This is going to sound stupid. It’s going to sound ridiculous. I have a wide variety of friends and family members who will roll their eyes in derision and shake their heads at the very idea.
I know that, but I’m going to tell you this anyway. But first, a little backstory:
I am not religious, though I like to think of myself as vaguely spiritual. I don’t believe in God in the traditional way, nor do I go to church, but I do believe that we should all be good citizens, and try to be kind to each other, and have a strong moral compass. I believe in Karma, and that putting good vibes out into the universe means that sometimes good things will happen to you (whether the two things happen to be related or not). I’m not particularly superstitious, and I don’t believe that accidentally breaking a mirror will bring you 7 year’s bad luck nor do I believe that just because some cats are black and they will occasionally cross your path it means anything in the slightest (though I can’t help but salute at lone magpies, that one is a knee-jerk reaction from my childhood, as my mum has always done it too).
However it’s hard sometimes not to read too much into the messages we sometimes get from the universe. Sometimes a series of non-connected events happen in a linear way which someone prone to superstition or religion might interpret as a sign from God/Gaia/The Universe/Karma/Aliens (depending on your preferred belief system).
And so I am going to tell you this story, knowing full well that many of you will roll your eyes and think it’s ridiculous and silly, because frankly, it is all of those things.
I have a ring. It’s one that I bought in Nepal, as a birthday present for myself, back in 2008. It’s a very beautiful star sapphire stone, however I ended up never wearing it as it was set in a rather uncomfortable setting and was always catching on things. A couple of years ago I re-discovered it and thought maybe it was time to get the stone re-set into a new ring. I liked this idea, partly because it’s a shame to have something so lovely and leave it in a drawer forever (that seems pointless) but also because most people tend to at some point get married and get to pick out a really nice/expensive ring to wear.
I don’t expect at this point that anyone will ever buy me a fancy ring, (though they might) but I don’t see why I shouldn’t buy myself a fabulous piece of jewellery to mark a major life event. As Beyonce would say, I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings *(except when I can convince my dad to buy me something pretty).
Which is how the idea came to me to design myself an adoption ring.
Here is the original ring (very pretty but unfortunately it got caught and snagged on things constantly):
But what a lovely stone!
It’s a star sapphire, which I love – it looks like a plain blue stone, like a lapis, most of the time but when it catches the sunlight a star appears in the centre of the stone. It’s like magic and I love it.
So I asked around, and found a jeweller to set about re-designing the ring into something new, something just for me. We had a couple of meetings for me to sketch out some ideas, and he also threw in some of his ideas, and then over several months, he made me a mock-up of it to see, and we tweaked and tweaked it.
At some point over a rather unexpectedly laborious 8-month process it became apparent that he and I have very different artistic perspectives. He likes to make huge giant chunky jewellery and I wanted something more subtle and delicate. He tried very hard to make me what I wanted, while pointing out how very generic and boring my taste in jewellery is, and it became clear eventually that he had lost interest and we weren’t getting anywhere.
In the end, one day he called me to say it was finished, and I was deeply disappointed with the result (don’t worry, I didn’t pay a lot for it other than the cost of the silver). It was clearly a rushed, I-can’t-be-bothered job, and after so much back and forth I didn’t have the energy to keep trying to get him to fix it. The stone was really badly set and wasn’t finished off properly.
Here’s what he gave me:
So after talking with my friend at work, it turned out her mother was also a jeweller, so I asked her if she might be able to take a look and re-do it in a better, more professional way. She said yes, and was also shocked that a professional jeweller would make such a hash of it – when she took it apart she said he has stuck some cardboard under the stone instead of fitting it properly into the setting!
Anyhoo, this second jeweller did me a nice mock-up, which I approved, and she then made up the ring (this took far less time, but still a few months to get done).
The second one was exactly what I had asked for, (the same style as the other one, but more carefully and delicately done) and exactly what I had said I wanted, except when I finally got it, it just wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t bear to tell my friend’s mum, as she had done exactly what I had asked for, it just didn’t quite look how I imagined it, and I realised it wasn’t what I had wanted after all. I don’t have a picture of the second attempt, but it was similar in style to the first, but much more delicate and professional looking. However it also looked a bit too much like an eye!
So, off I went to find a third jeweller, who I explained the whole thing to, and we decided to try a very plain, more traditional style, simple but stunning. This style isn’t something I thought I wanted in the beginning of this process, I had actively avoided something like this to be honest, as I didn’t think it was really my style, but in fact, in the end this one turned out just right and it turns out it was right for me all along.
Why is all this relevant I hear you ask?
Because it’s my adoption ring, to celebrate me becoming a mum. And it took wayyyyyy longer than it was supposed to. I thought it would be ready last year, when I was getting approved as an adopter. And I thought I would get matched with a child much sooner. And I ended up with a totally different ring to the one I thought I wanted, and it’s ended up being perfect. And despite mostly looking at older boys, I’ve ended up being matched with a much younger girl, which was a surprise, but also the perfect match for me as it turns out.
And if you can’t see all the other parallels with my adoption process here, I’m not sure I have the energy to spell it out for you.
Don’t panic, I’m not saying it’s a sign from god or anything, but if I were inclined to read into these things, or to believe in mystical signs from the universe, I might find it interesting that my attempt to make a special piece of jewellery to mark my adoption has strangely paralleled my adoption journey. A simple coincidence no doubt, but a little story I thought it was worth telling anyway. Besides, I like seeing a little bit of magic in the world once in a while, even if it’s all in my head.
You can stop rolling your eyes now, you in the back, I see you.