Dear Penelope,

I am saying goodbye because you have left our home to live with your mom and brother. I don’t really want to say goodbye, but I know you will be proud to know that you were fought for, and you are safe.

Saying goodbye hurts. We have loved you as one of our own. You know me as mommy, and you have brothers and sisters who love you deeply. Saying goodbye is scary for me because it means that I don’t get to see you every day or hold you anymore. And that sucks.

I remember the time when we brought you home from the hospital. Nana & Papa were there to greet you, but your siblings were already in bed. I had you in my arms when the sun rose, and all the kids came quietly in to see you. They were so excited for your arrival. I will never forget that feeling of unending love for my children, and that included you.

I also remember the day before you left our home. The weather was great, so we all played outside. You went down the little slide over and over because you had just learned how to climb the stairs, and you didn’t care if you fell off the bottom of the slide. You loved that slide. That was the last time we got to play with you.

You taught me a love that I had only hear about from other people. The ability to love a child so deeply that even the thought of you leaving meant I couldn’t breathe – a love that not only applies to my biological children, but to a child from a different mom. You taught me how to be a mother all over again to a newborn baby since mine had long left that stage of life. And you taught me to hold on to the smaller moments, to take more pictures than ever before, and to hold moments dear in my heart.

Something I want you to know is that you are worth fighting for. You have a whole other family that will never be able to fill the void you left. You are always welcome for a visit. I also want you to know that we are proud of your mom. She fought for you too. She worked hard to get herself into a place where she could care for her children and keep her family together. It was not easy for her and it’s a big accomplishment we recognize. So, give her an extra hug.

I will always remember you. You were our first addition to this family, and the first to leave. Everything about our experience with you has made us a more compassionate family and more understanding. Our love can grow deeper for others now as you have paved the way for us to know that despite the pain of our loss, there is gain as well, and that we will survive and be okay. We will always miss you sweet girl and we hold you close in our hearts. But for now I have to say goodbye.