I had a sudden burst of productivity this afternoon---after my hour and a half long nap---so I decided to clean out our office closet. Actually, I tried to grab something off the top shelf and a box came tumbling down, smacking me in the face and spilling its contents. That's really what made me decide it was time to clean out the closet.
This task has been on my summer to-do list ever since school ended. The closet is in the second bedroom in our house which is currently serving as an office with hopes of someday becoming a bedroom for a baby. When school ended in May, I told myself I'd clean out and organize that room leaving only the bookshelves, love seat, and rocking chair so if our adoption does go through, it will be an easier transition. We've heard so many stories about adoptive couples having only a few hours to prepare to bring a baby home (what typical couples do in nine months). After two years of waiting and 10 months of paperwork, interviews, meetings, and more waiting, I feel like I need to do something to, I guess, get ready.
While cleaning, I ran across the three items in this picture: baby shoes, a baby blanket, and a red journal. They all seem pretty insignificant, but each item had an emotional impact on me today. I'll start with the shoes---I bought these little canvas shoes four years ago at a Target. When Nate and I started dating, we talked about starting a family---how many kids we wanted, ideal time frames...we had it all planned out. Since we married when I was only a junior in college, we decided it would be smartest to wait until after I was finished with school. But during my fourth year of college (our second year of marriage), I started to get that itch---that desire to be a mom. I didn't want to wait any more. I began dreaming about the babies we would have. I'd find myself wandering through the baby section at Target, handling the earth-toned receiving blankets, mentally picking out cribs and baby joggers, imagining the wardrobe my baby would sport. Then one day I ran across these cute shoes. I couldn't pass them up. When I brought them home, I felt so silly but was excited to show Nate. He laughed it off and made fun of me for a few years for it. I stashed them away in storage in anticipation for our first baby that I thought would come soon...the baby we're still waiting for.
The next item in the basket is a white blanket. It has a satin edge and little poofy balls attached to the front. Nate's mom gave it to us before our first meeting back in October with Nebraska Children's Home Society (NCHS). Ever since Nate and I married, I've dreamed about telling our parents they'd be grandparents to our children. Nate's mom has three beautiful, unique grandkids already from two of her three children. These kids bring her so much joy and pride. It kills me to not be a part of this. I often feel like the black-sheep of the family because we haven't been able to contribute to the joy she has in her grandkids. Though it's hard to see the blanket still tucked away with tags attached not knowing if we'll ever be able to use it, the gift still means so much to me. I know it's not just us waiting for our family to grow---the blanket sort of symbolizes the others who are also eagerly waiting for us to have this blessing. And somehow, I take comfort in that.
Finally, the red notebook. In January we attended a two day training in Omaha at the NCHS office that prepared us for all that was to come in the process (I say that with some sarcasm because two days isn't possibly enough time to prepare a couple for a lifetime of parenting an adopted child). That weekend I decided I wanted to chronicle our journey in the form of handwritten letters to our hopeful, future child. So---ever since, I've been filling the notebook with letters, song lyrics, parts of our adoption/infertility story, pieces of wisdom I've learned, bible verses, etc all addressed to our child. If God's plan is for us to be parents, I hope to give this to him/her when he/she is old enough to understand and appreciate the significance behind it.
It seems stupid, but after I found these items I started thinking about all the other items I've painstakingly passed up in the last three years: the tie-dyed onesie and matching hat from the music festival in Colorado, the Worth the Wait onesie, all of the adorable baby furniture at Ikea, the pieces of pottery at Paint Yourself Silly I want to paint for our kid's room, the Ted Kooser picture book, the folk and bluegrass songs beautifully converted into kids' songs on Elizabeth Mitchell's album You Are My Little Bird. Just when I think I have it all together---I seem to have an emotional meltdown. The shoes, the blanket, and the notebook did me in today. I'm so tired of waiting. I'm hopeful that we'll someday be parents. I'm frustrated with the lack of communication we seem to be having with our agency. I'm unsure how much more heartbreak I can handle. I just want to be a mom...I never anticipated it would be this difficult.