It all started during the Christmas Season of 2010.
Mr. D was in a funk. He told me he couldn't seem to enjoy any of what he was "supposed to" enjoy about getting ready for Christmas. He hated decorating the house. He stressed over the money being spent on gifts. He gritted his teeth to survive listening to the children sing in church. He faked a smile and wished friends and family "Merry Christmas!", but couldn't get into the spirit of the season. He tried to focus on the birth of Jesus, but found himself getting even more irritated with the commercial glitz surrounding us. He continually reminded himself of the blessings in his life, but still felt empty.
Christmas Eve arrived. As usual, he sat with our three children during a candlelight service that evening, while I joined the choir in the loft. We took our time driving home from church, looking at all the Christmas lights on houses. Finally arriving home, we set out cookies for Santa and tucked our little ones up "snug in their beds." We waited til we were sure they were down for the count, then carefully filled stockings and set out gifts. Then I sat by Mr D on the couch while It's A Wonderful Life ran on TV. He seemed calmer than he had been all month. I laid my hand on his leg and asked, "How are you?" The answer would change our lives.
While sitting in the service that night, Mr D had turned his thoughts to God. He had prayed, asking for guidance and insight. He asked whether we, as a family, were truly doing all that God would have us do. And Mr D felt what he could only describe as a "call", something like a voice speaking just one word: adopt. He came out of the service believing that somewhere in the world there was a child that needed the loving home we have, somewhere there might be a woman facing a difficult decision whose path we could smooth, somewhere there was a need we could -- should! -- answer. As he explained this to me, on the couch on Christmas Eve, with a background of Jimmy Stewart, my mind reeled.
When I asked how he was, I was thinking of the way he'd been struggling to enjoy Christmas this year. I was not prepared for this.