My Precious Little Girl,

When your sister was two years old, we went to the foster care office to sign the final papers for her adoption.

I knew you were coming. Months earlier, I'd heard your mother was pregnant with you.

I didn't want the challenge of a traditional foster child. I accepted your sister knowing they couldn't get her back. Your parents ran out of time and the state needed someone who could adopt her. 

While signing the papers that day, the social worker brought you up again. This time was different.

I couldn't say no: my little girl's full-blooded, baby sister needed help. You were about to be born and the state was going to take you from your mother.

We said we would think about it.

I knew I couldn't let you go to strangers when you were born. The social worker wanted me to take you immediately, but I couldn't.

I had commitments at my job that I couldn't break. I asked for a month.

Since I didn't take you right away, the red tape slowed the process.

You had health issues, due to your mother's prenatal drug use - it was best that I didn't have you during those two months. Your first foster mom was a nurse so she knew more about how to take care of you.

One week after your sister's finalized adoption, I brought you home.

The extra foster income meant that I could quit working and stay home with my little girl and you, a tiny baby.

It was a dream come true! After years of waiting for children, I finally had not one, but two babies who needed me. 

I didn't want to fall in love with you.

I tried to protect myself from loving you because I knew your mother could get you back. At first, she tried really hard; as time passed, she fell back into her old ways.

Her addiction took over, and she was back on drugs.

Meanwhile, you were growing and becoming such a fun baby girl.

I had to admit that I adored you.

I wish I could say the same about your foster father, my husband. He never bonded with you. Even after we'd had you for almost a year, he would still introduce you as "our niece" instead of "our daughter."

I'll never be able to erase the memories of the horrible things he said; did to you.

Your father was in prison. Your mother was addicted to drugs. And you were my baby.

When you cried, I was the only one who could comfort you. When you were sick, I took care of you.

Your mother still had visitation, but she would nap during the visits. Four hours a week as a "nap buddy" does not a mother make!

You were my baby. 

Sadly, you were assigned to a different social worker than your sister. This one never seemed to have your best interests at heart.

Your sister's social worker would have officially made you mine after six months.

Your social worker kept giving your mother chance, after chance, after chance.

Your first birthday was a tough time for me. Your foster father left me for another woman.

You and your sister were the only reasons I could even semi-function. I had to get out of bed to feed and take care of you.

Listening to my little girls play together was my only light for a while.

Then a miracle happened.

Your social worker said your parents weren't getting things done the way they needed to and that I should start planning for your adoption.

She was even okay with the idea of me adopting you on my own. Even though I was just weeks from a divorce, I was going to have my baby girl forever. 

Just days before my divorce was finalized, the social worker came for a visit and dropped a bomb on me. Suddenly, your parents were doing everything right and would get you back! IN TWO WEEKS!

I was devastated. 

Your parents now had your baby brother. All I can figure is that they decided to do better after he was born. Perhaps the social worker decided to let them have him on the promise to do better.

Since you weren't officially mine, they could also take you.

You were sixteen months old and I was the only mother you'd known.

As if taking you from your Mommy wasn't bad enough, they were going to keep you in the same day care.

This meant that you got to be with your sister during the day, but I had to leave you again and again.

I couldn't avoid picking you up when I saw you. You would reach out for me, and I just had to hold you, hug you, and tell you I loved you. Then, I would have to leave with your sister.

I will never forget hearing you scream as I walked away. It broke my heart every single day.

Your parents eventually put you in a different day care, and we lost track of each other.

Over the years, we would see each other on your birthday or your sister's birthday. 

And then I moved out of state.

During the last year, I found out that your father was back in prison and your mother was on probation.

I was sick. Where was my little girl? 

I tried calling the state, but they couldn't legally tell me anything. I later found out that you and your brother were with your grandmother.

She and I are now friends on Facebook, and I can keep track of you and see pictures of how you've grown. 

Your mother got you back last week. Again.

I can't help but wonder how long it will be before she succumbs to her addictions again.

I wonder: do you even have a chance? Will you be a teenage mother, too? Will you use drugs like your parents?

I can't guarantee that you wouldn't get involved with drugs or be a teen mom if I'd raised you.

Life offers very few guarantees.

But I know your sister's chances are better - she's being raised in a home with morals; the understanding of what happens to addicts. She won't see her parents using drugs. You most likely will - the statistics aren't in your favor.

I wish I could protect you, my baby girl.

Today on Mother's Day, I hold my two children, knowing there should be one more child in my arms.

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