Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In Advent

I have survived Advent this year by telling myself that it is okay to do most of my celebrating at Christmastime. Y'know - those 8, or 12, or however many days after December 25th - when we're supposed to be really celebrating the birth of Christ! I put so many things back there: baking cookies, pulling out aaaall the decorations (not just the few I've been putting out, bit by bit), mailing our Christmas cards, etc.

Picking out our tree on St. Nicholas day

The result is it's December 23rd and I feel a little sad that my house took so long to get Christmas-y. I'm reconditioning myself to put more in at the end, but it's hard - hard to have it feel like Christmas when there's no extended family gathering on Christmas Eve (which is our tradition); hard when Christmas comes in with a quiet hush, not a roar. Christmases in my family always seemed so... LOUD. Tons of people. Food. Drink. Presents! And more and more people - especially kids. I have nine nieces and nephews on my side - plus my three siblings and their spouses and my parents and usually everyone's dogs - so that's a lot of people in our modest homes. I love that squished feeling of Christmas Eve - our house so bursting with love and life.

Some days, my house feels so empty and quiet in contrast.

It's most often just the two of us - and sometimes, she's quite quiet

I love being Zuzu's mother - I love having this time with her as my only child. There is nothing I would trade for those sweet nursing moments that we are still treasuring (especially now that she can sign 'please nurse?'). Yet Christmastide will now always bring to mind the memory of Francis, our first baby, gone home before I could even behold him. And sometimes, my house seems a little empty - I wonder what it would be like right now to be the mom of two instead of one. I wonder if that loss is why I feel like I'm always forgetting someone at the table, why I have a vaguely guilty feeling that Zuzu is an only child.

So I started wondering: what if we invited someone new to the table? We're open - we're always open - to new life. But it seems we're on the slower fertility plan, for now at least. What if we did a bit more than send an open invitation to God to bless us - what if we went out and looked for blessings instead?

What if we adopted? 

My compassionate tendencies lean towards adoption. I took the adoption law class at UA Law and talked about it with Mr. O. It comes up, from time to time, both of us furrowing our brows and thinking, maybe. But our hearts have always seemed unready and thinking is all we did. And then suddenly, just last week, something shifted and we seemed to want to do more than talk. So we did - we sent inquiries and began researching.

In between taking Zuzu to Christmas parties

That's where we are. We're researching, thinking, praying - and trying to talk to those in the adoption community. I'm trying to reach out and ask people, "what's it really like? how do your biological children adjust? are we crazy?" There is so much to take in and while at first I thought - yes come Holy Spirit - this is awesome! Lets do it! Adopt all the kids! - now my naturally cautious nature is saying, not so fast, lets do some research, lets get a realistic picture, lets make sure you aren't commodifying children.

The outside trappings of Christmas are more simple this year, maybe because of all this interior preparation. But mostly I'm grateful that this Advent has been the first one that has really moved me in the direction I think I was supposed to go - to make room for a child in a world where there is no room, even when the end of the story is as yet shrouded in mystery. Even if that room doesn't end up being in my home any time soon, maybe it's in my prayer life - maybe it's in my home in the years to come.

Whatever it is, and whenever, I hope I'm ready to make room when the time comes.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Martha, we will pray for your discernment. I have an adopted sister....she was adopted from Jamaica when she was 6 years old (I was 14). I also have adopted cousins (my aunt uncle had 7 bio children and adopted 2...one girl as a baby and 1 boy from the Phillipenes when he was 12). If you ever want to hear my experience or thoughts, I'd be happy to share them with you Email me. :)


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