I never fully realized that the Day I Met Emma there would be so many sleepless nights to follow in my life. As every parent knows every child blessed to us will makes us lose sleep for one reason or the other.  Adopting children, especially older children, out of the foster care system guarantees restless nights.

To be sure Jake, Brandon and Piper have caused both Marie and I their fair share of our sleepless nights.  This post and these writings are about Emma: A child worth fighting for.

Here I sit at 2:24 am on a Saturday. It’s been 239 days since I received the call that Emma had lost her life by her own hand.  Of all the many brave battles she had fought and won, this one she had lost. I’m different because of this event. I used to sleep like a baby knowing I had worked hard and trusting that God had a plan.

God still has His plan. I still serve him.  But I don’t sleep like I used to. My dreams are different.  My remembrances have new priorities.

Emma had her cerebral palsy to overcome that challenged her physical ability and her cognitive powers. And make no mistake, adoption was a life event she was challenged to overcome, as well.  Then, as her mental illness progressed, there were new battles to fight on top of the ones she never fully conquered, or accepted.

Simply put, it was all too much in the end.

When I wake in the middle of the night it is with those rush of thoughts that come right before your eyes open to the dark. The rush of memories can be startling; the times we fought, the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we hugged…and the times I could have, should have done more…though I don’t know how I would have or could have.  Those raw emotions come screaming forth; anger and laughter, sadness and love, regret, all in one tangled mess.

How do you sleep through that?

I miss her. Each and every day. I know that as some read this they fight their own battles with the recollections they have of their loved ones who bravely fought and lost.  There are those readers here that are still fighting those battles.  To each of you I say to stay as strong as you can and fight each day, each hour to remember the good. Fight for that right to remember the good.  And search for purpose. We may not understand God’s will or allowances for the events we face or have experienced.  We can, however, wake up each day with a vow to move forward and to honor their memory or recognize and do our best to forgive their present.

Emma has caused me many sleepless nights since the day I met her and she still does.  Emma was worth fighting for.  The child you love is worth fighting for.  Any child is worth fighting for.