CW2 – Raising Emma Joy

Krista and her daughter are struggling to survive on the small income Krista makes at a local drug store. Thoughts of adoption race through her mind. She knows the memory would stick with Emma Joy the rest of her life, but would it be best for her daughter? She wonders if God is leading her to make this heartbreaking, yet necessary decision.

Raising Emma Joy

Things just aren’t working out. Letting out a sigh, her brow furrowed and eyes quickly watered. Grabbing a dishcloth and drying the clean dinner plate, Krista Hayes turned out of her daughter’s view and set the plate in the cupboard. Regaining concentration and composure, she turned around and stuck her hands into the warm soapy water once again. Her mind wondered back to her 12th grade year. That mistake cost her a college education and career, but as the nurse gently eased Emma’s tiny body into Krista’s arms, her heart melted. Eyes sweeping across the child’s precious face, Krista observed her delicate nose, sparkling blue eyes, little ears, and angel soft skin. Smiling down into the innocent face that peered up at her, she adored the petite fingers that wrapped around her thumb. Bringing Emma close to her heart, she promised that she would never let her go. Looking up from the sink, Krista watched Emma Joy, contentedly settled by the living room window in their tiny apartment. Legs crossed Indian-style, Emma, now four, sat on the carpeted floor stacking her yellow, red, and blue building blocks as high as she could. The sun illuminated her dark blonde hair and her bright eyes mirrored happiness itself. Every giggle made Krista smile. The dark pink leggings and polka-dotted shirt fit Emma’s sweet personality. Krista wanted to scoop her up, dropping kisses all over her face and tickling her sides just to hear that burst of laughter. She tried to regain her focus. What would she do? Until now, she had dismissed every thought that popped into her mind concerning her and Emma and the future they had. She wasn’t the perfect parent, but how could she be at only 22? Emma didn’t have a father, but she needed one. When Krista’s boyfriend found out, he tried to convince her to abort, even going as far as scheduling the appointment for her. But she had already gone too far that night. Two wrongs don’t make a right, she had thought. She couldn’t ask God for forgiveness for that terrible sin and then murder a faultless child. The guilt would have been too much. When Krista refused, he dumped her right away. And now she was alone. It was just her and Emma. But was that enough? She didn’t want Emma ending up like her. What can I do though?…adoption? Frustration clouded her mind and she decided to put the subject away, at least for the now.

Mommy, don’t leave me! Emma clutched her mother’s jeaned leg, tears streaming down her red face and loud cries bursting from her open mouth. Honey I have to, Krista replied, crying so hard the words could only come out syllables at a time. Don’t cry honey, we’ll see each other again soon, Krista soothed. Face wet with tears, she bent down to her knee and embraced Emma tightly, cherishing her. Shh, it’s ok sweety. Don’t cry darling. Emma threw her arms around Krista’s neck and grasped her mother’s yellow blouse, trying to hold onto the only person she loved. Mommy! Emma screamed hysterically as Krista began prying her little hands from her leg. No! Mommy! No! Don’t leave! Thrusting her into the arms of the adoption agent, Krista took a step back. She felt as though someone tore her heart straight out of her chest and threw it a hundred miles away. As the woman took ahold of Emma’s hand and started pulling her away, Emma cried even louder, trying with all her might to run back into her mother’s arms. Reaching her free hand toward her mother, she screamed. No, Mommy, I love you! Don’t leave me! Krista could barely breathe she was crying so hard. Heart breaking and face still soaked with fresh, warm tears, Krista took another step back. Wait, what am I doing? She continued backing away, eventually getting into her car. No! Stop! Go back and get her! You can’t leave your daughter crying in the arms of an adoption agent. You’ll never see her again! Despite her thoughts, she proceeded to get in her car and turn on the ignition, crying all the more. But it was as though she didn’t have the power to go back – as if she couldn’t control her actions. Then a deep voice sounded in her mind, blocking out Emma’s crying, the car’s rattle, and even her own thoughts – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). “Mommy!” a fresh voice resonated in her head. “Mommy, get up!” Emma?  Krista’s eyes fluttered open and she saw her beautiful little daughter leaning over her, still in her purple princess pajamas and holding her yellow sippy cup. “Hey sweetie.” Her heart swelled with relief as she wrapped her arms around Emma, bringing her up next to her on the bed. As Krista childishly pulled the covers up over their heads, Emma turned on her side to face her mother. Curling up in a little ball and hugging her knees with one hand, still holding her yellow sippy cup in the other, Emma promised, “I love you Mommy. More than anyone in the whole world.”

