Friday, January 28, 2011

Fiction Friday

Back and forth. Back and forth.  She gently rocked her new baby in her arms in the warm, dark bedroom.  Gentle baby coos issued from that perfect little mouth as his eyes fluttered up and down, resisting sleep, but smiling at his body's own frustrated effort.

Contentment.  Pure contentedness.  It flowed from the pair of them the way rain flows down a well-paved hill, gushing and spurting over any obstacle and rushing ever onward to its goal.

She looked at the tiny crib tucked right next to her and her husband's bed.  It was all ready and welcome to receive such a warm and cozy little bundle, ready to keep him safe and quiet and sleepy until she finished the dishes.  She took a step toward it but he cooed again.

She looked at him.  At his dark hair, his tiny fingers.  She watched him smile in his sleep..

Cribs can wait, she thought.  There will be time to lay him down later.  Dishes can wait.  He's all mine, right now.    I'm all his.

She sat down in the rocking chair, covered them both with a blanket and leaned her head back, listening to him breathe, close to her neck.  She could feel his heart beat.  She could feel his warm, soft cheek on her chest, his tiny hand wrapped around her finger.

Yes, dishes can wait..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Ready

My mother-in-law, bless her heart :) has been good enough to order Taylor and me the "baby essentials" so that we're ready--whenever it happens--to take a baby, maybe a certain baby, home with us.  We have received a changing pad and cover, the crib we picked out, and the ever-essential car seat.

When the UPS guy buzzed our apartment and I came downstairs to sign for the package, he offered to carry the large car seat box up the stairs for me.  I thought a brief moment why--when they usually don't--they would offer this time.  Then it occurred to me.

"Oh! We're adopting." I said.  "So I'm not in any "fragile condition" or anything." I smiled and said I'd be fine carrying it up--"but thank you for offering. I appreciate it."

When I got the box upstairs and set it down in our apartment it hit me.  I'm in a very fragile condition right now.  We've already determined I have pregnancy brain, even though I'm not pregnant.  But emotionally, I'm all frazzled.  The uncertainty of the entire situation is certainly wearing on the nerves--not only  not knowing when, but even if this baby will be ours.  If she will ever sit in that car seat, or sleep in that crib, or look around at the pictures I have on my wall.

I sat there on the floor, in front of The Car Seat box and cried.  Just a little bit.  And not a despairing cry, or an anxious cry.  Perhaps I was just coming to terms with having to be prepared and accepting that we may never need the car seat.

I just don't feel ready.  Not that I'm not ready to be a mother--I've been "ready" [are you ever really "ready" to be a mother? it's always learn-as-you-go to some degree] for motherhood since the day I got married.  And it's not that I'm not ready for a baby tomorrow.  I guess I just don't feel ready to start receiving baby gifts like there's a due date a few months down the road where we'll pack up and go to the hospital to await the arrival of the baby we've known for nine months already.  It's different with adoption.  I've never been pregnant, but I know this much:  it's just different to be expecting to adopt.

Now don't get me wrong--I am truly thankful for the baby things we've received and my  mother-in-law is 100% right that we need to be prepared, and the sooner the better!  But it's difficult, still.

My sister graciously agreed to let us keep the baby things in an extra closet in her house.  She's got the space, and they're not far away, should we need them at a moment's notice.  But at least for now, they're out of sight.. not out of mind.  That Little Girl we met is never far from my thoughts, never far from my hopes to hold her and buckle her into that seat.

But out of sight helps a little, in the meantime.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


You know Taylor and I very much want children in our lives, and that we have started the adoption process.  We are nearly done with our home study and hope for a placement in the next few months.  It is an exciting and unusual time--expecting a child with no known due date...

But today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I need to say something.  I'd like to put this case in a slightly different light.  In 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta sent this message to the United States:

Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.

Her words mean so much to me.  About a year and a half ago, a woman I knew of through a dear friend was pregnant and briefly considered placing her baby for adoption.  My friend asked Taylor and me if we had thought about adoption--which was interesting, since we were, but hadn't "announced" it yet.  We prayed about it and we both came to the conclusion that we did, indeed, want to start the adoption process.  We told her that if this woman was thinking about abortion, we would--unconditionally and no-questions-asked--accept her child, if only she would maintain the pregnancy.

