Last year at this time as we celebrated Thanksgiving and began Advent and Christmas preparations, we thought we were safe. Safe because we were over our quota, we had too many children. Even if we wanted to bring home another little child, we wouldn't be able to do so. That made things easy for us. Growing our family from three children to six in such a short time had taken its toll on me. I was struggling to figure it all out and there was a comfort to knowing we couldn't adopt again even if we wanted to. We put the idea of another adoption out of our minds. Somehow that lent a selfishness to our family.
Closer to Christmas I began reading a book that talked of orphanage conditions in that far off country. It was a book I only read because I was certain we couldn't adopt again. I read the book, and I wept. I wept for the children in that orphanage. I wept for my beautiful son and daughter who had most likely experienced some of what was detailed in that book. Little Juju weighed barely four pounds when she was found on the side of the road the day she was born. Poor Joseph's cleft lip and palate prevented him from getting adequate nutrition. My heart went out for them and those like them who were cold and hungry.
I thought then of my own stress. I was worried about pulling off a Currier and Ives, picture perfect holiday. Beautiful decorations, new presents, Christmas dresses, new jammies for perfect Christmas morning pictures, a cleaner home, dozens of cookies that would make Martha Stewart proud. I lost sight of what stress really was. Each night I was laying my head on a fancy silk fiber pillow, in a temperature controlled house, snuggled into a down comforter with an amazing warmth rating. While I struggled with preparing and cleaning meals, there was never a worry there wouldn't be a meal. Not just any meal either, we eat like kings; turkeys, stuffing, pies, much more than we need. We have fancy appliances to prepare meals, countless pretty dishes and gadgets. We have closets of clothes, and more in bins in the basement waiting for a child to reach the right size, and toys everywhere I turn.
These aren't even the important things. I have an amazing husband, I have six beautiful children who daily reflect the blessings of God. I'm never, sometimes overwhelmingly never, alone. I am so incredibly blessed and loved. We have an absolutely amazing extended family. Parents who make the most amazing grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, so many people who love us. We have wonderful friends, a beautiful parish community, a fantastic homeschool group. So many people who enrich our lives in so many ways.
Stress? Really? These children might not survive the cold winter. No fancy down comforters, no thermostats, little food, little clothing, and most importantly little love. How could I be so blessed and yet think I was stressed?
Then right before Christmas last year we received an email that changed everything. It was an irrelevant message that started us asking questions, and then eventually it turned our world upside down. We could indeed adopt again....
This year I am so incredibly thankful for that privilege, again. Thankful for the reminder of the gifts we are given. Thankful for the many blessings little Peter will bring to our family. Thankful for the perspective he gives me as we head into another holiday season. No gift means as much to us as bringing him home.
Please pray for him. We long to have him here with us this Christmas, but know we still have months to wait. We want so much to lavish him with food, warmth and the love he so much needs. He still has a few cold months in a place with no family, no warm holiday mornings. All we can offer him right now is our prayers.