Her first shirt from Target.
We will have a lot of trips to Target.
But this was her first (sort of). July 13, 2016.
It was about a month after we heard the news about Nicaragua no longer being an option for our adoption (9 months in to paperwork and appointments) and just a few days after Jesse and I had decided on China. It was also the day before my birthday. And the last couple of years, God’s been doing big things around my birthday. Which, I’m totally on board with because I’m one of those really, super dedicated (borderline annoying) birthday celebrators. The year before, on the same day, the day before my birthday, I was hanging out with two of my girlfriends. We went to a yoga class and then ate dessert. Again…
At the end of the yoga class, as everyone laid on their backs in what has to be the most popular pose – shavasana – soaking up the benefits of the work they just put in, I laid there, with warm tears streaming down my sweaty face, soaking up the benefits of (mustering up the courage to acknowledge) the work Jesus had been doing on my heart.
His words were clear as day. Jesus had buckled my desires into a rickety old rollercoaster and taken me for a spin. Happy birthday to me; Jesus had flipped my heart upside down.
I stayed as still as I could, but as the pounding in my chest increased, I smiled and cried. I knew that once I stood up from that mat and told my friends what they probably already knew to be true, that life would be different from here on out.
At the dessert place, I ate something chocolatey (duh) and said what I had to say. I wouldn’t be quite ready yet to DO, but I almost couldn’t help the words from coming out, “I think we’re supposed to adopt a baby.”
Anyway, that was exactly one year before I bought her first shirt from Target.
Up until this point, even though we had been in the adoption game for a good 9 months and I had been hoarding (and silently calling dibs on) baby names for a good 20 years, I hadn’t felt the urge to buy anything for our future child. (This in itself is a surprise to me, because I pretty much always have the urge to buy something.) It was too far off. Too uncertain. Not real enough. I had probably been to Target a good 15 times since starting the adoption process, but never EVER did I go wandering the baby-anything aisles.
And I didn’t do it that day either, when I bought her first shirt from Target.
I walked in the (too) familiar glass doors; I was there for shampoo, or something like that. No cart needed. I strutted those slippery white floors with confidence, having a new wave of peace about our recent decision to move forward with China. I remember feeling calm and light. The previous month was a doozy, reworking, rehashing options and decisions. Seeking God’s will for our life. Aligning our desires with His. (This in itself deserves a victory trip to Target.) I felt resurrected. Carefree. Floaty, even.
With a smile on my face and my Rainbows on my feet, I glided by the dollar bin and the liters of Coke stacked neatly at the entrance. Literally, nothing was on my mind. Bliss.
The hair stuff was straight ahead, I just had to hang a slight left and the L’oreal Smoothing Shampoo for Damaged Hair would be in my hands. But there, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sweet little sunbeam. A golden ray of happy. There she was. Instead of hanging a left, I darted right, toward an itty bitty mustard yellow shirt. I picked it up, held it up even higher. Like Simba, a sunshine-y cutie of hope, not even knowing his meaning, but the world around him rejoicing. That shirt was my Simba.
It might be too small. We don’t know how old she’ll be when she comes home. I scoured nearby racks for a different size, but my retail shopper soul sister must have dropped it on this random rack as she decided her baby girl already has too much yellow in her wardrobe and scooted away to the checkout, without it. So, there it hung, different from all the rest. Not another to be found, like this golden(rod) sunbeam.
The perfect choice.
I bought it.
Whether or not it fits, well, that doesn’t matter. It’s more of a symbol of hope to me. That this process has an end. That we’re getting closer. That the yellow brick road leads to a shining moment when I’ll see her and smile at her, wearing her straight, dark bangs and something yellow. That there’s a little girl in China (or will be soon!) who is our daughter. That our sweet, sweet girl, once an orphan, will perfectly fill the space, the void, that’s meant just for her. Talk about divine light in a rough situation.
When I see that sunny girl of mine, I’ll reach down, pick her up high in the air, like Simba, kiss her smiling face and put her in the front of that red cart. Her legs will dangle. My heart will sing. We’ll hang a left and go get some shampoo, or something else, or nothing. It won’t matter.