The day I called my friend to tell her our decision, she told me the woman was on her way down to the abortion clinic.  I was crushed.  It was a blow I wasn't expecting--to feel so acutely that I had lost a child whom I had never seen and only known about for a week.

I think the baby was a girl.  I have named her. Our first Little Saint.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fiction Friday (continued...)


Once a month, Sophie's mother organized a community recital at the Home for the Elderly, and anyone could perform who wanted to.  Sophie's mother always signed her up to play the piano.  First she'd play, and then she'd recite the poem she memorized that month.  The applause were never very loud, and there were never enough cookies and punch afterwards and it was so long before everyone had finished their recitals.  Sophie's mother would sit and visit with the old men and women for what seemed like hours, and smile and laugh with them and hold their hand--listening to their stories and their jokes until they got tired and needed to take a rest.

When it was time to go, Sophie took her mother's hand and they walked down the street together.  Father was at work and her other brothers were in school, so it was just the two of them, the ladies of the house.  Down the street, two blocks right, and one to the left, past the big yellow house, through the park (and all those lovely trees), and up the steps of the large building.

Today, instead of letting her play in the courtyard after the recital, Sophie's mother brought her into the hall and introduced her to one of the old ladies.  

"Sophie, this is Meema.  She just moved in here." she said.  Meema had white hair and her face was pale, like the parchment pictures in Mother's bedroom.  She had thin lips and watery blue eyes, but she was smiling.  Sophie liked her smile--it reminded her of Jake.  

"Pleased to meet you, ma'am," Sophie replied with a little curtsy, but she hung back a little behind her mother. 

"Meema is Jake's grandmother." Sophie's mother told her.  "After his parents died, Jake lived with Meema and she took care of him."  

Sophie stared with wide eyes.  The more she looked, the more she saw Jake's face in the old woman.  Meema smile even wider.  "What a lovely little girl you are, Sophie!  I loved the poem you recited today.  Where did you learn it?"  

"Well, Jake wrote it down for me before he left, ma'am, and I've been memorizing it for the past few months.  He used to tell me all sorts of stories and poems and songs... b-before."  

"Ah, it sounded like something Jake would like.  Will you tell me again, dear, slowly.  I'm going to close my eyes, but I'll be listening.  Can I hold your hand while you say it?  You have such lovely little hands."  

Sophie put her hand in the old lady's.  It was warm and soft and dry--like old paper, like the old face, but it was strong.  Meema squeezed Sophie's hand, and Sophie began:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


[there's more snow on the way this weekend!]


that is to say, CUH-hold! I'm staying inside on Saturday. What are you doing?
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Fiction Friday

"I don't want to GO!" She stomped her foot emphatically.  "I don't like it there."  The brown curls on her head shook emphatically with the motion.  She didn't like dressing up, and she certainly didn't like wearing shoes.  Especially her dress shoes--they were tight and stiff and she had to keep them extra clean, which meant no running and no climbing.

"I know, Sophie," her mother said.  "But it's important for us to go."  She took a clean handkerchief out of her dresser drawer and tucked it into the pocket of her sweater.  She looked down at her daughter.  "Jake would have wanted us to, you know."

Sophie sat down in a huff on the settee by the front door.  She felt squished in her shoes and she curled and released her toes, thinking about Jake.  She had liked him, when he still lived nearby.  He was strong and big and funny and he loved to play with her and sing songs with her and tell her stories.

Then Jake had had to leave so suddenly one day, she barely remembered him saying good bye.  It was early in the morning and he and Mother were standing in the kitchen.  Mother was in her bathrobe.  Jake was dressed strangely--all in the same color with a big heavy sack on his shoulder.  They were talking in soft voices so they wouldn't wake anyone.

"Be safe, Jake," mother said.  Her voice sounded scratchy, like it did at church when "How Great Thou Art" was sung.

"I will, ma'am." Jake said.  "I don't exactly know why it's me, why it's now, but it's come down to it and I know there's something important for me to do.  Just like you always said, 'You're put here to do something no one else can do.'  Now I know what that is.  I hope I can do it."

