This morning while blog reading I was unexpectedly thrown off on a rant. I’ve been in an amazing mood, so the rant took even me by surprise. And yet…
I am tired of parents in the midst of the international adoption process bemoaning that their family isn’t together for Christmas. I could rant about how many other families aren’t together at Christmas, including the child’s birth family. I could rant that the inter-country* adoption process (if done correctly by competent professionals) is fairly predictable, thus nearly all of these families knew it was not going to be complete by Christmas. I could rant that no matter what you think about the international adoption process, a process is needed. (If you question that, Claudia’s series may help you understand). I could rant that when you choose to focus on the bad rather the good, you are bringing yourself down, but mostly I’m going to rant about the reason for the season.
Disclaimer: I don’t often discuss religion for many reasons. Mostly I find it to be exclusionary most of the time. The Beyond Normal Limits household is non-denominational Christian, but we learn about and discuss other belief systems and celebrate other holidays as well. Our friends talk about Jehovah and Allah and Jah and Buda, to name a few. I believe we are religiously literate, even fluent (a couple of us have taken seminary courses and had inter-faith relationships) family, but I’m also not sure I’m comfortable with the term religious as an adjective to describe me. God and I are cool, but Gods people are not always cool to others.**
Isn’t advent about building anticipation and hope as the world waits for a child, a tiny baby to fulfill the promise of God? I don’t think there can be a better example or life lesson to truly experience advent than if you are waiting for a child, whether by adoption or more traditional means. Advent is also about preparation in your heart and life for this child on which you wait. Advent reminds us that priorities, appointments, budgets, and more must be shifted to make, not just room, but the proper place for a child. The Christmas before my son came home, I made sure we had enough stockings and matching stocking hooks. We thought about what traditions to introduce or change. I scoured the internet for fun crafts and ideas. He was not here, but I had fun preparing to make his first Christmas with us very special.
Anticipation is waiting with joy. Disgruntled waiting or anxious waiting is not what advent is about. If you focus on ‘This isn’t how I want it’ rather than ‘This is going to be great’ , you cannot experience the full love and joy of the season. Adoption requires faith if you are going to survive the process without feeling traumatized by it. The adoption process is not about you. Parenting cannot be about you. Advent is not about you. It may not be as you’d prefer, but how helpful is it to you or anyone else to refuse to experience the joy of Christmas?
*Domestic adoption is another matter about which I’m not prepared to discuss in much depth. The time period for a domestic infant adoption is much more unpredictable. Personally, I couldn’t imagine waiting (and waiting for many) for someone to choose me. The openness of domestic adoption actually appeals to me, but not the emotional roller coaster of hoping without knowing if or when.
**I am fully expecting some ‘hate’ from that disclaimer. It will be sad to lose any of the few readers that I have. And yet, I still want to challenge you to consider how you use certain terms and make judgements about the worth of a person’s opinions based solely on church attendance or use of certain terminology…because I can speak church-language with the best of them!
I feel the hibernation setting in, and this year – I welcome it. Domestication may be at an all time high. Introversion may be as well. But so is joy, contentment, peace… Mornings here are quiet. I am working from home more. I guilt myself less. I cook more. I’m spending more (that is ironic). But, Life is Good.
Winter in the Midwest means cold and gray and precipitation. It means dark mornings and darker evenings. It means drafty windows in a historical home, chanclas, and blankets piled everywhere. It means scarves and hats and mittens and coats and clothing claustrophobia. It means staticy hair, dry skin, and nose bleeds. It means shoveling and spinning tires and icy roads. But it means candles and covers and snuggles. It means reading and chatting and sipping from warm mugs. It means that if I leave the house you really matter to me.
This year I have a friend who is about to deliver, a friend that is half way there, and two friends that just found out they are expecting. My heart celebrates for them more than they know. I really am bad about telling people just how melty my heart gets. This year, while we may have many miles to go, we have much to celebrate. As we say goodbye to Thanksgiving, I am oh so very thankful for of so many blessings.
This contentment makes me want to hibernate to settle it and to just abide with in our joy. Some winters hibernation is about hiding or waiting it out, surviving only. Some winters hibernation can feel like claustraphobia. But this winter, I am snuggling into contentment and wondering at the lovely little world that surrounds me.
So let it snow if it will. I will turn on the Christmas lights in the morning and enjoy the sparkling beauty of the lights on the tree. I have plenty of coffee. I am comfy working in my quiet home. I look forward to spending time with just my family each evening.