Saturday, December 26, 2015

Things can be both big and small.

I'm not concise with words, so if you don't want to read everything (this is my journal, you it's therapeutic for me to get it all out) then at least scroll to the bottom at look at the photos!!

So! Two weeks ago we passed our one year mark since changing from adopting from Ethiopia to applying to adopt from Haiti. There is nothing important or ceremonious about this, but documenting time seems to be something we as humans like to do. When recognizing anniversaries of any kind I think people find an increased element of sentiment...around the anniversary of marriage, death, birth, or other big life event. We look back and reminisce, we look forward and imagine what we hope will be or perhaps think of what could have been.

While turning in adoption papers (again) may not be as life changing as a birth or death, it certainly marks the beginning of something that eventually will be that big. It's easy to think forward to what that date next year will hold.  Will we have seen her face and know a bit of her story? Will we have met and held her? Will we be nearing a time that we could be bringing her home? Then there is the sentiment of the holidays, which is clearly a factor to how I've felt lately. I'm wondering how much these things (anniversary of turning in adoption application and the holidays) has played into this feeling that I've had lately...a profound feeling that someone is missing. It's not like I don't already know that, but I have been feeling it lately.

I've heard other people talk about this feeling. I've experience it multiple times lately, but I can pin-point where I was twice when it happened: Once was when our family was at Christmas Village together. We were having a really nice time enjoying hot cocoa and looking at Christmas lights and displays together. It wasn't particularly busy, but I kept counting and re-counting the boys and kept wanting to look for a fourth child and had to keep reminding myself that we don't have a fourth child yet. It sounds like a simple mistake, but it felt more profound and urgent that that. The other time was when we were pulling out of our driveway and I checked to make sure we had everyone and stopped the car because I thought we left someone. I had to check a couple times and remind myself that there wasn't another head to count! So, it was more the feeling than anything else...but if you've experienced this you know how strange it feels.

So! With the context of added sentiment and this strange occurrence happening, perhaps it shouldn't have caught me off guard when opening a certain birthday gift this month sent me into another room in tears. Let me tell you about it. One week ago and we were enjoying a nice combined birthday celebration for myself and my sister-in-law (Katie) at my parents house. We were having a nice time and each opening nice gifts from our siblings and parents. Katie handed me a birthday gift from her and Matt and I opened it. 

I saw a stack of beautiful cards and immediately knew they were from Haiti. I continued to look and saw two photos of beautiful children. Katie began to explain that she had seen me posting about sponsoring education for a child through Haitian Roots. (She obviously also knows that we are waiting to adopt from Haiti) She wanted to buy me a gift that would help support the cause of educating children in Haiti and found a place that sold art work from children in Haiti. These children produce this art through a fantastic nonprofit organization called ACFFC that helps provide empowerment and education for children in Jacmel, Haiti! How fantastic is that?! I continued opening the gift and found the most LOVELY painted bowl (made perhaps from paper mache?) looked like something that would stop me in a store window anyway, but knowing that these children made it in Haiti made it even more precious.  There was also a beautiful yellow bird ornament. THEN, to really ramp up the sentiment, Katie asked the organization to send her a couple images of the children who make the art-work (she knew I'd love that) and she printed them to include with the gift. I seriously could not handle it. These beautiful children. The thoughtfulness Katie put into this gift. Haiti. This beautiful gift. I couldn't hold in the tears. It was just too much, but in a good way. Eventually I had to leave the room and pull myself together. 

Here are the beautiful hand painted cards - the young man who makes these is deaf and these provide him income to support himself in rural northern Haiti. The photos are of the children who made the bowl (you can see some they are working on in one of the photos) and the ornament...

Such a thoughtful birthday gift. It is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Thank you putting the effort into something like this, Katie & Matt. I love it. And I love that you knew I would.

I titled this post "things can be both big and small" because, an anniversary date is just a date...but it can also feel like something big. A little gift can be just a bowl, card and ornament...but it can also be something big - providing an income and education for someone and also filling my heart to overflowing. So yes, something can be both big and small. If in this post I had just written that it's been a year since we turned in our first adoption application for Haiti (with no other context) and that my brother and sister-in-law gave me this gift (insert photo) wouldn't have seemed like anything very big. But those have been huge to me this month. I suppose perspective really can determine size.