Showering a growing family with love

This weekend I was invited to a baby shower for friends of ours who are adopting a little boy from China. They’ll travel next month to bring him home, and I am beyond excited for them.

The morning of the shower, as I filled gift bags with items the new mom and dad might be able to use for the flight home, it occurred to me that I have never been to another baby shower for a family growing through adoption—except my own.

I sat at the shower and watched my friend and her husband open gift after gift for their little boy. They unwrapped toys and clothes and stuffed animals. I was struck by how loved this child is already.

I found myself remembering how just 10 years ago I was sitting at my own shower, opening gifts for our son who was waiting for us in China.

At the time, John and I didn’t know all that lay ahead for us. We had a thousand questions about the journey ahead of us—to China and to parenthood and to this little boy we had never met. We were giddy and nervous and impatient and excited.

We knew our lives were about to change. It felt wonderful and daunting. But we knew we were on the right path. And we felt surrounded and supported by people who loved us and loved this child we were waiting to meet.

At the shower this weekend, I found myself remembering the moment I first took our son in my arms. In that instant, all my husband and I had to offer were a little toy airplane and lots and lots of love. It wasn’t enough, and yet it was everything.

Standing in a stark government office in Changsha, China, with my husband by my side and my son in my arms, I had never felt more certain that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

All the questions I had had before seemed irrelevant, and new ones were springing to mind. But we had years ahead of us to figure out the answers together. And what a magnificent journey it has been so far.

As I celebrated with my friends this weekend, I thought about how you work so hard to be ready to become a parent. You set up the crib, wash the clothes, decorate the room, and pack your suitcases with everything you think you might need. Maybe you even ask your friend who has two sons from China a bunch of questions and wonder whether the answers will apply to you. Some may and some may not at all.

Is anyone ever really ready to become a parent? You can’t possibly prepare. And yet, you’re as ready as you need to be.

I can’t wait for our friends to bring their baby boy home.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.