I remember dreaming about a day when my adopted children would be able to embrace their new life and family.
I remember many late nights walking up and down the street we lived on pouring my heart out to my Heavenly Father asking Him to give me the strength and stamina I needed to get them to that point.
I remember days and weeks watching them struggle as they were filled with anger and rage like I had never seen before.
I remember broken walls, shattered windows, shredded clothes, blankets, and curtains.
I remember holes and carvings in furniture.
I remember broken cabinet doors and window blinds ripped off during rages.
I remember constantly finding urine and feces nearly every time I turned around.
I remember recognizing signs of abuse much worse than anyone ever imagined.
I remember them trying to conquer their victim-mentality by becoming abusers.
I remember the horror I felt at finding out about this abuse they did to each other when I was not aware.
I remember the overwhelming guilt I felt at having not protected them better.
I remember wondering how another person's suffering and pain could be so satisfying to them.
I remember watching and realizing that their play was not play at all but scenes that could have been taken directly from a horror movie.
I remember being hit and kicked.
I remember being marked with bruises and scrapes.
I remember the spit that ran down my face immediately after I said, "I love you."
I remember their many sleepless nights and their nightmares.
I remember holding raging children wishing I could take away their pain.
I remember the hate I saw in their eyes when they looked into mine.
I remember how much that hurt.
I remember loving them so much it hurt, but not knowing how to let them know that.
I remember many mistakes I've made during heated moments, mistakes I still regret.
I remember sobbing as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to forgive me and to not let my mistakes and my weaknesses cause them further harm.
I remember how time and again, miraculously, my burden, my sin was lifted in an instant, and the grief I felt was replaced with overwhelming love from my Heavenly Father.
I remember crying even harder after I realized how merciful He is and how willing He is to forgive.
I remember pleading for miracles to happen in the hearts and spirits of my sweet wounded children.
Now I look around and see those miracles I pleaded for.
I see smiling children.
I see Kiana doing the dishes for me so, "You won't have to."
I see Jazmine following me around all day because, "I just want to be by you, Mom. I love you!"
I hear Kishawn talk about me being in the hospital to have Makenzie and say, "If Mom goes in the hospital again to have another baby, I want to be there to take away her pain."
I soak in the times during the day when Jada stops her playing to come lay her head on my lap.
I see them mimicking me, saying phrases I say.
I see kids, when it's time to clean, choose which part of the house they will clean, then when they finish, turn to help who has not finished.
I see kids who play "house" and this time they are not only a 'functional family' but they are caring and loving.
I see their eyes light up as I tell them what I see in them and the kind of amazing people I believe they will become.
I see their spirits recognize this truth and finally they are able to embrace it.
I see them care for Makenzie in a way they never knew they were capable of.
I love that Jada snuck into my car when I left to go to a book group and when after getting there and realizing she was with me and bringing her in with me, she was glued to my side.
I see kids who proclaim to strangers, "That's my Mom!"
I see kids who beg me to be with them and to play with them.
I see them all clamor for a place beside me every time we kneel to pray.
I hear the most eloquent, beautiful prayers come out of their little mouths.
I see wisdom and understanding that can only come from making it through difficult experiences.
I see life-long friends and an eternal family.
I see a loving Heavenly Father's hand intertwined in every aspect of our lives.
I see the effects of our Savior's atonement.
It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!