Each year we have a tradition that we do with the girls at Christmas.
In each of their rooms, the girls have a mini Christmas tree. And each year, we go out as a family and purchase an ornament that best describes our year as a family to put on our big Christmas tree and then let each girl pick out their own ornament to put on their little tree in their room. My hope is that someday when they are married, they will be able to take these ornaments with them and have them to put on their own Christmas trees and remember the memories that they hold. They don't always survive my girls' playing : ), but I know they will begin to as they grow.
I'll admit that when we set out to get this year's ornaments, it wasn't the most beautiful memory in the making. It had been a busy week, it was the end of that busy week, and we were truthfully trying to fit it in on an open night so we could get home and get everyone in bed.
And the other truth of it? This mommy was just kind of cranky.
You see, inside I was having a little battle with myself.
This night was one of those nights I just felt irritated with the world over the unknown of our child, time lines and just feeling ready to have our child home with us. After all this time it felt like I should be picking out an ornament for him/her . . .and yet when we were expecting our other girls I didn't buy them ornaments. But it just felt wrong - everything about it, including our child's absence - and I'm sad to admit I wasn't in the most joyous of moods as I wrestled with my feelings and in surrendering them to God.
Ava couldn't decide on her ornament this year.
So we started in one store, went to another where Kate and Olivia found their ornaments, and as Ryan paid for theirs, I begrudgingly took Ava back to the first store where she was told she would have to decide so we could head home.
As Ava browsed and debated once more, I stood back from the display and this time just kind of laid my heart out to God. I was praying for a changed heart and just the grace to trust Him in the remainder of the wait. As I stood back, I glanced over the ornaments seeing if I could find one I thought would help Ava speed up her choice and all of my sudden my heart was in my throat as this was what I saw in front of me that I hadn't seen at all our first trip through.
Everything about this ornament spoke to my heart.
It spoke to my heart hurting for our child, yes. But far more, it spoke to the huge piece that any adoptive mother can not deny . . .that you are forever tied in heart to your child's birth mother.
You see, what I loved about this ornament was that even while I do not know our child's face or name yet, and I do not know his/her story, I do know there is another story being written.
This story, in some shape or form, involves a woman I may or may not ever meet and the fact that her deep loss will in some strange way be our family's answered prayer. It's a reality that is so hard to come to terms with in a broken and fallen world and yet God promises redemption in our child's life and in the life of his/her birth mother.
Today, our child may be growing inside his/her birth mother's womb or our child may have already been born. But as I wrestled with our child's absence and to surrender to God's timing, this was the most precious gift God could have given me that night and I knew in an instance this ornament was coming home with us that night.
Someday, our child will be home we pray. And someday, our child will be putting up decorations with us and hanging the ornaments that tell our family's story. It is unbelievably dear for me to know that this ornament speaks not only to our wait and desire for our child but of our thanks to his/her birth mother for the priceless gift she gave and the fact that she will always be a deep part of our family circle.
I couldn't have dreamed up what I was searching for that night amidst my agitation and grumpy heart, but I loved that my God saw deep into that heart and in that moment spoke such love to this waiting momma.
Until you are home child of mine . . .