There’s an old saying that “timing is everything.” And it’s true. The moment at which something enters our lives does make a difference in how it is received. For better or for worse.
My “baby” just celebrated his fifth birthday, which is his fourth birthday with us. This one was bittersweet to me. After nearly 11 years of having a child home with me, my youngest reached the age that he will begin school…in what seems like only a few short months. But he was oh so excited about his special day and that brought a big smile to this mama’s heart.
I was up to my eyeballs in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles party planning when a seemingly harmless scroll through my Facebook newsfeed left me broken. Only a few short days before my baby celebrated his birthday, a baby boy in the care of an organization in China died due to complications from exposure after being abandoned on a cold February night. It suddenly hit me what a milestone the party I was prepping for was. Because five years and a few days earlier another baby boy was left outside on a cold February night in China. And by some great miracle he became my son. As I looked at the picture of the sweet infant in my newsfeed, I saw a strong resemblance to the boy playing upstairs. In another time, it could have been him that didn’t make it. I’ve always viewed my kids as miracles, and that feeling has intensified with adoption. That out of all the people on every waiting list my “babies” ended up with me is a phenomenon that leaves me speechless. But as I looked at the sweet face of this baby boy, I realized what a gift it was that my birthday boy was even alive to celebrate his special day.
I wish we didn’t live in a world where babies were left on cold nights. I wish we didn’t live in a world where families are unable to keep their children due to medical needs. But since we do live in this world, I’m thankful beyond words that on a February night five years ago my baby boy stayed warm enough to make it home to me.
Had I seen the picture of this precious baby at any other time, it would have broken my heart. But the close proximity to the anniversary of my son’s “finding day” definitely made the impact stronger. As they say, timing is everything. And in this instance the timing made me fall to my knees in gratitude for the little boy that’s not so little anymore. For his life. For the chance to be his forever mama. And even for the green icing on that cake he just had to have on the day we celebrated his birth. Yet, at the same time, I hurt a whole lot more for the one that was lost. Because in the face and story of that sweet orphan baby, I saw a piece of my own heart.