(Photo cred sahsha kochanowicz)
When I was pregnant for the first time, I was so, so sick. I remember my OB telling me how lucky I was, as severe morning sickness was a sign that everything was progressing well with the pregnancy. Miscarriage was not something I had experienced in my family, so it never occurred to me that it could be otherwise. I walked through the baby store, touching every soft onesie and rattle for what felt like hours… amazed that this tiny kernel making me so miserable would come out and wear these precious things. I selected a duck themed set for my gender unknown babe, and carried it to the checkout.
Not too long after that, my baby died and a piece of my heart did, too. I boxed those items up and was furious at myself for not exercising more caution. I promised myself that I would never be so vulnerable, and I remember declaring that I would “just adopt my future kids, because this is TOO HARD.” (ha. how naive.)
When I was unexpectedly pregnant again a few months later, I could not bring myself to purchase a single item until my mid pregnancy check up. I stared in awe as they examined every single tiny piece of her and declared her perfect. I let the breath that I held for twenty weeks escape. She was born with long black hair, delicate fingers, the biggest, most beautiful eyes and a temper handed down from two sides of Irish descent. I looked at her and said “well, there you are. We’ve been waiting for you” and I knew that these words were true in the very deepest part of my heart… and even if I had never been able to hold her, I would have loved her all the same.
Our family went on to experience more loss and more glimpses of heaven. I would have to pack up more too-soon purchases and figure out how to include babies that never arrived into our family narrative, but I held fast to the idea that every single baby should be welcomed without reservation, without hesitation, for however long they may be ours. We announced our pregnancies early and picked up the softest pajamas and chose names and planned where they would sleep. I wanted to surround my little one in love and if they had to leave me, it’s okay. I will see them again one day.
I approached adoption the same. We named the daughter of our hearts Maggie and carried her in our hearts for three years. We bought small gifts for her and imagined how we’d decorate her space. We checked the weather in Africa and followed her country’s news. We frequented restaurants with her food and developed an appreciation for her music. It never really occurred to us that adoption wasn’t the “easy” or “safe” way to build a family until the news began to swirl with rumors of closing adoptions and I felt like that first time mom all those years ago… foolish for not guarding my heart. And so, nearly twenty years later, I again packed up both the purchases I made for a child that wasn’t meant to be my own (and she truly was not, but that is another story for another day. In so many ways, I celebrate this turn of events… but I had to get my heart there, first) and the pieces of my heart and vowed “if I ever do this again, I will not get ahead of myself.”
But that just not who I am. I set these arbitrary goals of when I would allow myself to purchase soft cotton pajamas and adorable little tees. After court. Then … after the first visit. Then.. after our dossier. I kept moving the goal up, because hope is such magic.
So last week, I hit “purchase” on a few little pieces. I mentally rearranged the furniture and made sure that I knew where the bolts to his crib are. And as his tiny little pieces of clothing began to arrive, I knew that hope is a package with a shirt inside that says “little brother.”
One day, I will tell him about the road that led us to him… and I know with everything in me that the very first step was set out all those years ago. God knew that there would be a little boy who’s momma could not raise him, and He knew that I was a momma that could not raise her little boy, too. And His perfect plan brought us together.