In the quiet of the Christmas tree lights I could admit to myself that I felt alone. We had finished our home study earlier in the month and were preparing for the holiday season of 2011. Would a baby girl play at my feet at next year’s Christmas? Or was adopting a pipe dream that only a select few get to participate. Were we worthy? Would an expectant mom look at us and see a place where her baby girl would fit in? So many questions and emotions run through me as I stare at the lights and realize that they are blurry. Through my tears, I acknowledged to myself that choosing to adopt can sometimes feel like you are on a deserted island.
And that is how I felt. That no one cared to inquire about our adoption process. No one ate, breathed, or lived adoption every moment, but me. No one wanted to pontificate with me every second of the day. And honestly, neither did I. I wanted to immerse myself in my boys and wait for “the call.” Whenever that would be. But mostly, I wanted someone to acknowledge that we were on this journey. I wanted to feel that we were exactly what someone was looking for. I wanted to know that God heard our prayers from someone else’s lips and not just from my mind. I needed to be reassured.
On this particular day, I had been having a hard time. We decorated the tree with our boys doing our traditional routine. I handed out the ornaments and told a story of where it came from, what it meant to us as a family, or to that individual. But I was lackluster. I wasn’t into it as I usually was. And I felt tearful. How long would we have to wait? Would she come? Next year would a baby girl be playing at my feet and trying to grab ornaments from the tree? I wanted her so badly, I could feel her small body and my heart ached with longing. But she wasn’t there then. And it didn’t look like she would be with us any time soon.
There was a knock on the door and my husband opened it. Standing outside was our preacher’s wife, Tammy. She was also a close friend of my husband’s because they worked together. But I did not know her well, although I really enjoyed her company when we would speak to each other.
Although we love having people over, our friends do not often just drop in on us and as Dave invited her in, she looked uncomfortable and not quite sure how she ended up on our doorstep. I continued to clean up thinking she needed to talk to him about something when he asked me to come into the foyer. “Tammy has something for you.”
So I went and graciously accepted her gift. Unwrapping it, my breath caught in my throat. It was an amazing ornament with a snowman family of six on it. Our family, when our daughter joined us. As I stared at her name on a snowman hat, I began to sob. I threw myself into my husband’s arms and cried. Of course, our friend felt miserable! This was not the reaction that someone gives to heartfelt gift! She felt like she had done something wrong and began to apologize. Dave shushed her fears and told her she did something very right. The gift was perfect.
Would a baby join our family?
See, I had been having a hard time with this waiting phase. I felt like I was asking too much to add a little girl into our sweet family of three boys. Like a child who asks for a cupcake, with icing, AND sprinkles, I wondered if I was pushing my luck. Would a baby join our family? Did anyone else believe that this would happen? Did I look foolish standing in faith for something that may never happen? And then, suddenly, in a whisper of time, there was someone else standing there with me. There was someone else who walked in faith that God would have the perfect child join our family. I was not alone. Others were praying for our daughter to be. For her first mom. For her to come and join our family of five. Staring at that tiny ornament, it was like she was already there.
Recently I learned from Tammy’s daughter that she had no idea why she bought us that ornament. That she just felt like she should. Both she and her daughter were baffled when she picked it out, spelled all of our names, and had them wrap up that tiny piece of molded plastic with sharpie on it. But following her heart brought me such peace. Following the instinct that God placed on her, opened a window into my soul that let me know our dream would come true. In God’s time. I just had to continue to walk in faith.
Each year when I pull that ornament out to hang on the tree, it brings tears to my eyes. It is one of my most treasured possessions. When I look at it I see hope, friendship, faith, and perseverance. And when I look up, I see a little girl, born into my arms February of 2012, waiting to hear the story once again as she hangs it on the tree.
In this holiday season of waiting and wonderment, know you are not alone in wishing for your heart’s desire. And as we hang ornaments on the tree, each with a special story of it’s own, we realize that the real jewels of the season are the arms of our children around our necks. May one tiny gesture of the season be the gift you need.