1. We spent our weekend leading one of these. While we enjoy the time away together, we always miss Olivia, and she misses us. She's one of those kids who absolutely thrives on predictability and the stability of being at home. Though her weekend caregivers were familiar to her and she loves spending time with them, there's always an element of discomfort when it comes to being away from Mommy and Daddy. So on Sunday, when Grandpa brought her to the retreat house to join us for the closing Mass, we were greeted with the unmistakable smile of pure joy. The moment she saw each of us, her face just lit up like a Christmas tree and she wriggled with all of her might to break free from Grandpa to get to us. (Grandpa didn't take offense.) There is no way to describe the feeling of being so adored...so singularly important in the mind of a child. We were feeling the love.
2. Every single time I experience Olivia's need for stability (of caregivers, of location, of schedule), I think of her birth siblings. Every. Single. Time. I say a prayer that they might someday experience the safety and security that comes with a stable home life. And I pray for all the other little kids out there who aren't blessed with a consistent home or caregiver. I can't imagine what kind of damage is done to their developing little psyches...to be so transient and never experience stability and peace. Parents and home...these are supposed to be a child's sanctuary...a place to feel safe when the world gets confusing. God bless all those children who are deprived of these things.
3. I buy cold medicine in the value size now. I used to throw away unused cold medicine once the expiration date has passed. I don't see that happening again for a long, long time.
4. Although I have no control over this, I've been thinking that it would be really nice if our next child comes to us in the Spring or Summer. It always seems easier to avoid colds and illness when we are not cooped up inside with all the germs recirculating around. Colds and newborns do not mix well. I'm also hoping to avoid the overstimulation that comes with the pre-holidays-infant. We didn't sleep much over Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2007 when Olivia was mere weeks old. She would use sleep as an escape mechanism during the holiday gatherings and then would scream for hours on end when we got home to our peaceful, quiet house. Not a fun time for any of us.
5. I've been thinking about openness to life and how it applies to adoption. In short, to be open to life is to be open to God's creative power within the marital embrace. There is, of course, a place for family planning that respects the natural order, but ultimately the couple is in cooperation with God through prayer and careful planning about when to add to their family.
There is little to be found, though, for those in our shoes...couples who are open to children but do not apparently have the ability to conceive. We believe our infertility was and is a part of our call to adoption, and I think there is something to explore there. Openness to life as it applies to adoption...an interesting topic. I'm saving this for a day when I have lots of time and brain power to devote, but it is on my mind.