We have successfully made it through birthday season at our house! All three kids have birthdays in the same week in January. We have all these traditions that make each kid's day special: crepe paper streamers on their door when they wake up, candles and the Birthday Song at breakfast, a birthday crown to wear, and dinner with the grandparents in the evening.
The kids love to hear the stories of the day they were born. We always tell Andrew how Pagra had a carafe of coffee, a thermos of cream, and a container of sugar to share with everyone in the waiting room. He must have known it was going to take for-ev-er. We tell Anna about how Mom Bartholomew was also in the hospital the day Anna was born and so all nine Bartholomew kids got to meet her that day. We tell Sam about how he was so mad about being born, he frowned the whole day, and how he was the only kid whose name we didn't change after seeing him. Those were wonderful days.
As I retell these beloved family stories over and over this week, I can't help but think about our new daughter, whose birth stories I will likely never know. That gap in her story will represent a loss in her life that will never fully heal: the loss of her first family. Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it requires loss.
The day after Adam's funeral our first adoption fundraiser t-shirts arrived. The slogan on the front sometimes seemed to mock our pain. Sometimes it extended hope. Our faith that God could bring something good out of our pain would really be tested now.
It's been eight terrible months of grief. As I learn for the first time how to live with and carry such deep pain that will never heal, I spot perhaps the first Good, the smallest touch of green coming up from the cold hard ground of loss. Having now lost someone precious that I can never have back, perhaps I will be better prepared to parent a child who comes to me knowing a similar pain.
Yes, God is at work in all things for our good (Rom 8:28). What grace! It does not erase the pain, or make it less terrible. But it brings me hope, and even a little joy. I hope it does for you too.
We are relaunching our t-shirt campaign on Monday, this time with long sleeved t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies! You can click this link to order. We pray that when you wear your shirts, you will be encouraged to expect some Good, even out of the worst that you face, as we are learning to do.
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.