Our church has a lot of young families. That means it also has a lot of new babies.
I love holding new babies. The soft skin, precious smell, and smallness....oh my.
Yesterday one of those new babies sat next to me at the fellowship. He was perfect.
And it started me thinking, what if...
What if I had gotten to hold my girls in their infancy?
What if I had helped them walk or say their first word?
What if I had been the one enduring sleepless nights and potty training?
I wasn't the one. There was someone else.
Maybe that someone else did it differently than I would have. Maybe that someone else didn't do it well. Maybe that someone else was doing the best they could at that time.
I'm one for giving a lot of grace in this area, because I have no idea what that someone else was going through.
Addiction is crippling.
Disease is staggering.
Hopelessness is paralyzing.
I pass no judgement.
But I do sometimes wonder what would be different if I had been able to hold them since birth.
It's easy for me to think their lives would have been easier and their burdens lighter but changing that part of their past would also change them.
Would Hannah be as generous, Ashley as kind or Amy as steadfast?
Would they get along as seamlessly or work as such a great team?
Would they still be who they are now? Would I?
Maybe, but maybe not.
Our adoption road has colored our world. It has opened our eyes and our minds to things we would have never seen or considered if our lives had taken another route.
I'm thankful for who they are now and the young women they are becoming.
I'm thankful for the ways our adoption journey has changed me, too.
I have no baby pictures, no memories before age nine, but that's okay.
Because I have them. Thousands of pictures fill my hard drive. Hundreds of shoes fill my closets.
And three beautiful girls surround me at every meal.
We have not forgotten the someone else in each of their lives, the ones who held them as babies. Our hearts hurt for them. The ones who are missing what I get to experience every day.
That loss is not forgotten. They remember. They reminisce.
But we are also thankful. Thankful for each other. Thankful for this life we share.
Thankful that God works all things together for our good.
Because He does. Even if we don't understand, we trust that He is faithful. Through times of pain and sorrow, times of joy and peace. He is faithful.
And we are thankful.
I didn't get the first nine years, but I get all the rest. I'm choosing not to lament the ones I missed, but rather to be thankful for the ones I'm living.