A lot of people can make you smile, and a few will make you cry, but it takes someone special to make you smile with tears in your eyes. Gracie is that someone special!
We were new to the foster system when a social worker texted, “I have a two-year-old African American female. No medical concerns. Does know how to cuss! (lol). Visitation with birth parents in Lexington and is not up for adoption. Would you consider?” Although she was younger than we anticipated and nothing fit the mold of what we envisioned, we quickly replied “yes.” We already had three biological children ages 4-7 and thought “what’s one more.”
At only two years old Gracie had already been shuffled through seven homes, and we quickly found out why. This tiny little powerhouse was dynamite! She bit everyone, screamed, kicked, cried, and due to a sensory processing disorder, and was difficult to hold. To say she was challenging is to downplay the situation.
We later discovered that Gracie had been born at 24 weeks, to a woman that was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Her first months were spent in the NICU, followed by cardiac surgery and pneumonia. We call Gracie a little miracle baby; she was and still is a fighter!
Her first two years in our home as a foster child is a blur of doctors’ appointments, therapy sessions, visitations with her birth mother at the drug rehab house and new medical diagnoses. As time goes on we are discovering new pieces to her complicated puzzle. She has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, High Functioning Autism, OCD, Severe Anxiety and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD/DE). Despite traumatic past and current disabilities, she is bright, funny, athletic and very kind.
Our family has cried over her, prayed for her, loved her and not given up on her. When she was four years old, we were able to legally adopt her, and we are now her forever family.
Although Gracie has progressed there is much more to be done to help her live her best life, to be sociable and function at her highest potential. That’s why we were thrilled when she got approved for a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability.
No longer will we panic because she has wandered off in a crowd. She will be able to tether to her dog and in a worst-case scenario her dog will be able to track her. We can finally sleep at night knowing her dog is in bed with her, soothing her throughout the night. Her special dog will nudge her when she begins repetitive behaviors and it will help ease her anxiety so she will no longer chew on her fingers until they bleed. Her dog will be her best friend, helping her with much needed social skills.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to help Gracie move forward. God sent her to us for a reason and we will never give up on her! Through the tears and smiles, we thank you for supporting us in our mission. Your donations and prayers are greatly appreciated. To raise $17,000 seems daunting but with your help and God’s continued blessings, all things are possible.