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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baptized

As I mentioned, Nina was baptized this past Sunday.

Baptism is an interesting topic. People baptize their children at different ages, for different fundamental reasons. For some it's deeply personal and for some it's done in the name of tradition and/or fear.

I have most certainly fallen into both categories but I won't name which kid's baptism was a product of which mentality!

We didn't see Grace get baptized. Doesn't that sound absurd? It was. She was baptized at an Episcopal church in Illinois. We never really felt "at home" there, but we felt as though we should be there since I was raised in the Episcopal church, my grandfather was an Episcopal priest, and David and I were married in the Episcopal church (by my grandfather). David was raised Catholic but didn't desire to continue that tradition in his adult life. I didn't argue with that!

Anyhoo, Grace was baptized on All Saints Day (as was Nina, which was really neat) and there were six or so other children baptized with Grace. One of the families brought to the baptismal font seemingly everyone they'd ever met. Grace's godmother had to literally push her way to the front or Grace may have been inadvertently forgotten! It was an impersonal experience to say the least, and it was the last time we visited that church.

The boys' baptisms were done at a Lutheran church in IL that we loved. Their baptisms were personal and beautiful.

Nina's baptism was different from the other four. Not completely because of Nina per se but because the priest of our church (which is Episcopal) who happens to be a woman (who is unbelievable) made it so amazing.

On the two Saturdays prior to the baptism David and I met with Pastor Gae and she explained to us the entire history of baptism---the myths and facts---and helped us explore some of our own beliefs related to baptism, spirituality, etc. It was really great.

Two other families had their children baptized alongside Nina. Nina was the only infant.

My aunt made a GORGEOUS baptism gown for our family when Grace was born. She's monogrammed the names of each child who was baptized in it onto the slip. I didn't think Nina would fit into it, but she did.

When Pastor Gae took Nina from Aunt Heather and introduced her to the congregation prior to baptizing her, she told everyone that she was born in Ethiopia. This was when I went semi-puddle. Heather was 3/4 puddle. Even Michael and David were overcome with emotion.

After the service I asked David what it was that made the whole thing so emotional; we'd never gotten that emotional at the other kids' baptisms.

David hit the nail on the head. He said, "It was Nina's demeanor. She was just so peaceful the entire time, like she just knows she's meant to be here."

He was exactly right.

I stood there on the altar looking at her and thinking, "We didn't conceive this child. We didn't spend weeks taking my temperature and timing 'actions' and then spending months talking about how she got my nose or David's mouth. And yet here she is. And she's as purposefully our child as are the other four."

The entire journey of adoption was, for us, a very spiritual one. It required great faith in many things. And in that moment, on the altar, the realization of how perfectly this child was created for our family was completely overwhelming.

The confirmation she provides every single day that we were intended to be her family and the peace that she's always had about being here, with us, is humbling. And that's what made me overflow with emotion in that moment. That and a very sudden feeling that my grandfather was there. And a simultaneous reminder that she wouldn't meet him and vice versa on this side of heaven. But somehow, I have a sense that they've already met.

Yes, I know. I'm weird.

I'm not an openly emotional person, and the place from where my emotion came in that moment is the same place very deep inside from which I had to draw such faith in my belief that we were meant to travel halfway around the world to welcome this beautiful girl into our lives.

And then my hair caught fire.

Deacon Gaye gave us each a lit baptismal candle and as I was whipping my rarely worn down hair around while saying Peace to everyone around me, I heard a sizzle. And then I smelled burnt hair. Can you even imagine if my whole head had gone up right there on the altar? I would have forever been known as "that lady whose hair caught fire during the baptism."

Next week I'll have to get a trim to remove the burnt part.

Mom, I'm going to load these to KodakGallery, don't worry. It may take a few days. Until then, enjoy!

Pastor Gae and Nina

The whole crewGeorge and Nina
Jack and Nina

Nina with Aunt Heather and Uncle Michael


Nina and Liz
Nina and Grace

When you gotta eat, you gotta eat


Jack, Liz, and Nina


Henry

Grammy, Poppy and Nina

Nina and Aunt Heather


10 comments:

SBreemes said...

Liz, you made me cry. What a beautiful post! The pictures are priceless (they all are so beautiful). It's so nice to celebrate such a wonderful day like this with your parents and friends, too! You all look wonderful - wish we could have been there to witness the special event for Nina and your family!

Kim S. said...

OK - so you may know by now that I have been a secret "lurker" to your blog for sometime. It is my way of keeping track of the Lyons when our days zoom by and we don't have time to connect. It makes me smile and keeps me up to date. I was particularly moved by this entry. I am so proud of you, Liz! As a woman and as a mom - you just amaze me! I loved your entry and the photos were beautiful - but mostly I love the way you love your family and the way you all love each other. You have away of reminding me that no matter how crazy things get - that love and connection that only family can provide - THAT is what it is all about. Nina is a gift to you....and you, my dear, are a gift to us all! I Love You So -

Jana said...

You are not weird, you are sweet. Even if you smell like burnt hair. :)

Hauswife said...

This is just so poignant, Liz! We felt the same way at Ray Ray's dedication... a fresh sense of awe and awareness of the privilege that we get to be her parents. And, yeah, I bet your granddad was there. I totally believe that. Love the photos, too. Gorgeous!

Nancy B said...

Dear Liz and family,
Liz, your account of the baptism made it difficult to maintain dry eyes . . . What a wonderful family and what a beautiful baby girl - her eyes just say it all, don't they! I'm so glad your mom and dad could be with you to witness Nina's baptism and celebrate her on a very special day in her life. I will hope upon hope that you all will get East and I can meet Nina before she's all grown up. I send my love to all of you and so appreciate seeing the pictures - the children are growing up so fast - however, I wonder if it feels fast to you. I use to say that the days were long but the years were short and it still seems that way. What a blessing you are to each other.
Love,
Nancy B

be_a_Mary said...

i am so weepy!! i completely understand when you say your adoption was a spiritual journey. we feel that way too. hard to put into words, but you say it beautifully.

JonesEthiopia said...

Beautiful post. My sweet R burst out laughing at her baptism, and it was perfect, too!

Thank you for sharing!
M

nell ann said...

All these photos are beautiful! By the way, I haven't forgotten about you. Life has gotten in the way. Anywho...I have several taggies done and will be posting them to my etsy site this weekend. That way you can go and pick them out, with the price that we'd previously arranged. Hope you're still interested!

thanks,
nell ann

Maria and Family said...

Liz~your family is beautiful and Nina is just the prettiest baby ! I love you felt your adoption was a spiritual journey...I felt the same way with my adoption of Boo and now with our journey to our Ethiopian princess I have no doubt this is GOD's plan :) I love the gown too! Hope the burnt hair isnt to bad..LOL. Sorry but that is funny :) Maria

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