I still smile every time I see them. Of all the things my daughter owns, I can’t get enough of those peach knit mittens.
The year before she came we traveled to Kodiak, Alaska to visit a friend. It was the year of the lost-daughter and I was still struggling to relearn how to breath after motherhood had been so close and then snatched away… again.
God met me in the moss-covered forests, breathing peace into my questioning heart and worn-out emotions. And we met new friends. Fellow believers whose lives had been vastly different, but whose hearts beat with the same dream to see God glorified in all the nations.
We whispered some of the heartache we were wading through to these new friends and they wrapped us up tight with compassion and love and sweet comfort.
Somehow during those weeks on that rainy island, I began to taste joy again. We drank coffee, laughed, and spent hours talking about God and life and truth. The Father was present and we felt Him and we grew a little more, our roots settling down deeper in His grace and the outpouring of love.
It was crazy, how we ended up back there the next year. When friends announced their Alaskan wedding, and asked if I would be willing to do their wedding pictures, everything fell into place. Only this time we were bringing along this sparkly little eight-year-old girl who called us Mommy and Daddy.
Still, the wedding was 600 miles from the island where our friends were. But God worked things out and we traveled in cars and boats and planes, and spent a few happy days on the island that somehow felt like home, even though we’d only been there once.
We got to introduce her, our beautiful miracle-daughter, to all those people who had loved us through the journey of the lost-daughter. It was truly beautiful. A precious gift.
And then, as we were getting ready to leave, he ran out to say goodbye. And he brought a gift.
“Where I’m from, it’s tradition to give new parents a handmade gift,” he said. “Usually something for the baby. I know she’s not a baby but… well, here.” He held the package out toward me. I handed it over to my girl.
“It’s for me?” she asked him, brown eyes all wide and excited.
He smiled. “It’s not much,” he said.
She giggled in glee when she grabbed hold of those mittens. “They’re mine, Mommy. Just for me!”
She wore them all the way home. On the ferry ride, in the truck, onto the airplane and all the way across the United States. And she still wears them. Just tonight she had them on her hands as she pranced around the house. “I love these mittens,” she sighed. “I got them because we’re family.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “It’s not much,” he had said. But he had no idea what a blessing he gave our family.
In older child adoption, there are many things you miss. Baby showers, months of anticipation, the chance to share the news through social media…
But there are still so many ways that people have celebrated our daughter’s arrival with us. And one of the most precious was a simple pair of peach mittens.