For the first twelve years of my life he said I was his favorite granddaughter; and every time I would respond- at first with a giggle then a roll of my eyes- “but Bapa I’m your ONLY granddaughter”.
Then my cousin came home and everything changed. Her adoption ignited a passion in my heart to see children in families, I was no longer the only granddaughter (and definitely not the favorite), and I watched my grandparents love her fiercely and become advocates for adoption. People would ask them if it was hard to love the grandchild that wasn’t biologically theirs and they would respond that it was easier! They told friend and relative after friend and relative that the miracle of adoption was one of the most transforming things they had witnessed in their long lives.
Because you see they knew- from the bottom of their hearts- that children belonged in families. They got to see the miracle firsthand of how a family transforms a child and the grief of a child who didn’t have a family in those first formative months.
This summer we lost my grandfather. We gathered from near and far- I spent days traveling from Uganda- to be together at the house. I walked in and saw his shoes still by the door and hid in the bathroom with my brother and cried and watched his dog look expectantly at each car that drove up and watched my cousin show the greatest display of courage and speak at his funeral and we scattered the ashes across the bay and we cried and we laughed and we ate the wonderful [and sometimes terrible] food that people brought.
We gathered and we grieved and in that little house on the bay I felt family.
He showed us how to love fiercely and so we loved.
He showed us how to sacrifice and so we sacrificed.
He showed us how to laugh in the pain and so we laughed as we cried.
He showed us how family was strength and so we gathered and found strength for each other.
We ache because we have loved and been loved and the loss of something beautiful cuts deep. We are grieving because we have been given the gift of family and yet that gift carries us through another day.
So we cannot think of any better way to honor our beloved grandfather, father, husband, friend, and teacher then giving the gift of family to children who are at risk for losing theirs. Over the last few months countless numbers of lives that were touched by my grandfather chose to donate in his honor to Abide. I wanted to do something tangible and memorable in my grandfather’s memory and this move gave me the perfect opportunity.
These donations are funding the adult classroom in our new property. I am designing the desks in his honor and hiring the best local carpenter to complete them. They are designed in memory of his days as a school teacher and we are sourcing the best materials and labor in memory of his carpentry hobby.
I sit back and think of the hundreds of women who will sit at these desks and learn skills that will change their lives. I think of all the children who will get to grow up in their families because of what is learned in this room. I think of all the homes strengthened and lives changed.
Thank you. To each and every one of you. For allowing me such a perfect way to keep my grandfather’s memory alive.
I can’t think of a better way to remember my Bapa.
-Megan Parker, co-founder
Want to get involved? Want to donate in honor of someone you love? Check out our Abide Needs To Move page here: https://abidefamilycenter.org/abideneedstomove/
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