Most kids can’t wait for Halloween, but not for these two adopted daughters. The holiday always brought back some painful memories for both girls as a result of a past traumatic experience. However, this Halloween was a different story!
In 2014, Amy Beth Gardner of Cleveland, Tennessee, welcomed two foster children, Bridgett, then 5, and Breonna, then 9, into her family after she and her husband struggled with infertility. During fall that year, Gardner detected her adopted daughters would freeze in fear every time she mentioned Halloween. When she asked both sisters why, their answer made her blood run cold.
Gardner shared in a Facebook post that the girls told her “how they had once been given candy for Halloween only to have an adult take the candy and eat it in front of them.” When the girls started crying, the adult cruelly forced the girls to eat the empty wrappers of the chocolate peanut butter cups.
Learning their story, Gardner carefully planned to celebrate Bridgett and Breonna’s first Halloween at their new home. To earn the girls’ trust, she gave them two plastic bags and a black marker when they got home from trick-or-treating. She instructed them to count the number of pieces of candy.
“When they finished counting, I helped them label their bags with the precise number of pieces of candy inside and, each time they would eat a piece of candy, I helped them relabel their bags,” she wrote.
Weeks after Halloween, the girls would still recount their pieces before going to bed. “I would sit and count their candy with them night after night, earning their trust one lollipop at a time,” Gardner added.
That was three years ago when the girls just came into Gardner’s life. This Halloween, however, things were a little different.
On Oct. 25, when Gardner was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, her youngest daughter, Bridgett, now 8, approached her with a bag of candy, which she had received at a Halloween event.
The bag of candy was wrapped in a piece of paper. On the paper, Bridgett wrote, “Mom, I want to give you a taste of how much love I have for you by giving you my candy.”
Gardner’s heart sank upon reading the note. She was touched that Bridgett was able to relinquish her painful experience and “chose to give despite what had been done to her.”
“She filled a bag full of her very favorite pieces and gave them to me with so much earnest pride on her face,” Gardner shared.
Bridgett’s sweet gesture has also taught Gardner a lesson. “What if you and I show that same kind of courage today as we take inventory of our own pain – and allow the bitter to become sweet?” she wrote.
This loving mom has been inspiring us with her touching posts; last time, we shared how she taught her young daughter a life lesson about the “power of words” using a tube of toothpaste. Well, this time, are you touched by her daughter Bridgett’s courage?