Mother had always said that Jake was a good friend of Sophie's oldest brother, who had died when Sophie was just a baby.  She didn't really remember her brother, but she thought he would have been just like Jake.  Everyone liked Jake.  He had a way with people--helped them calm down, feel better, smile more.  There was never a fight he didn't help solve, never a mopey little Sophie he couldn't cheer up.

She never did understand why he left.  That early morning, so early it was still dark, he had told her he needed to help other people far away.  She thought those other people would like him, too.  She hoped they did.

[ be continued]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I've heard of "pregnancy brain."  If 95.8% of your friends were pregnant, you'd have heard of it, too.  And while I'm not pregnant, I've been totally distracted lately.  By lately, of course, I mean the past 6 weeks.  I can't get anything done in a reasonable amount of time.  Thank goodness for deadlines (like Christmas and airline schedules) or much would not have been accomplished at all.

Patrick McManus says that humans have a "worry box" in their brain and they can only hold so many items to worry or think about.  If one thing too many is added to the box, something else slips out.  My worry box is all full up.  Other Things don't even have a chance.

At least, my subconscious worry box is full up--I'm still able to think about Things like "when should I start dinner?" or "gosh, I really should empty the trash." or even "hm, maybe I should wake up so I can get to work on time."  But I have little space to worry about Christmas thank you cards (sorry folks, nothing personal!), sewing projects, or keeping the house tidy.

All I really want to do is putter around online (not unlike an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP) and ignore most of the things I have to do.

See, I can't stop thinking about her.  Her face.  Her hands.  Her birth parents.  The whole situation.

What's going to happen?  When will we know anything?  Why the delay?  Why now?  What do You want of us, Lord?  What should we do?

I know that my questions will be answered in time--in God's time, but my subconscious is overloaded in the meantime.  I walk into a room to get something or do something and the moment I get there, I forget what I needed.  I go to the computer to look something up.  I manage to check my email (no new messages in the last 10 minutes--why am I checking again?), catch up on twitter, comment a bit on facebook, and browse around Amazon.  But I don't look up what I needed.

Then, listlessly, I go sit on the couch, trying to remember what I was going to do when I hear the lid on the pot of water I was heating begin to spurt and bubble and I remember--I wanted to look up some baking ratio.  But now the water's too hot and I have to cool it down again.

Is this what it's like to be expecting?  I suppose at least, with pregnancy brain, the eventual holding-of-the-baby is a pretty for-sure thing.  Maybe that's what's driving me nuts.  I can't plan maternity leave; I can't set up the crib; I can't put the carseat in the car.  Why bother right now if we'll be waiting another 4 months?  What if this child never becomes available for adoption and we're back on the "waiting list" for however-long?  I work well with deadlines.  I rely on them.  But there's no deadline with adoption.  No date past which we induce.

There's only the waiting.

Don't misunderstand--I'm not feeling cynical and I'm not despairing.  These are just real concerns in adoption.  Real unknowns that I'm struggling with and learning about.  I can only hope that the expectancy of my subconscious translates, somehow, into prayer for this little girl and her families.  Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit hears the groaning of our hearts and knows our need more than we do.  My heart aches for This Little Girl.

She has so many people who love her already.  I hope she can come home, where ever her home will be, soon.

And forever.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fiction Friday

The door closed and he stuffed his hands in his pockets.  He often had his hands in his pockets, especially on nights like this.

It wasn't that his hands were cold, of course.  They always found his pockets after he saw her.  He'd never really thought about it, but it was his own small defense mechanism--hands in the pockets was a sign for anyone to read:  "Leave me alone.  I don't want to talk to you."  So he walked down the steps and around the corner, picking his slow way home through the chilly evening, musing on their conversation, kicking pebbles with his toe.

"Are you happy?" he had asked her.  He always asked that question, even though he knew her answer.

"Oh yes, very much!" she said, eyes shining.  She always said that.

It all seemed a bit idyllic to him, no matter how many times she said it, no matter how often she explained it.  He had heard that people could be happy like that.  That it suited some people to live the life she did.  But he never saw it for her.

Hadn't he known her since she was young?  Hadn't they had grown up together, played together, gone to school together?  They had the same classes and knew the same people and liked the same things.  She had so much potential, so much energy, and so much promise!  He had seen great things in her future, wonderful things.  And yet he couldn't wrap his own conception of her around the fierce reality of her happiness as he sat there, face to face with her smile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011