.... Is not today.
Or maybe it is....
But maybe it's not, too.
Welcome to adoption, friends!
I've thought so much lately about the differences and similarities between the experience of conceiving and the experience of adopting... there are so so many of both.
This is the difference that has stood out to me.... it's the one i've been painfully aware of.... the one I loathe and at the same time, the one I appreciate most....
We've talked about 'waiting' but we haven't touched on 'timing'.... a different topic, entirely.
Most couples, with the exception of a few, know within a week or two of when their family will grow.... at the very least, they have a due date; something those of us in the adoption world don't know much about.
Those couples can plan and prepare and they can dream.... but their dreams have an end date. They know when their dreams will come true.
Couples who conceive, with the exception of a few, know HOW to prepare for their family to grow... and they know how to prepare those around them.
How do we prepare?
We tell those around us when we're hoping to adopt.... and we are accountable for answering questions and interrogations about our intentions. When everyone understands and chooses to be supportive, we then answer questions like "when is your baby going to be born?" and "when do you get to choose your baby?" and "why is it taking so long?"
We prepare a nursery.... and know every second of it's planning that it may remain empty for a long long time. The process of preparing the nursery is exciting and exhilarating... and when it's done, it represents emptyness, no matter if it's empty for a day or for a year.... you remember it's emptyness.
We prepare our hearts... knowing full well that God's plan is better than our own but nonetheless, fighting His perfect plan every step of the way.
We walked through every one of those things in our wait for Hannah and have walked through many of them a second time in our wait for Baby #2.... but there is one new addition to that list that no one can prepare you for....
Hannah will always be our first born. She will always have that special place in our hearts as the first one we waited for, the first one we prayed for, and the one who gracefully and wonderfully and perfectly introduced us to parenting... she's the one who taught us how to be parents.
She was the first dream we had together ... and it came true.
I wonder every day lately if today will be her last day as my only baby. I wonder if I've shown her enough attention, if the time we've spent alone together will carry her through the next weeks, months, and years as our oldest child. I wonder if we've been able to instill in her, bury in her the depth of our love for her.... our unconditional love for her. I wonder daily if she's ready... if we're ready; if we've had enough time with her.... if she's learned everything she needs to as the oldest and for a short time, only child. I wonder where the rule-book is that teaches us what to do on our child's last day as our only.
I wonder if we've learned enough.
When I find myself lost in these thoughts, I can't help but wonder if my fear and anxiety come from a place in me that truly wonders if...
if WE'RE enough.
For Hannah or for Baby #2 or 3 or.... (I better stop at 3 or I'm gonna really scare my husband ... what he doesn't know can't kill him, right? ;-))
(Ok.... so now you're thinking "you REALLY want to do this again???)
(The answer is yes. No one said it didn't suck... but everyone says it's all worth it in the end ;-))
Hannah will ALWAYS be our oldest and will ALWAYS have that special place in our hearts as our first....
but our second will ALWAYS hold that special place as our second.
And our third will ALWAYS hold...
you get it :-)
Something about waiting for number 2... something about knowing that today could be my last day with an 'only child'....
makes me grieve.
But I guess baby #1 didn't come along until Joey and I were ready....
and baby #2 won't come along until Joey and I and Hannah are ready.
I like that.
I want so badly to make every day count with Hannah... I want to know that she knows how special it is to be 'an only'.
Maybe you're in the wait for number 1..... this applies to you, too.
It's so easy to get caught up in 'the wait'.... but it's also easy to lose sight of your 'first love'...
your husband (or wife :-)).
Spend your last few moments of each day (after time with the Lord and time making babies) to engrave your day in your mind. Write it down, list the day's events, blog it... do something to remember that day as if it was your last day with your First Love.
Because Joey and I know all too well that your last day could be today ;-)