I couldn’t sleep this morning. I started thinking about what I see women battle (myself included) and what I want most for our Big Girl T. So I wrote a letter to her. At first I thought was meant just for her. But when I finished I realized these are my true, genuine wishes for EVERY woman. You see foster care has busted my heart open in a way I didn’t think possible—in a way that makes me look at strangers and see them as my foster sisters, daughters, mothers. So these wishes are for all women–for her, for you, for me.
Dear Big Girl T, 
I get frustrated that we still don’t know your future after almost a year of loving you. 
Loving you has been the greatest gift and best teacher in my 31 years. It’s encouraged me to get a grip on worry, to let go of the future and focus on all we have—the present.
But I’m still human and sometimes I wake up at 3AM as I did today thinking “I just want to KNOW how this story ends. Will I get to know you forever? Or just for right now?”
Instead of sitting in that impatient and anxiety-ridden moment, I thought I’d get up and write my deepest wishes for you—
I wish for you to know SELF-ESTEEM.
May you know the power that resides in every part of your body from your tiniest toe to your highest hair coil. May you know the power of finishing the statement—“I am a woman who…”—with whatever you want to do or be every minute, morning, month and millennium. You are a woman who can do anything! And I hope you grow up to know this deep within every fiber of your being. May you also know the inner wise woman that resides within you. Deter yourself from gazing too often into the eyes of others for answers or validation, Dear One. Check in with your soul instead. She knows the way. You are safe to trust her…safe to trust yourself.

I wish for you to know HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
May you to know how to say NO so you can say YES to the people, places, and experiences that matter most to you. Whenever you feel short on joy or time I hope the first thing you think to do is check in with your values and refresh your boundaries accordingly. Whenever you feel devalued or degraded, less than or shoved aside—redraw the lines. YOU have the power and voice to decide what you will accept and what crosses a line.You can have boundaries and still have compassion for individuals on the other side of them.The two are not mutually exclusive. 

I wish for you to know PURPOSE.
May you know a clear sense of what you were placed on this Earth to contribute. And may you be gentle with yourself should you find this purpose changing shape over time. You will find purpose is born out of a clear understanding of yourself, your gifts, your passions, and your values. Knowing these will aid you immensely. You’ll find it easier to assert yourself, establish those boundaries, and find a way forward when life gently shows you it is time for change or more harshly forces change upon you.
I wish for you to know GOOD LOVE. 
May you know the good love of a tremendous life partner (like your Daddy is to me), of friends, and of family regardless of the shape, size, color or duration of those packages. And most especially, may you know the good love found in loving yourself. May you treat loving others and loving yourself as equally important. May you know how to GIVE love freely. May you know how to RECEIVE love easily. May you never be afraid to ask for help or provide help to others. May you know the strong footings of a deep & rich support system capable of reminding you who you are and all you are capable of in moments you are tempted to forget.
Lastly, may you know that I love you. Wherever you are in your journey. Wherever you are in the world. I know you. I love you.

Forever and Always,

Mommy Shannon

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