Meet Ivy. We got this sweet little bear from Cuddle and Kind. She is handknit (of course I love that), soft and squishy, and she's wearing a dress (of course Anna loves that). We got her for Sweet Baby Girl for Christmas with the plan to let the kids love on the bear now, then send it to our daughter with a family photo album when we know who she is. We hope the bear will smell like us and help her to connect with us during those early days when we arrive in China.
It's probably a little early for plans like this, but this whole adoption thing was getting just a little too abstract for me. I needed to buy her a Christmas present, because she is a person, not an idea, even if she is so far away I can't see her clearly.
Andrew, Anna, and Samuel were all born in January, about a week apart. (I know, people asked us if we planned it. Hello! We planned to have three birthdays just three weeks after Christmas?? We must be terrible planners, ha!) This means that three times at Christmas I have been so pregnant I really wished I wasn't any more. Those were precious Christmases for me. I felt close to the Holy Family in those years. And we experienced the thrill of anticipation that you think of with Christmas, waiting for something that is coming soon.
This year, we are experiencing a different Advent. Our daughter is coming, but she is a long way off, and the anticipation is so exhausting we can't sustain it. We have to put it away, to rest from it. This year I identify with the Jews longing for the Messiah: trying to pray faithfully for something when it seems it may never come.
The kids have loved having this sweet bear to snuggle and talk about Baby Sister, but I have loved it so much more. I tuck her under my arm as I pour my heart out to God, begging for blessing to follow my daughter and her first family, whatever they face today. This Advent, Ivy Bear is a physical symbol of what we are waiting for: a daughter that I hold in my heart until she can be in my arms.
Josh and Emily
We hope that by sharing our steps, challenges, and milestones of our adoption, you will see yourself as part of the community we hope to build around our child as she grows up.