Traci

  27. Precious, precious story!! Praying so much for your sweet family and girl!! I have been following along and am so moved by your experience!! Thank you for sharing it with us!!

  28. Yes the tears did flow reading this. What a wonderful Christmas this will be with your beautiful family!! God is good!! And i can’t get over how much she really looks like your boys! Continued prayers.

    1. Thank you, Jill! We are so excited, and we are totally shocked at how much she looks like our boys. She was just meant to be! {wink!}

  29. Several of my friends have adopted children so this really touches the depths of my heart. I pray for God’s will for you and your family and hopefully we will see pictures of a grand and permanent reunion.

  30. Praying that the process is swift and smooth for you all. Praise God for the eyes of faith that allow us to see earthly adoptions as a picture/shadow of the adoption we have received as sons and daughters of the most high God! How much love you have already for this sweet girl-how much more the Father’s love!

    1. Amen and Amen! Loving this little girl has opened my eyes in so many ways to how much the Father loves us. I am so grateful. xoxo Traci

  31. This precious little girl is so blessed to have you in her life. And you are so blessed to have her in your life. God is so good. Hopefully time will speed by and October/November will be here soon. God bless you and your family for the beautiful gesture of His love you and your family are living.

  32. Twelve years ago we did the same thing with our daughter. She was the oldest in the group (11.5 years) and this was her last chance to get adopted. Like you, we had two sons ages 12 and 9 at the time. They adored her. We all sobbed when she left. So many people questions how we could “love someone else’s child or such an old child”. People scared us with horrible stories. But, we waited four long months and went to get her. Two months ago, she graduated from college. It wasn’t easy but our everyone in our family agrees that it is the best thing that ever happened to us. I am so glad God chose us and I am so glad he chose your family.

    1. Wow! What a wonderful story, Joy! Thank you for sharing it with me, and God bless you for loving on your special little girl! What a testimony of God’s grace and goodness. xoxo Traci

  33. Tracy,

    Oh my! I bawled reading your story. I could hear your voice as I was reading, and it made it even more heartbreaking. I hope the next few months pass as fast as these last months. Hoping you see your “sonya” real soon! How wonderful that God has brought you ALL together!

    1. Thank you, Gail! It was so good to see you at Haven!! Thank you for sharing your talents with everyone. We need to get together soon! Maybe I can come see you when the boys get back in school?! :) Love you! Traci

  34. Tears flowing as I read this. Thank you for sharing and look forward to your sharing when your precious girl is home! Until then many prayers for all to go well!

  35. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story! A special little girl for a special family! I hope you don’t have to wait too long before she’s back where she belongs!

  36. Traci,
    This is so touching! I hope you are able to at least communicate with her until she returns. Wondered how that works
    Prayers for you all

    1. Yes, Jennifer! We actually got to Skype with her this week! It brought such joy to our hearts to see her little face again! Thank you for your prayers! xoxo Traci

  37. What a great testimony! So happy you had the chance and experience of hosting her. I can’t wait to read how she’s home with you for Christmas!

  38. Wow, what an amazing story. Her Abba will take care of her until…you meet again. This story reveals much more of you and your family than you can even begin to imagine and the first thing I see is a woman after God’s own heart. Blessings to you on your simply beautiful story.
    Simply Beautiful Ministries

    1. Aw, Thank you, Cindy! That is what I pray my readers see. I love blogging about home stuff, but it is not what matters most to me. I pray that others will in some way feel the love of Jesus when they visit my tiny online space. God bless you! Traci

  39. I am so touched by your story, cried my eyes out reading it. Had to stop for tissues many times. Your entire family will be in my prayers for the return of your daughter. (Soon to be) I can’t imagine the pain and emptiness you all must have. Keep in your head and heart that she will return to complete your beautiful family. Stay strong and please let me know if your best Christmas present ever was delivered.

    1. Michelle, I am sorry I made you cry, but I am thankful to share this story with you and my readers. I feel your love and support over the miles. Thank you for your prayers! xoxo Traci

  40. I am praying for your family that all will be well! Very touching story. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much!

  41. God blessed you Tracy and Family, He only gives to the very best so I am sure your little girl will be with you soon. She is one lucky little girl to have received a family so wonderful. You boys will be her protectors and you will be her shepherds and guide her through this life with love and prayer. It takes a special kind of person to open their hearts to another child not of their flesh. God knew exactly where she belonged. May the next few months pass quickly while you wait for her. <3

    1. Debbie, Thank you so much for your sweet, sweet words! Yes, her brothers will be her protectors. They were already doing it while she was here. And her daddy will be too. She already has him wrapped around her finger! :) God is so good to allow us to be the ones to love this little girl! I am so humbled and grateful. God bless you! Traci

  42. I have been thinking of you lately and how you must be feeling. It’s pain! It is like a death. God knows and He attends to your hurt. Just like a pregnancy can be difficult, so can adoption…..He’s knitting your hearts together and He can use absence to do that. He can and will use it all for good. I will pray for Sonya’s safety and her growing longing to be with you. Also will pray she does not have emotional walls or lingering hurts from her young life. Be encouraged. He’s got this!

    1. Aw, Sarah! Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words. I, too, pray that she does not have too many lingering hurts from her past, but I rejoice in knowing that God can heal her and make her whole. Thank you so much for your prayers. xoxo Traci

  43. I cried as I read your story of Sonja’s departure and my prayer is that the adoption process will go smoothly and quickly, so that your precious daughter will soon be a permanent fixture in your home and family. God bless you for having a heart for orphans and the courage to move ahead. Your Momma would be so proud of your decision to bring this little one into your family circle.

    1. Thank you, Norma! I have thought about my mom often during this process and how much she would love our little girl. I do feel she is a part of all of this because she is the one who taught me to love others deeply. Thank you for your prayers! Traci

  44. I’m so glad that everything has gone so well for you guys this summer! I will keep the adoption process in prayer for you, that you, Cy, and the boys will have Sonya home for Christmas.

  45. Tracy,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s therapeutic
    to talk about it! I follow you on instagram as well and love your posts. I’ve been praying and will continue to pray for you and your family! What a darling little girl! God has big plans for your family and for her!! Remember if he brings you to it, he will bring you through it! Missing her will make your next reunion that much sweeter!
    Love to all….

    1. Thank you so much, Lori! I truly appreciate your prayers! What an honor it is to be included in your talks with God. :)
      Bless you! Traci

  46. My heart is breaking for you but I also know the joy you will have when you are able to bring her home. Stay strong and know that God is with you through this journey.

  47. So very beautiful. I shed many tears reading this post. Your husband’s tears and love for your little girl are beautiful and reflect God’s great and tender love for us. So thankful that God brought this precious little girl to your wonderful family. I will be praying for her and for all of you over the next few months!

  48. Praying for your heart & the hearts of your 4 men!
    That little girl is the image of you Traci…your daughter indeed!

    1. Aw, thank you, Tonja! It is so weird how much she feels like mine although she was not born of my flesh. She is definitely born of my heart! xoxo

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