Imitating Emma’s actions, Krista turned to face her daughter and pulled her knees up as well. Her dark brown eyes gazed into Emma’s “I love you too honey. More than anyone.”

The day had been long. Krista could not keep her mind off of the dream she had the night before and had trouble concentrating at the drug store – what did it mean? The deep voice in the end – it had to be God. It was so soothing, but how could it be? Was He trying to tell her that adoption was not the only way? That He would take care of them? Or maybe God was telling her that Emma needed a new family? Trying to show her that it would be hard, but worth it. But, I love her so much… Was that selfish? Had she been selfish all this time, wanting to keep Emma. She’s all I have…I’m all she has… Krista sighed and reached across the small space between her bed and the lamp, quickly turning it off and lying back down. She starred into the darkness for several seconds, mind blank but heart troubled. Rolling around to her right side, she pleaded, “God, please. Show me what to do.” Taking a deep breath, Krista closed her eyes.

The next morning, Krista woke to the annoying beeping of her alarm clock. Ugh, time to get up – Monday. Turning the alarm off, Krista dragged herself out of bed. Her shift started at seven. After a quick shower, Krista threw on her work clothes and put her thick brown hair into a sloppy bun, adding a little make-up to cover the unwanted circles under her dark brown eyes. Stepping out the door, a verse came to her. “Look at the birds of the air… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?… Do not worry…(Matthew 6:26,31)” Krista sighed. What are you trying to tell me, Lord?


Blankly staring at the little silver bell near the cash register, Krista’s mind wandered. Thoughts about Emma continued to fill her mind until her wristwatch started beeping. Checking the time, Krista sighed. Eleven o’clock. When she spotted Lauren, walking down the street, she peeked into the manager’s office. “Mr. Davis, Lauren’s here. I’ll be back at three, ok?”

“That’s fine, Ms. Hayes. See you later.” the old manager smiled. Krista tried to smile back, but she wasn’t sure if a smile actually appeared on her face. Grabbing her purse, Krista opened the door and stepped outside. As the cool breeze blew loose strands of hair about her face, Krista began the short walk back to their apartment. Tossing her things on the kitchen counter, Krista slipped her shoes off and sunk into recliner in the living room. “Mommy!” Emma yelled as pounded through the hall of the building. Opening the door, she ran into her mother’s arms. “Emma!” Krista smiled, pulling Emma onto her lap. “How was school, honey?”

“Mommy, we got to play with finger paint! Look at mine!” As they both got up, Emma carefully placed the large sheet of cardstock on the kitchen table. She admired her work for a minute and then peered into her mother’s face. Krista fought the tears back, blinking rapidly. Emma’s little work of art was combined of several different colors of paint all mixed together. But in the center of the paper was the word “forever,” which Emma had clearly written out with her little finger. “Did you spell that word all by yourself, sweetie!” Krista asked surprised.

“No,” Emma admitted. “Mrs. E. helped me. All the other kids just mixed their colors together, but I wrote a word on it so we can hang it in my room and it will look pretty. See, the little string will hold it up. Can we, Mommy?”

Smiling into the beautiful face of her daughter, Krista replied, “Of course! It’s beautiful, Emma.” Emma danced around while Krista grabbed a small nail and hammer. Thank you God!


