The Extra Stocking on Your Mantel: {Longing at Christmas}

December 17, 2015 Andrea Y., Christmas, waiting to travel 0 Comments

We had just begun decorating the tree tonight when he ran in the room saying, “Mama! Mama! Where are my ornaments? Is that one mine momma?” Although his hand-made ornaments are fewer because he’s been with us… home… a shorter time than the rest, my heart couldn’t help but recognize the peace it felt as I handed him one of his hand-made ornaments this Christmas.


I haven’t always felt this peace at Christmas, and some times we can feel guilt in this season of “peace” for feeling deeply that someone is missing as we wait for a child to come home. We are quiet not knowing how to say something just isn’t right, and we struggle how to process those feelings as we walk through the holidays knowing that the Lord has a child waiting for our family across the world.

I want to encourage you. You are not alone.

There is something about Christmas that intensifies our emotions. Where there has been loss, it always feels more evident at Christmas. Where there is brokenness, there is more desire for healing.

So for the heart of an adoptive waiting parent, where there is void — like that extra stocking on your mantel — in only makes sense that there is also more longing for the child the Lord has so tenderly and profoundly placed on your heart to bring into the fold of your growing family.

It’s really hard to explain this longing to others. Give grace. I want to encourage you that it’s okay and normal — and even healthy to experience these feelings. I’d be worried about parents in the adoption/waiting process not longing deeply for their child to come home. But explaining or even verbalizing these feelings can be so hard that we find ourselves shutting down – especially during Christmas – with these intensified emotions, feeling a little isolated, misunderstood or alone.

This Christmas, I truly understand the heart of a the waiting momma and those you may be surrounded with who don’t understand. Again — Grace… grace my dear one. Rest assured as a momma currently expecting a biological child after two adoptions — these feelings of expecting a child are completely different. I know my child in my womb shouldn’t come to us before May — so while I can’t wait for her to join us, I can and want to wait for her to join us because I know it’s best for her and us. I think it’s hard in our hearts to rationalize how a child waiting longer in an orphanage is best for our child or even us — so in our hearts we have feelings we can’t articulate or explain. This longing is normal, even right, as later it will be used to help us connect to our child and even celebrate in a new way this season when they are home.

This Christmas I want to encourage you waiting families to embrace this longing. Don’t ignore it. Don’t hide it. Don’t pretend it’s not there.

This season is about Jesus.

It’s about longing.

It’s about waiting.

John 10:10 says, “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”

LIFE — real living – means embracing each season He brings us… even the season of waiting for your child to come home. This hard season of waiting and seeing the stocking on the mantel that represents the child you so desperately want home are all part of many moments you will not forget later. Because in a blink (although it feels like forever now), this child will be running in the room tugging at your arms shouting, “Mama! Mama! Where are my ornaments?!” and you will remember the longing — and you will bask in those memories and seeing the story He continues to write for your family, scripted so beautifully with His faithfulness.

You will remember your precious aunt saying she couldn’t wait to have that child home next Christmas over the dinner table or even your children giggling dreaming what next year might be like — and you will remember wanting to stomp your feet and say to everyone, “NEXT CHRISTMAS! Bah hum-bug! I wanted my little love home THIS Christmas!” Feel those feelings, but don’t let those feelings steal the life and joy that Jesus came to bring.

Feel those feelings and add truth to them, “I know the Lord called us to bring home this child. Boy do I want him home. Boy is this hard! But oh man — what a day it will be when finally, finally he is with us! And this — this longing — I will remember and it will bring me to worship when that love is home.”

Let the longing you feel remind you of the longing we have to see Jesus face to face. Let the waiting remind you what it must have been like for so many to wait to see Him. Let the struggle and the setbacks remind you of the wise-men who sought him — for much longer than they ever imagined… and the only way to find their way was to keep their eyes up and follow the light not just by day… but most often in the unseen, unexpected, unknown dark.


Let your heart feel deeply all the things a waiting momma and daddy should feel — and allow your heart even in the waiting to sing a new song this Christmas! Invite Him to bring new life into your hearts as you continue to seek the One who came so you might have life and have it more abundantly. And never forget these feelings once your little love is home as you recount and remember His faithfulness – then, now and forevermore for the rest of your story.

Merry Christmas and praying for you and your children across the world,

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