There are many gifts in adoption. There is, of course, the gift of your child. A child whose story seems more special than others, from the begining of time yours, yet set on a winding path to get there. The gift of the first time they trust you, the first time they say I love you, mommy, those moments are bigger than you ever imagined, and you don't ever take them for granted.
There are also all the small gifts along the way, the gift of being stretched and changed into someone you didn't know you could be. The gift of prayers, lifted up, over and over on your behalf, the gift of standing in an airport and seeing the hand of God move mountains to get you home, proof that He hears. The gift of family standing strong by your side, when they had no say in this, and yet they carry the burden all the same. The gift of a father removing a burden, reminding you that he will make sure everything is taken care of, the gift becoming twofold with the gift of still being his little girl.
The unexpected gifts, the people who celebrate with you so loud, and you didn't think that they would be the one to feel that way. The friends who want to help, to please let me help, and you've never helped them and this love that takes you by surprise and knocks you over with it's strength. The gift of community, how a neighborhood can come together to celebrate your little girl and you wonder if maybe people don't understand how much neighbors can mean if you'll only let them.
The gift of each of you, who come here and read my story, my attempts and putting words together to show how beautiful this thing called adoption is and never quite gettting there, but you read and you pat on the back all the same. The gift of shared experiences, finding those families who have walked this road too and learning from them and being changed by them and feeling such relief from knowing you are not alone.
And when it's all said and done, you are left with the gift of being a family, slightly different from the other's around you, but a family all the same. The gift of loving each other so much, tangled together watching a movie, that you don't even remember that you are different, you only know you are blessed.