These pictures are all I have to remember Aiden and Seth. I look at them often, and try to imagine the strong and intelligent young men they are growing up to be. I missed nearly four years of Haley’s life, and I am privileged to have her back with me now.
Me holding Aiden at only a few months old. That is one proud poppa! I am still proud of Aiden, even though we’re both a bit older now.
He may be a proud poppa himself one day.
I hope when that day comes, I get to see it…
Here, I’m holding Seth for his adoption hearing! Aiden gained a brother that day, and I gained a son. Seth was a bit challenging at the beginning, but he has grown into an intelligent, strong, and compassionate young man. I have high hopes for him, even if I can’t be with him right now.
This was Haley’s Adoption day! I was so proud to have her join our family! Having a daughter has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming, and so thankful that every day I see her grow more.
Another early picture with Aiden. He’s taking a bite of a pork rib on one of our camping trips. We’re still very much alike. I’m told he’s pretty good at making ribs and other meats himself now. I hope one day we can share ribs again (but not like this!).
These three amazing kids were my inspiration and my strength for completing Army Basic Training. I can’t think of a better reason, a more powerful motivator, or a sweeter reward for coming home!
Seth and me just goofing around. We did a lot of that together. I hope he remembers.
He always was a clever kid, and has a great heart as well.
He’s not a little kid anymore, but I will always cherish these memories.
I’m going with the kids on their first day of school.
They were so proud of me then, just like I was proud of them.
I am still very proud of all of them, even if the boys hate me now.
Aiden was so proud to be just like his daddy! I understand he’s still just like me, even though he probably doesn’t want to be.
But I will always be a part of him, and he will always be a part of me.
And I will always, ALWAYS love him and his brother, no matter what.
Haley’s 10th birthday. I’ve missed so many of her birthday’s since this one, but I’m glad I won’t have to miss any more, since she’s living with me again.
Me just goofing around with Aiden, like we always used to. He would laugh like crazy.
I miss these times with him. I wonder if he remembers them?
Saying goodbye to Seth for my deployment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I know Seth still misses me, even if he’s had to push that feeling down deep, and pretend that he doesn’t. I miss him too.
Enjoying the few last moments with Haley before my deployment overseas. She’s still daddy’s little girl, even though she’s as tall as I am now!
So difficult to say goodbye.
I still feel like this…
all the time.
A proud father with his three proud children. This is us, all being reunited after my deployment in 2010. We were all so happy to see each other!
I’m sure we’ll all be reunited again one day, even though I can’t say when.
It has been way too many Christmases since we’ve been together as a family.
All three of them are STILL my family, and they always will be.
This is all three of them with their Uncle Scott. When their relationship with me was severed, it wasn’t the only relationship they lost. Extended family feels the sting of loss as well. Scott and Amanda can’t wait to see them again, and their Uncle Willey too.
This is the last picture I have of Aiden and Seth, and for a long time, it was the last one I had of Haley as well. This picture was taken at the end of April, 2012. More than five years ago now. They’ve all grown so much, although I didn’t get to see it. I don’t know when I’ll see the boys again, or if they’ll even want to see me when I do. I’ve missed them every single day; sometimes so much that it hurts.