Water, Oil, Fire

Her dress is finished. She has new white shoes. I have enough lace left over to make a headband or a bow for her hair.

We have spoken with the priest and set the date for her baptism. July 29th. Mum and I are planning the food for the reception afterwards.

And I feel a strange mix of long-prepared and not ready. Although I have been Macia’s (active, day-to-day, hands-on) mother for nine months, I feel like her baptism is the first major decision we have made in her life.

You see, we couldn’t choose breastfeeding or formula. We never had a say in what or when or whether on vaccinations. We didn’t even choose her name, fully, on our own–in many ways, it was given to us. I’m not bitter or resentful, but I look back and I see a different path of parenting than others I have observed.

But here we are. And we will remain a family (Praise God). And we are finally given the freedom to make this choice. To baptize her in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. She will be chrismated and will receive her first Eucharist. I am overwhelmed at the thought of bringing my daughter–my daughter–into the Church, into the family of Christ which has nourished us so well.

We chose God parents. It was only up to us to look at our community and say, “You. We want you two to help us raise our daughter in the footsteps of Christ.” It was our choice, and ours alone.

What is it like for parents who are able to baptize their children as infants? Because bringing their baby home and having him baptized (often) happen so close together, do the two events melt into one “my goodness! we’re parents!” feeling? Everything has been so staggered for us. Her birth, meeting her for the first time, the court delays, the uncertainty.

Then we were able to bring her home, but still nothing was certain. There was the hearing date, then the expiration of the appeal period, and we quietly slipped into for-sure parenthood. March 5 was the day we signed the adoption placement papers. No ceremony, no pomp. Now we are waiting to finalize, when we will get her birth certificate with our last name on it. It’s not quiet done yet.

But I have this small feeling, growing stronger each day, that her baptism will be my baptism as a mother, my initiation “into the family.” That by accepting our parental responsibility for her soul before God and before our family in Christ we will be fully parents.

It might be silly, but that’s just what I’m feeling these days. Maybe I’m expecting something frivolous? some feeling of assurance that won’t be there? I don’t know. I do believe in grace, and I believe that the grace of the sacraments is powerful and real.

And I am a mother already. I know that. But external affirmation helps. Your blessings, your prayers: strength for my soul.


one comment

  1. Caitlin E wrote:

    Prayers, prayers and more prayers. For you, your daughter and your family!

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