On this day, in 2007, I stripped Kerri of her diaper and walked into the Fort Lauderdale ocean with a naked baby in my arms. Two rabbis performed her conversion ceremony and she emerged from the ocean with a new name and faith, along with several others.
It was a very sad day, since one of her grandmothers had recently passed away and Kerri's Daddy was in Canada handling family affairs. And Kerri's other grandmother was terminally ill and unable to attend the ceremony.
Kerri was named after her two grandmas that day. Since one was not Jewish, the rabbis had to do research to properly translate her name into Hebrew. And we had to get special permission to name Kerri after grandparents that (at the time we arranged this) were still alive.
It was raining. And little Kerri, who has some serious sensory processing issues, had never been at the ocean or felt sand. It was very painful for her, since the experiences were all new and overwhelming. And I felt so alone, as I struggled not to cry and be strong for my little baby. When it was over, I rushed to the Mama Mobile to dry her off and change her. But no one saw us leave the beach, and when I returned it was a frantic scene. Apparently, the rabbis thought we had drowned in the strong undercurrent, and everyone was desperately searching in the water for us.
So on this day Kerri became a Jew. She really had no choice in the matter, since her parents made the decision for her before she ever joined our family. And maybe she may decide to change that someday. But in the meantime, she is learning about both Judaism at home, and Catholicism at school. And that her parents put all their faith in G-d when we started our journey to Kerri. And we have been blessed every day since.
Life with Kerri remembers.