When my mom was about 15 months old her parents went on a business trip.
My mom and her three older siblings were left in the care of their aunt and uncle.
Before they left, my mom's mom who was just 39 years old, had a heart to heart conversation with her sister-in-law.
"Vickie, if anything happens to me I want you to raise Valerie."
Vickie couldn't have children of her own.
A few days later my grandparents were in a car accident, and my grandma was killed instantly.
My mom, Valerie, never again returned to her home. She remained in the care of her aunt and uncle.
In fact, it's my mom's uncle, my 'grandpa' Lynn, who Emily gets her middle name from.
My mom grew up in the same town...just down the street...from her dad and her other siblings.
They all remained close, and growing up I had two sets of grandparents on my mom's side of the family.
As an adult I've been amazed to see how that one decision, made by my grandma, and honored by my grandpa, has had such an impact on so many lives.
Later in her life my mom's aunt suffered from both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. My 'grandpa' took care of her until the day that she died.
Had my mom not been a part of their family, my grandpa would have shouldered his burden alone for the most part.
But because of an unselfish decision made many years before, my mom was there to help carry the burden...she was there on a daily basis to give my grandpa the support he needed, and to give my grandma the love she so deserved.
Many years after my grandma passed away, my grandpa was also faced with health issues, including dementia, that left him needing help.
Had my mom not been a part of his life, he would have essentially been alone.
But again, because of choices made many years earlier, Grandpa had family who loved him, and who took care of him until he passed away.
And those are just the big pieces of a very complex puzzle...one that was put together with love.
I asked my mom's biological dad once how he had been able to let his baby girl go.
He got tears in his eyes and admitted that it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.
"But," he said, "it was what my wife wanted, and I truly believe it was what God wanted."
I've thought a lot about my grandparents recently...both sets of them.
They each made big, hard sacrifices, and their lives were ultimately blessed because of those sacrifices.
My mom's life, and as a result, my life, has been even more blessed because of those sacrifices.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this pregnancy trauma I knew I had to make a hard choice.
And it was this: was I willing to let my baby girl go?
I'm not saying that I think I'm going to have to...today I'm actually filled with hope and optimism.
But I knew it was something I had to come to terms with...and somehow in my heart I knew that it was something that God needed me to come to terms with.
And in several of the countless prayers that I've prayed, I've done just that...I've given my baby girl back to God.
It wasn't without tears, but I did it.
I think He knows that I was...that I am sincere...in spite of my begging and pleading for anything but that outcome.
In my moments of fear and doubt and even anger, there is always the quiet whisper in the back of my mind that reminds me of my faith.
The quiet whisper that reminds me that even though I often fight against it, there is nothing that I want more than to trust in and to follow God's will for my life.
It's a quiet whisper that I hope becomes louder as we grow closer to the next chapter in Emily's life.
Someday I'm going to tell my grandparents thank you.
Their examples, now more than ever, have sustained me and given me hope that regardless of the outcome, life is worth living, and that there are always bright days ahead.