Yesterday was Amy's Baptism Day! I tried to impress upon my two older children as we were doing all the prep work this week for the party that took part after the big event that this day was even more important than her adoption day. After all, her adoption day only made her legally ours; her baptism day means that she has been claimed, in a special way, by God, and given the graces she needs to be a good Christian.
I've always been in the baptize children as soon as humanly possible camp. Both my boys were baptized within six weeks of birth. So, one of the hardest things about being Amy's foster parents for so long was that we could not have her baptized (except in case of an emergency, which thankfully, didn't happen). Not only was it illegal, but also we couldn't stand in Church and honestly promise to raise her in the faith if we didn't know whether we would get to raise her at all. And so we waited and trusted that God would honor her baptism of desire - that He knew we wanted to have her baptized. She's been in Church every Sunday since we've had her and been prayed with every day. Still, having her baptized was a big deal.
Yet, there is a compelling reason beyond the spiritual for baptizing children when you can hold them in your arms and they can't talk - you don't have to worry about how they are going to behave! Sure - they might fuss and cry, but they aren't going to start screaming "No - I Don't Want To!" at the top of their voice.
We did try to get her excited about being baptized - a concept that is difficult for a three-year-old to grasp. My very generous neighbors bought her a beautiful dress to wear for her special day. They told her it would be her "Princess" day. At first, I cringed a bit, but then I thought about it more. Several books my Bible Study group have read have talked about how we are "daughters of the King" - therefore we are princesses. This was the day she would become an official "daughter of the King" - it was, in fact, her princess day. And so we went with that as the theme. She loves princesses and always tells us she is one. Also, Friday, as I made cakes for her party, she asked, "Is it my birthday?" I told her, "Yes, it is your birthday in the Church." Sometimes, you go with whatever works.
She's a high-spirited strong-willed young lady and I had no idea how she would behave. Thankfully, the Monsignor who baptized her has a good sense of humor and took it all in stride. Truly, she could have been much worse, although it did take four of us to hold her over the baptismal font because she did not want anything to do with that. After, she told us in no uncertain terms, "I did NOT like having water poured over my face!"
|Amy and Monsignor David Joyce|
But, thankfully, she is now baptized, indelibly marked by God. I was hoping there would be some sort of miracle and that her attitude would now be less. That does not seem to have been the case, as today her attitude was even larger than usual (no doubt due to the overstimulation of yesterday). So, our adventure continues, but now I know that she has God's grace in her in a special way. It can only help!