Mother to Adopted Daughter on Wedding Day

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This letter from a mother to adopted daughter on her wedding day will make you cry and rejoice at the same time!

mother to adopted daughter on her wedding day pic with bride and groom

(At the end of this post I’ve included some of my favorite inexpensive gift ideas for your daughter on her special day.) 

My life changed when I decided in 2008 to courageously share our adoption story.

It wasn’t a pretty story all wrapped up with a bow, but a story of heartache and loss, perseverance and God’s faithfulness.

The lows were gut wrenchingly low and the highs were the ultimate sweetness.

Sharing our adoption story on the internet led to many precious friendships and a new career and ministry for me.

young girl in pink hat outside

Although I mainly share DIY projects, easy home decor, crafts and favorite family recipes these days, my heart is always to encourage women in hard places.

Parenting our children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD, and for many of our kids, just one of their many diagnoses) can be unlike parenting secure, attached biological children.

Our kids often have a hidden disability, or inability, to connect and develop healthy relationships with anyone. Years may go by without any hope for helping these children we love so deeply.

young girl with long brown hair leaning against tree

Every word pours out of me from the blood, sweat, and tears of my life. I have lived every word I have written on this blog.

My youngest adopted daughter Stephanie has been a source of hope for many moms where hope may be hard to find.

Her journey to attachment and a life filled with love didn’t come easily. Through deep, dark valleys and mountain tops of joy, THIS IS OUR STORY.

four siblings at high school graduation for girl

(Your high school graduation from our homeschool)

Lest you think our lives were just unicorns and rainbows, we have fought hard for all three of our adopted children.

Although our oldest of the sibling group is estranged from us, we advocated and fought battles for her to get the help she needed to heal and live in safety.

Our story with her didn’t have a happy ending as the world sees it, but I know we did everything humanly possible. Ultimately God alone is the divine Healer.

family picture outside with bride and groom

(Your oldest brother Joshua’s wedding)

Raising children in these difficult times isn’t easy. Add in early trauma, heartbreak beyond belief and a lack of knowledge and you have the perfect storm for failure.

But we didn’t fail. Now 21 years after our story first began, Stephanie is getting married. We couldn’t be more pleased and excited for this new step in her life.

This is our third family wedding (read my letter to my daughter and one to my son) and because of the uncertain times we’ve thrown the ceremony and celebration together in six weeks.

mother to adopted daughter on wedding day

(Your sister Rachel’s wedding)

And like I wrote with her siblings, I want these words as a mother to adopted daughter on wedding day to be a celebration of the joy Stephanie has brought to our family and our lives.

Mother to Adopted Daughter on Wedding Day

February 20, 2021

Dear Stephanie,

I remember clearly the first time I laid eyes on you. You were living with your biological grandparents in a town near us.

(Your baby picture before we met you)

We hadn’t shared with many people our heart for adoption, yet God sent you and your siblings to us in a way that could never be denied.

From a friend of a friend, we learned of three children needing a home. We couldn’t get to you fast enough!

You and your siblings were split up, living with aunts and grandparents who tried their best in spite of hard circumstances.

(You and your younger brother)

Even though we hadn’t even taken the foster care training we knew this was God’s desire for our family, to embrace three children who needed love and commitment.

I wish I could say it’s been easy but we both know it hasn’t been. Raising children, through adoption or biology, is a case of trial and error.

Your formative years have been ones of trusting God when we couldn’t see the way, of clinging to each other through testing and trials that could have destroyed us without God’s provision and goodness.

(At your cousin Jennifer’s wedding)

I’ve failed a lot, wept through the heartbreak and trauma, surrendered to God all I couldn’t control.

What a privilege it’s been watching you become a strong, compassionate young woman, ready to take the next step in your journey.

Stephen is the one God has been preparing your heart for all these years, the one we’ve prayed for, the one God will use to heal broken places and hurts.

Stephanie Age 16 - Marty's Musings

You weren’t dealt a fair start to life but you are an OVERCOMER, a fighter who never gives up. I admire this so much, my sweet daughter, and want you to know I’m your biggest cheerleader.

Even when we were fighting each other (hello, teen years!) I hope you know we’ve always been on the same team.

You love passionately and long to see everyone happy. Don’t forget to listen to your own heart and remember God has a purpose and plan for your life.

You once wrote these words to encourage other adoptive moms:

If gratitude had arms, you would be swept off your feet and you would never touch the ground again. I am SO grateful that my family chose me and didn’t give me up when they found out that I had RAD.

Stephanie Walden

(High school prom, junior year)

My sweet Stephanie, my heart is full of gratitude that God chose YOU for our family, that every difficult moment has culminated in a day where we give you away to Stephen.

letter from mother to adopted daughter with pose of engaged couple

Only God could have orchestrated the many twists and turns in this story and I will be forever grateful for the honor of being your mom.

My prayer for you on your special day tomorrow is simply that you keep your eyes on God and love Him first with all your heart, mind and soul.

I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you for always

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.



(I’ve included some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.) 

I’ll Love You Forever (I read this book to all of my children and it still makes me cry!)
The Love Between a Mother and Daughter Will Last Forever (and inexpensive but very sweet necklace)
Gift book full of encouragement and wisdom(with drawings by Marci)
I Survived My Daughter’s Wedding! mug (yessss!)
Adoption bracelet
Adoption keychain
Hand Crank Music Box (what a sweet, unusual gift!)
Mother of the Bride Embossed Handkerchief (sweet sentiment to carry on the special day)
Stainless Steel Bangle Bracelet with Charm (perfect gift for mother of the bride OR groom)
The Love Between a Mother and Daughter is Forever (collection of poems and artwork)
The Life-giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (beautiful book on the true meaning of home)

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  1. Beautiful story and amazing letter that she will cherish for years to come. Thank you for sharing with us. In these trying times we all need some extra love in our lives.

  2. Marty, as a paraprofessional working with children from hurting homes (PABS class), I commend you for adopting your family!!! For you, sweet Stephanie: I am soooo happy for you!!! God has great plans for you and your new husband. <3 My father was adopted when he was 2 1/2 (in 1933), my youngest brother and his wife adopted our sweet niece, and a cousin also adopted a daughter. The best!!! And we have friends who adopted four children.

    Love comes in many forms, and the best is to be chosen! <3 I wish you all the happiness in the world , Stephanie and Hubby!!! Urrah!

    Many hugs to you all,
    Barb 🙂

    1. Hi, Barbara. What a wonderful way you’re serving the adoption community. There are so many stories to be told of persevering through hard times. I try to encourage all the foster/adopt families that I can!

  3. What a beautiful letter for your beautiful daughter!! Congratulations all around. xx

  4. Marty, I was adopted and I was blessed as your children have been. I totally understand what those arms of gratitude feel like. What a wonderful letter to your daughter. She will cherish it forever.

  5. Oh Marty, what a beautiful, heartfelt post. You put a lump in my throat. Wishing Stephanie and her hubby many happy years together filled with love, laughter, and warm hugging arms.

  6. Beautiful story about huge-hearted people and perseverance through what life threw at you! All the best to your family!