There is this rhetoric out there that it is best for couples like us to hold off on building the nursery, to hold off on buying onesies, diapers, bottles, the gamut. The sentiment, of course, follows the notion that birthmom might change her mind. “You don’t want to look at an empty nursery now, do you?”
The truth is, it’s already happened. Sort-of. We’ve gotten two calls now, twice thinking that – gasp! – this might actually be it! We knew only in those circumstances that our profile would be shown. But let me tell you, that was enough to spark a little wildfire in our hearts.
One feels robbed when told not to get “baby ready.” I resented the tip, cast thoughtlessly from the books, blogs and adoption counselors. Imagine not being able to celebrate in those moments, not being able to plan and prepare.
Would I want to spend my child’s first month shopping? Absolutely not. So with that notion, I set about collecting a few items on sale: cloth diapers, disposable diapers, wipes. A pack of bottles, some organic formula (ack, the price!!?), even a couple of pacifiers. Right about that time, people just started showing up, dropping off donations. Cradle, crib, diaper changing table. Car seats, strollers, high chairs. Swings, bouncy seats. You name it, we got it.
When the sad news came, it was wearisome, heart-wrenching, wicked. And after the second one (when we waited three full weeks to receive the news), I somberly put everything away. I disassembled the cradle, hid the books, and stashed all of the inherited baby gear in a back closet until all that was left in the room was a rug and a desk. No, scratch that, I even rolled up the rug and shoved that in the closet, too.
The rhetoric read true. I could not, in fact, look at an empty nursery. So instead, I looked at an empty room.
It took a bit of time for my heart to heal. But slowly, peace returned. I understood then that the children who were placed with different families were placed with the right families. Who was I to question God’s plan?
Don’t get me wrong, I still do. And then I fall on my face and ask God to forgive me for my attitude, hopelessly confessing that I am far from perfect (a difficult task for a recovering perfectionist).
As I write this, I recall a verse that references God as the author and perfecter of our faith. We need God, and that was His plan all along. He didn’t create us to be self-sufficient creatures; He created us to need him – even in the development of our faith.
Just the other day, I realized the room was full again. Of hope and healing, of all of the little treasures we’d collected and all the little hand-me-downs given in love. The linens were washed and ready, the pictures hung.
We know there could be another “false alarm,” another dream shattered. But this time, the nursery is staying. Now when I walk by, it reminds me to step inside, kneel on that rug, and pray some fierce prayers. Fill this room, Lord, that we might know you more through parenthood, and that our children would walk in Your ways all the days of their life.