There are certain things that really make me reflect on the blessing of Rosemarie. Things that make me stop, think, and remember how much we wished for her and how amazing it was to find her. Christmas is one of those things.
I suppose it’s because the season itself is all about counting your blessings and embracing your family. Maybe it’s the fact that Christmas is so much about children: buying their presents, planning their outfits, watching their eyes light up at the sight of Santa Claus with his snow white beard and shiny, velvet suit. Whatever it is, this Christmas I thought a lot about the Christmases before Rosemarie. Anthony and I were lucky to have found Rosemarie fairly quickly in adoption terms, but regardless of that, it wasn’t easy waiting for her. And Christmas was always particularly difficult.
In 2009, there was a Kay Jewelers Christmas commercial that really got my attention. I know. Kay commercials are the worst. Between the super cheesy lines and the extreme overacting, I usually laugh through them as I’m sure most of you do as well. But this commercial was different.
A young mother sits in what I think is a rocking chair, her newborn baby in her cradle of arms. Her husband soon enters and bends down to light the Christmas tree. When she chuckles at him commenting that it’s only two o’clock in the morning, he smiles and whispers “It’s our first Christmas as a family.”
Okay, so it’s definitely cheesy. I’m sure many people would make fun of it as I do many of the others, but in December of 2009, Anthony and I were still working on starting our family; we were attempting to have a baby via surrogacy. I remember watching the happy family of three and wishing and praying that would be us the following year. Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve we received the negative results of our embryo transfer; our surrogate was not pregnant. Since we had no frozen embryos and my next open heart surgery was looming a few months ahead, the future of our family was unknown.
So the commercial just grabbed me. I would watch it quietly and wish that somehow, some way we would still have our family by Christmas of 2010.
In the spring of 2010, we began our adoption journey. As I’ve discussed in other posts, we had several ups and downs, maybes and almosts, just as any couple hoping to adopt does. By Christmas, my two best friends had welcomed baby girls, my sister was seven months pregnant, and Anthony and I were still waiting. And there was that commercial again. That happy couple with their brand new bundle, their twinkly Christmas lights, and their happy hearts. I cried every time I saw it. We made the best of the holidays, of course, because we were still lucky people; we had each other, wonderful families, and a beautiful home. But secretly my heart sank every time I saw that commercial or a Baby’s First Christmas ornament, or a rocking horse under a tree.
And, of course, there was that song, “All I Want for Christmas.” No, not Mariah Carey’s (although those lyrics fit as well), but the much less popular song by Vince Vance and the Valients released five years before Carey’s:
You are the angel atop my tree
You are my dream come true
Santa can’t bring me what I need
Cause all I want for Christmas is you
That’s the chorus of the song and it became my Christmas anthem. I would find the video on YouTube, press play, and sing it like a prayer, my eyes shut in concentration, envisioning the baby I would finally call my own.
I’m writing this post because I know there are many other couples who spent this Christmas wishing for their families of three (or more) as well. I know there are so many women who struggle with getting pregnant, women who hold their breath while they wait for the positive or negative sign to appear, women whose bellies are bruised from the daily pricks of needles, whose backs ache as they try to lay perfectly still for 36 hours so as not to disrupt the pregnancy they hope is blooming inside them.
There are couples who have spoken to and gotten to know several women, trying to choose the best one to carry all their hopes and dreams in her womb. There are those who have plastered their ads and pictures all over the internet and in newspapers throughout the country waiting for the call that will change their lives. And there are hopeful parents who have sent their dossiers, which took months to complete, to a foreign country, a country in which they know their future child awaits them.
I also know that some of those people will probably not want to read this post. I know while I waited, I didn’t care much for others’ success stories; for me, they were discouraging rather than encouraging. But I also know there are others who are comforted by the happy stories of people like them. So to those readers, I say that your wish will come true. However it will happen, your baby is coming.
Last year, Anthony and I did have our first Christmas as a family. First, we celebrated in Disney with our extended family. On Christmas morning, we sat around our tree opening Rosie’s gifts. In her card, we wrote “You are the angel atop our tree. You are our dream come true. Santa doesn’t need to bring a thing. ‘Cause all we need for Christmas is you.” We have about five First Christmas ornaments hanging on our tree and this year, Rosemarie received a rocking horse as well.
For all those women and men who are still waiting, whose smiles and laughs were just a little bit forced this Christmas, your dream is going to come true as well. I know I sound as cheesy as a Kay commercial right now, but it’s true. Hold on and keep faith, your Christmas angel is on her way.