Last weekend we got to meet our one-week-old nephew. He was precious! We enjoyed spending a couple of days snuggling with the little guy. Our oldest loved it as much as we did. He loved how small he was and loved having a chance to hold him. He is the best big brother and oldest cousin. Of course, I’m a little biased!
Saturday afternoon I picked up the little guy and it occurred to me that I would never have that time, or that memory with Emily. She will never know whom she looks like. She will never know what funny faces or sounds she made while she slept. Of course, we knew that when we chose to adopt an older child but it is a loss we will have to face with her one day. When we pull out baby pictures of the boys we won’t be able to pull out hers.
God seemed to know exactly what I needed in that moment because my sister-in-law presented me with a gift for Emily, a gift so full of love and thoughtfulness.
She created a memory box for Emily. But it wasn’t just a box with her initials and the colors of the room we are preparing for her, it included a map of where she’s from. My sister-in-law took the time to include not just a glimpse of China in the box, she took the time to include the exact city where Emily spent the first two and a half years of her life. I was overwhelmed with tears at her thoughtfulness. My sister-in-law recognized that she’s becoming part of our family but she also has a history, a past, in China, and that’s an important part of her story.
It’s so easy to focus on all the opportunities Emily will have with our family and all the memories we will make with her. It’s easy to look forward and forget about the loss – the loss of knowing her birth parents, the loss of a culture, the loss of being surrounded by people that look like her, the loss of nannies that have cared for her for the last two years. These are real losses that we will have to face with Emily.
Later in the week our oldest began to ask more questions about adoption and began to understand the loss involved in adoption. He grieved the fact that Emily will never know her birth parents. I wish my children didn’t have to experience sadness, grief and loss, but as a mom I was so proud of our Little Man. He recognized that there is an important part of Emily’s life she will never know, and we will never fully understand, but he had empathy for her and grieved for her. He has the most caring heart. I am so proud to be his mom. And I believe that one day when Emily is grieving, she will have an older brother at her side grieving with her and offering her a shoulder to cry on. In that, I find joy.
“God sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:6