February 11th was the day I'd been looking forward to for years, ever since we started the adoption process. We got to take Noah to the temple to be sealed to us for time and all eternity.
I don't often talk about the specifics of my religious beliefs on this blog, but since I have a lot of friends and family members who are not Mormon, I want to explain what we believe about temples and why this day was so important for our family. Mormons have churches where we meet for weekly worship services and periodic activities, but we also have temples which we believe are the most sacred structures on earth. We believe temples are the houses of the Lord, and we can go there as often as we'd like to make special covenants with God and also to ponder, meditate, and pray.
As I contemplated writing this blog post, I felt inadequate trying to explain just how important temples are, so I consulted mormon.org. I decided to just paste their explanation of temples here because it is pretty straightforward:
"Anciently, the Lord directed Solomon to build a temple (1 Chronicles 28:1-6). This temple was a place where God could dwell, was a place of prayer, was a place of sacrifice and was a place where the principle and covenant of sacrifice was fundamental to worship...Like ancient temples, today’s temples are also sacred places where God may dwell; they are places of prayer and, although we no longer offer animal sacrifices because that was done away with when Jesus Christ became the Eternal Sacrifice for our sins, the principle and covenant of sacrifice is fundamental to our temple worship. In temples, Church members participate in ordinances designed to unite their families together forever and help them return to God."
Temples are beautiful inside and out. The atmosphere inside is so peaceful and holy. Almost everything is white--the carpet, the wallpaper, the couches--which makes me feel closer to heaven. Everything is quiet. You don't hear phones ringing, loud music playing, or people arguing. It is a place separate from the world, and every time I enter the doors, I am immediately struck by the peace.
When sealed couples have children, their children are born into the covenant that their parents made when they got married; when babies are adopted, they are joined into the covenant that their parents made by a sealing ceremony that takes place in the temple. It is very beautiful and very simple. Dressed in white, the baby's mom and dad kneel across from each other at the altar holding hands, the same way that they did when they got married, and the baby's hand is placed on theirs. They then covenant with God to cherish each other and to keep His commandments so they can be an eternal family.
Our family and a few close friends gathered in a special room in the temple, while Noah played in the nursery with Ryan's mom. We heard a brief sermon on the importance of families in God's plan. I felt so calm, so happy, and so grateful. I also thought, "If families are eternal, then I bet my mom is here with us today," which is a really amazing thought. I have missed her even more than usual in the past year, as I've become a mom myself.
Noah looked so amazingly adorable when Ryan's mom came into the sealing room with him. He was wearing all white and a little white tie, and he looked around the room at all of his family and friends with a bewildered expression. Cue massive swelling of my heart.
Unfortunately, when he was with us at the altar, he was cranky as can be (go figure, right?). It was his nap time, and he doesn't like being held still, especially in a new place where he'd like to be exploring. :) I will admit that I was a little disappointed that he fussed through the ceremony (though I shouldn't have been surprised considering his feisty little temperament), but it is a funny memory now, and what really matters is that he is ours forever. I am so grateful for the knowledge that family relationships can last forever and that adoption is part of God's plan.
After the ceremony, we took some photos outside. Unfortunately, it was about 15 degrees, so we had to make it quick! :) Noah was wearing tights underneath his pants (yes, little girls' tights--hope he doesn't kill me for that later) and I layered several long sleeved onesies underneath his collared shirt. Poor baby still has quite a red nose in the pics, but he was a trooper and didn't really seem to notice the cold during the 10 minutes or so that we were outside. He was quite subdued because he was way overdue for a nap, but I'm glad we have at least a few photos to memorialize our special day, even if he's not grinning like he usually does.
|Surrounded by family|
Is this boy loved or what?
|The two women who love Noah more than anything in the world|
|Families are forever|
|With Great Grampy and Great Granny|
|With Grandma and Grandpa Nielson|
|Noah loves looking out windows. |
It is one of the only things that calms him down when he's fussy.
What a day, huh? February 11th will always be such a special anniversary for our family. We love Noah, and we are so grateful that he is part of our eternal family.