BUT, this weekend I've made a goal to update the ol'blog over 3-4 posts. It will be more organized that way and not ALL THE THINGS in one info-dump. That's writing lingo. Info-dump is never good. I'm only thinking of you. :)
The Sara's Stocking Christmas: An Experiment in Expecting Miracles
Christmas was weird, wonderful and miraculous. Weird, because for the first time ever I wasn't stressing over the present buying. Or the present wrapping. I still wanted to make sure everyone had the same amount of gifts under the tree, but that was only a couple each, so I didn't really stress. I thought I would feel a heavy weight, not being able to get them what they wanted, or not having piles of presents under our pretty tree, but since they hadn't asked for anything, and had put their trust in us that this was a good thing to do, I never felt that weight. And friends and family filled in some of that space under the tree nicely, some completely unexpectedly, some anonymously.
Another weird thing was that I never realized how much I stressed over what I wanted. What I might find under the tree, what I probably wouldn't, whether or not it would be bought last-minute or even wrapped, if my husband got the hint, or if my kids would think of me. I didn't know how much I worried about those things until I didn't have to. I didn't want to. I wanted anything extra to go to the adoption fund. My parents and aunts surprised me (we had asked for no presents, but contributions to the fund) with 2 pretty sets of earrings, a cute knit hat, chocolates and candles, and a puzzle depicting Pike Place Market which, unbeknownst to them, had just become a scene in one of my stories the day before. Having lived in the Seattle area until I was ten, I was touched by the connection to good memories.
An anonymous Christmas elf sent us a box of her handmade slippers, blankets, and jammie pants, chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, and other goodies, including sets of the same for Sara. I was blown away at the time and effort and sheer love expressed by this person. Another family who has been experiencing their own hardships, chose Sara's Stocking as their family service effort. This, I know, was a tremendous sacrifice, and they were excited to be part of our adoption. Maren's favorite author sent her a signed book and something for the stockings, via Santa, of course. Throughout the season we received Christmas cards with checks and cash for Sara's Stocking. People we hadn't received cards from before sent them with notes of love and encouragement. We learned that some of my son-in-law's family gave up their sibling gift exchange and sent what they would have spent--and then some--to us instead. Sara's Stocking began to gain weight and bulk. I got a message from a writer friend who added money to my PayPal account, and mysteriously hinted at more to come. Then I got a phone call from another friend. He had a package for me and he needed to be sure we got it, and told me to call him when it arrived for more instructions. It did come, and I called before I opened it. As I opened the envelope over the phone, emotion overwhelmed me and I could barely get out my thank you and express my love for this friend who had helped organize donations from a bunch of my writer friends. I love them all. I added it to the stocking, and cried tears of gratitude all day. A few days later, a card and donation came that simply took my breath away. Miracles everywhere. Miracles because people wanted something for somebody else. Not for me, not presents under a tree.
They wanted Sara. They wanted her here.
And now they will all be part of her story.
Sara's Stocking total: $12,600, including what we would have spent on each other. This will cover most of the remainder of our adoption expenses.
|We picked our favorite dresses for church.|
|Christmas morning before the kids came down. Notice Santa left a raccoon and a certain set of books.|
|Marching to the tree while I "sang" the Nutcracker Suite. Bum bumpada bum bum, bum bum bah...|
|Adding up Sara's Stocking. The kids were blown away.|
|Thanks, Santa. And Jessica Day George.|
|Purple for Maren, Pink for Sara. Thanks, Christmas Elf!|
|I have never seen a kid more happy to get a big box of popcorn.|
|Chocolates for the big guy.|