They say that a baby changes everything. I don’t always agree with what everyone else says, but I must concur with this statement. Prior to our first son coming home, Christmas was my least favorite time of the year. After all, Christmas is about a baby… there was nothing more I wanted then my baby.

We got the call for our first son, Joshua, by the end of June 2013, and we brought him home July 3. He was already 3 ½ weeks old. We were over the moon. After 12 years of infertility, we were finally in the much coveted “parent club.” Everything seemed fresh, and each holiday or season change took on new meaning.

On his first Christmas, Joshua was only six months old, but he was already mobile. He was rolling around and crawling everywhere. I can remember dressing him in a cute red and white striped outfit with a reindeer face on the bottom. Since he was eating baby food, I introduced him to the pleasures of candy canes, chocolates, and sugar cookies. I proudly toted him to Christmas parties and open houses. Buying presents took on a whole meaning. Never before had I considered toys for a baby who would soon be a toddler. It was so hard to show restraint and not buy everything!  Joshua has always been advanced, so it was also difficult to anticipate what he might enjoy in just a few months, but buying presents with a specific little boy in mind and wrapping them JUST FOR HIM was so much fun!

That Christmas was also our turn to travel to visit both of our families in two different states. We were excited for everyone to meet our boy, so we loaded him up and traveled at night so that his sleep pattern would not alter. We hauled pack-n-play, toys, diapers, clothes, bottles, formula, pacifiers, and medicine. The amount of stuff it took to make life with baby portable was overwhelming! Both sides of the family were thrilled to meet the newest addition. Presents were abundant, as was the noise that comes along with having numerous children and adults in one location.

Every year we read the true story of Christmas from the Bible. Growing up in a church in the South, I had heard that story a hundred or more times. That particular year I reflected on the fact that a baby did change everything. Jesus, God’s only Son, came to Earth and was born just like any other baby. The much-anticipated birth, from the lowest of shepherds to the riches of wise men, and His coming signaled hope for the world. Jesus, THE KING, the Savior of the world was born, and everything changed.

Adoration for the baby, travels, visits, unconventional sleeping arrangements, lavishing gifts were all part of the occasion. The Bible says in Luke 2:19 that “Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” I’m not Mary, and my child is nowhere near God-like. I would never put us in either category, but on our first Christmas as a new adoptive family, I felt a kindred spirit with Mary, Jesus’ mother. Joshua, our son, was also a miracle birth; and his birth mother, like Mary, was brave and chose to ignore the dictates of a heartless society. She gave birth to him even in less than ideal circumstances. Joshua’s life was much anticipated and celebrated. To our family, he is a gift. We had struggled with infertility for 12 years. A few months prior to Joshua, we had a disrupted adoption, and our hearts were very fragile; his coming brought hope. As we opened presents from myriads of people who love him, I watched in awe, scarcely believing the generosity. Like Mary, I treasured everything in my heart, and often I think about them. On that first Christmas as a new family, I concurred with Mary that our baby had changed everything in our lives, and we are grateful. 

Virginia Spence and her husband Eric are parents to two awesome little boys who joined their family via domestic infant adoption. When she is not playing referee or engaged in tickle wars, Virginia can be found cleaning, reading, or drinking giant mugs of coffee. Virginia is passionate about advocating for life at all ages/stages and educating about adoption.