20 thoughts on “CW2 – Raising Emma Joy

  1. Nice story. I liked the interactions between Krista and Emma. Interesting themes, but I liked that you didn’t have it end with Krista getting married, and going to college, and getting the perfect job. Life isn’t perfect, and all too often, realistic fiction succumbs to the siren call of attempted perfection.
    Good job!

  2. You changed the ending. 😦 And now she stays with Krista. 😦 I liked the first one…

    I was literally *amazed* at how much better this was compared to the first draft (except the ending ;D). You fixed it up so well!! Especially in the first paragraph–it flowed sooo beautifully and in the first there was about 100 each of Krista and Emma’s names. 😉 Teehee. but you were able to get rid of pretty much all of them!!! Wonderful job, dear! Now it’s perfect!
    The reason I liked the first ending so. much. better, it just added *feeling* to your paper. Like, it was so powerful. It made your readers get that sad but happy all at the same time feeling. You have no idea how disappointed I was when I realized you were doing something else. 🙂 Every other change you made was perfect. But sometimes it’s to end in a sad way. : ) hehe. Idk, I would just love to see you put it back in. See what the rest of the class thinks of it. 🙂
    These are just my thoughts dear, don’t feel compelled to do anything different! Your story is still awesome without that ending!! <3<3<3<3 I'm so proud of you, you whipped this up in no. time. at all! Lovely job!
    I love you so much!! I miss you TERRIBLY! ='(

      • You don’t like the ending!?!?! hehe, it’s so much happier, though 😉 my mom read it + she was like, “Abby, if Emma leaves Krista, your reader will hate you.” lol, so I was like, oh, okay + i changed it =]
        thanks so much dear!! im gonna re-read yer story tonight <3<3 Love you!!!
        I was thinking about you so much today + i miss you sooooooo badly!!!! ='(

      • NO!!! not at all 😦 REVERT TO THE ORIGINAL. 😀

        Okay, darling! 🙂

        Oh dear!!! 😦 I MISS YOU! I was texting my “other” Abby today, and I was sending her pictures of us. 🙂 And I was also sending to pictures to my friend, Lauren. 🙂 hehe. I can’t wait for my parents to get home so I can finalize y’all coming here!!! I NEED TO SEE YOU! 😦
        I love you so much ❤

  3. Aww, this is so sweet! Emma is adorable. =) It’s kind of funny that we both used that name for this assignment, hehe. I liked your usage of Bible verses.

    There’s one big thing that I kept wondering about throughout the story: why was Krista suddenly doubting her ability to raise Emma? Four years is a long time, so I feel like something substantial should’ve happened to make her thoughts waver. Other than that, you did an excellent job with Krista’s feelings. =)

    I actually like the ending, too, heh. Maybe it’s because I know so many kids who have been adopted of whom most (if not all) have been in such a situation because of abusive parents. Now, it would be one thing if Krista was making the decision right after she gave birth, but after four years it seems kind of wrong to me that she would give up her child to that. =P I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to give up your child, and Emma would be old enough that it could have a significant impact on her, too.

    So there’s that. Sorry for the mini rant. XD I can definitely see how a different ending would be powerful, I just don’t favor it. =)

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Beautiful story! Sometimes I think people get so wrapped up in the sin of a person, that they fail to recognize that a baby is precious no matter if her parents were married or not. You did such a good job of showing that Emma was blessing.

    After the verse about the Father feeding the birds of the air, I was hoping you’d have her get help from somewhere. Like, she decides to keep Emma in faith that God will provide, and then somehow he provides. For example, I’m the director/founder of a ministry that gives baby showers to single pregnant women. You could have an organization like that help her or individuals or a church.

  5. Beautiful story, Abigail! I love the characters and the storyline. It’s all very beautiful. Great job! =) I can’t think of any comments to make…it all sounded well-finished and lovely. 🙂

  6. This was a great story!! Emma is so adorable and believable! I’m glad that she stayed with Kristi, but I don’t exactly see how the fingerpainted picture really shows Kristi the answer to her prayer. But anyways, keep up the good work!

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