Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind you that life is fleeting and everything you treasure can be gone in an instant. And, sometimes it takes a really big miracle to put the broken pieces back together.

In mid-January, I received word that a young lady passed away after being hit by a car in Newburgh, IN. The story spread quickly and was soon covered by regional and even national news outlets. When I first learned the girl was a Junior at Castle, I thought about my niece who is also a Junior and I texted her. We had a brief discussion and I found out that she was friends with the victim, Davis Collier.

Collier Family

My next observation was the girls' name. Davis. It's an unusual but beautiful name. I went on to wonder how her parents chose the name. We all have our own sweet little story of how our name was chosen. What was hers?

It's easy to think of this as just 'a story.' When the story is no longer the hot topic, the world moves on. But behind 'the story,' there are broken hearts and broken lives. There are people who are living the tragedy and are grieving immensely.

The story quieted down and I and the rest of the media moved on to reporting newer stories. Then, without provocation, on a random Saturday in February my mind revisited Davis. I wondered how her family was doing. I don't know them but I am connected to them through my niece. I think God often brings up my past blogs to remind me of the human element. I've written about some of the most heartbreaking tragedies our community has had to face. The hardest are always the ones that involve a person who is just starting out in life. And my heart always aches for their mamas...

I try to say a prayer for the families when a past story comes to mind. I don't think it was a coincidence that very afternoon, I received a text from my sister-in-law (my niece's mother) about a truly divine update to the story and it's coming from halfway around the world.

West Family

On Feb 16, 2018, two days after Davis Collier's would-be 17th birthday, her mom Leanne received an unexpected text from a friend.

It all started on February 13, 2017, when a baby boy was born in Uganda, Africa, one day before Davis Collier's birthday on February 14. Sadly, when he was only a few hours, his mother passed away. Before she passed, she named him Davis. At three days old, he was placed in foster care with the West family, missionary family who are currently residing in Uganda but are currently in the process of moving to Newburgh, IN.

Baby Davis' father also died last year but it was his greatest wish that his son would be able to spend his life with the West family. The family started working toward adoption so they can bring him back to the United States. Currently, Mr. West is in Uganda with Baby Davis awaiting a court date for the legal adoption while Mrs. West and her children are moving to the Newburgh area. To adopt Baby Davis and bring him to the US, the family needed to raise $14,000. Upon hearing that his family needed additional funds to bring baby Davis home, local people started donating to his adoption in memory of Davis Collier. The family is only $3,200 away from the adoption being fully funded. What a beautiful exchange to come from such tragic events.

The Collier Family

Leanne Collier, Davis' mother, talked about what an overwhelming and positive connection this was for her and how it has helped her grieve.

The West family is a family that we have not yet met in person, but who we feel a strong connection with.

In order for you to understand why this affected me, you should know Davis had an incredibly genuine heart for adoption, not just a whim, but an absolute calling and direction in her life that had really grown the last few years. She knew she would adopt; she even shared with us that her future husband (whoever he would be) must be as equally committed. As her parents, we fully accepted that someday we would be grandparents to children of other skin colors and born of other nations, because believe me, she was committed.  While in my own parenting life I had NEVER once even considered this for our own family, we saw first hand that love and certainty in Davis. Quite honestly, it was remarkable.

But, now this.

I was angry because I heard the shooter from the Florida school (which took place on Davis’ birthday) had been an adopted child. I also recently learned the driver of the car that hit Davis, from what I understand to be true, was also adopted. 

I so firmly believe Satan had his hand in both of these tragic events. And he would love nothing more than for me to sit here and stew in my anger. I wanted to tuck thoughts of adoption (and supporting adoption) away forever. Because just look how it turns out!?!  No! We will choose to honor Davis through other means of support.

And then the text came in.

I had not shared my feelings with anyone. My friends were clueless. Just stewing all day alone. That night, I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to help our son with homework, my mind whirling with of all of these ugly thoughts of the day, and I was ANGRY inside. But, then at 9:11 pm my phone buzzed. And I read a text from my friend Marsha:

“I just gave one of my gives in honor of Davis. The West family from our church is currently seeking funds to help fund their adoption fees for a boy named **Davis** from Africa.”

Long story short, I am now friends with the adopting mother through Facebook, because honestly, I needed to see it first hand and see if this was real or not. After several messages with Mrs. West back and forth, including me sharing my day and those feelings, these words she messaged me stick out:

“God is bigger than those issues and able to do so much healing, but not everyone leans in to Him. I think these kids need to know God has a greater purpose for their lives.”

Our Davis, whose heart was influenced in such a manner, that over the last few years,  we came to understand that it wasn’t a matter of “if” she would adopt, but rather how many. She was inspired by strong, faithful, and loving Christian families who chose adoption. If they fall on hard times, they lean into God and they are teaching their children to do the same. And that is what we support and what Davis saw. 

These lives - our Davis, the Wests', the baby “Davis” in Uganda; these lives were already in motion. THIS WAS NO COINCIDENCE!

I sit here today and think that if the Wests had been part of our church, instead of my friend Marsha’s, I think how over the moon excited Davis would be for their family and awaiting this baby’s arrival. Names and birthdays aside, she would just be SO excited to snuggle, love, and welcome that sweet boy into our church family. Our Davis,  who was literally magnetic to children, (the Kid Whisperer coined by our pastor at her funeral) and children were magnetic to her,  would have been the first in line to love on that incredibly adorable baby boy who not only shared her name and similar birthday but something bigger.

They shared the fingerprints of God. And I can get behind supporting that.

West Family

It's my belief that God has given us each free will to make our own choices and each choice is labored with its own outcome. Good choices, bad choices - they all lead to a different path. But, what a testament that God can use any choice, any outcome, any path to make something beautiful.

Though I did not know Davis, her family remembers fondly that she loved children of all colors - from every corner of the world. Even at such a young age, she had a passion for the motherless child.

 

Mrs. Collier shared this text from her daughter with me. I don't know many 16-year-old girls that are this excited about National Adoption Day! I feel blessed that her mom has allowed me to join in this journey and tell her real story. To the Collier family, this blog is just one little dot among so many that God has placed on the journey. And, they are finding that He reveals Himself and his perfect plan. Her life may have ended early but her legacy lives on. And what a perfect miracle that another Davis is finding his way to Newburgh, IN, with her help.

The Welsh surname 'Davis' is derived from the Hebrew name "David," which means "beloved." I don't know why Davis' Colliers parents named her Davis. But, I do know that she was undeniably loved by her entire community. And this little boy will be too.

If you'd like to donate to Baby Davis' adoption, you can do so at the Support the West Family Adoption page.  To make a donation in Davis Collier's name, click the 'I Would Like to Dedicate this Donation' checkbox.

West Family