A personal note of thanks to everyone who attended our Sept. 25 Hope Pack drive

To everyone who participated in our Sept. 25 Carrying Hope Hope Pack drive: 
Thank you. You helped me get through one of the most difficult weeks of my life. 
For the past year and a half, my husband and I were foster parents to a beautiful little girl who came to us when she was 6 months old. She was part of the inspiration for Carrying Hope, because when she arrived at our front door, she came with almost nothing. In December, her little sister was born, and she came to live with us, too. 
My husband and I raised them, and loved them, like our own biological daughters. Our hope was to adopt them, and for a long segment of their case, that was CPS’ plan as well. But this summer the plan changed and it was ultimately decided they would be reunited with their biological mom on Sept. 26, the day after our drive. 
We spent the week leading up to the drive teaching the girls our first names, “Kristin” and “Patrick,” so they would know who their biological mom was talking about if she decided to let us visit. To the girls, we had only ever been Mom and Dad.
I spent the morning before the Hope Pack drive doing something I never thought I would do: creating Hope Packs for my own daughters. I stuffed them full of their favorite things and made a silent wish that this transition would be a good thing for them.
Hope Packs created for my foster daughters the day before they left us to go back to their biological mom.

The Hope Packs I created for my foster daughters the day before they left.

Maybe you saw the girls at the drive. Our nearly 2-year-old was intrepidly exploring the grounds, and our 9-month-old was strapped to me for most of it, smiling as always. The next day, they were gone, vanished from our home like ghosts into the mist. 
I used to say becoming a foster parent was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not. Saying goodbye to those girls was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Playing in the rain with one of our foster daughters the weekend before she left.

Playing in the rain with one of our foster daughters the weekend before she left.

But there’s a silver lining. And that’s you.
You were there. You were the friends offering hugs when I didn’t even know I needed them. You were the strangers dropping off Hope Packs with no motive other than believing in the cause. You were the acquaintances who live states away making online donations as if to say, “We’re with you.” You guys got me through it and showed me that even though my heart was breaking, there was good coming out of it. 
Since we established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit this summer, Carrying Hope has already helped hundreds of children entering foster care in Central Texas. To us, that’s just the beginning. There’s so much more we want to do, and so much more we can do, thanks to you.
Thank you so very much for believing in this cause. And for being there when some of us needed you the most. 
Kristin Finan
President/CEO, Carrying Hope