This year brings Jaso’s fourth Christmas home with us and Avi’s second. Like birthdays and other family holidays, Christmas tends be one of those times when we share family memories and look back over the years. For our adopted children, this often highlights the much that we don’t know about their past. It sometimes leaves me feeling sad for those “lost” years – and even though I know they don’t fully comprehend it yet, they feel that sense of loss as well.This comes out in many ways – popping up here and there. Our older kids love to hear stories about the night they were born or their first words or the funny phrases that came out as they were learning to talk. We are able to tell some stories for our adopted children as well, but there are big empty gaps. We do what we can to fill them. But they are there.It’s a gift though – for them and for us – when we find ways to bridge those gaps.Last year, as we decorated our Christmas tree, we pulled out ornaments for each child to hang on the tree. Some they’d made, some had been gifts to them, some were family heirlooms that weren’t too fragile for them to handle. As we pulled them out of the Christmas boxes, we came across the silver cradle ornaments that had been given to Mia and Noah – each in the year they were born, engraved with their names and birthdate.“Do I have one too?”“Where’s mine?”It was one of those moments where my mind races, trying to find the most comforting, loving, and child-friendly explanation possible. I found some words, the moment passed, and the kids were distracted by all the other ornaments. But they asked repeatedly over the next several days.“Why don’t I have one?”So I determined that I was going to find them their very own baby ornaments. I knew I wanted something silver and engraved, but it had been years since those cradle ornaments had been given to us. I spent time online, comparing different ornaments, trying to find ones that would be special enough to thrill them both. And then after several websites, I happened across the exact cradles that were hanging on our tree!
It was so fun to be able to type in their names and birthdates into the engraving instructions, to open the package when it arrived in the mail, and to tuck them in at the very top of their stockings for Christmas morning. They were so excited to be able to hang them on the tree that morning alongside the two others already there!
Four matching ornaments, celebrating our four children – each with their own story, all deeply precious.This year, I stood back and watched them decorate the tree – knowing that there was no wondering why their stories are so different, no empty spot on the tree, no empty spot in their hearts. They have one too!
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