Relationships: California Girl


“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”  ~anonymous


Much has evolved over the past few months in the Pentico clan. Alan’s dad was put in a nursing home. His mom was cleared by the doctor as “cancer free”. And we moved. With that many cogs turning at once, something BIG was bound to happen.

Samantha has gone to California. And as you might have guessed from the quote above, her Summer visit was extended permanently. She’s staying.

It’s hard for me to express in words how I feel about this. Sometimes I feel like life is simply one rough draft after the other. I just get an idea of what I’m supposed to be doing with the life that Heavenly Father blesses me with and things change. I feel like shouting, “Hey, wait a minute! She was just getting the hang of not throwing tantrums or…” (the list goes on and on). We were making progress! I just got the chance to be a mom and now…”

More often than not, however, I feel this blanket of peace calming me when I remember the beautiful priesthood blessing Alan gave her the night before he took her to California. We had a last Family Home Evening to talk about agency. And afterward we told Samantha that she was smart enough, strong enough and old enough to choose for herself. For the first time in her life she was given the choice of where she wanted to live. I don’t think anything has ever meant more to her.

I hope I never forget the look on her face that night or the feeling in the room. More than that, I hope she never forgets how she felt because she radiated. (Even now I can’t think about it without crying.)

We told her that we love her and want her to be happy and that we knew how important her life and family in California were to her. I worry about her future, but there are invaluable aspects to her life that we had to consider.

Some things that give me hope for her happiness:

  • Even though she’s the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her family there, church members are nearby. We are currently on the search for her bishop (so far–no working #s).
  • She’s developed a stronger relationship with her birth mother than she had before she came to live with us. We’re happy for Jessica and Samantha and the future they may have together if all goes as we pray for.
  • She misses her dad and counts down the time till she’ll see him again.
  • We’ve learned that we could never really be her mom and dad, even through adoption. She has a mom and dad who both continue to make efforts to tell her they love her and support her. As time went on and things didn’t seem to be falling into place with the adoption process, we continued to wonder why. We only knew that it was important that she see how much we loved each other and that she knew we loved her.
  • Her “Me-ma” is essentially her mother and she always will be. She’s too much a part of Samantha.
  • Samantha had two siblings that lived across the street from her and she misses her sister, Morgan–like the dickens. She talks about Me-ma and Morgan more than she does Justin Beiber or Joe Jonas. That says it all!

Many of Samantha’s behavioral problems that we all struggled with came from what she’s returning to and I worry for her. I pray that she will remember that the Holy Ghost is with her now. I will always pray that she will make the effort to utilize Him.

Over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve learned a lot from having Samantha in our lives. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that behavioral problems are not as important to get over as family relationships are to forge. If we have the latter, the former can diminish.

We’re grateful that we will always be Samantha’s family.

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